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Producers' Pick | Blake Manley on America's dwindling work ethic

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade
The Truth Network Radio
December 18, 2022 12:00 am

Producers' Pick | Blake Manley on America's dwindling work ethic

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade

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December 18, 2022 12:00 am

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Joining me now is Blake Manley, creator of Manley Jobs. He talks about the importance of trade jobs. We've been talking about this with Mike Rolla, John Ratzenberger too, of the fame of Cheers fame. He talks about logging in particular.

As logging compares face workers, logging companies face worker shortages about 7,200 a year. The University of Idaho is now offering relief with a new degree path. Blake Manley joins us now. Blake, welcome. Hi, good morning, Brian.

Thank you for having me. So what prompted, Blake, first off, what is your background? So I grew up with a logger kid in eastern Oregon. My dad's been a logger for 50 years.

And then I got into education and found a job teaching 4-3 to high school students, 9 through 12, at a little high school called Sweet Home in western Oregon. So you start doing that, so you realize what about your industry and about where the blue collar workforce is going? Well, we realized several years ago that we were aging. And then a few years back, they did a study and they found that 40% of the loggers, specifically, not just the timber industry, but the loggers in the west are over the age of 60. And so that gets to be pretty scary when you look at, okay, if they're over the age of 60 in 10 years, they're either going to be gone, retired or gone.

And who's going to replace them? And so the state of Oregon actually started dumping some money into career technical education, CTE, which is the trades, but that's more of a technical term for it. And one of those areas that they were putting the money was into forestry education. So we went from six programs that were teaching some sort of forestry education in 2015, to today, we have 45 different programs around the state that teach forestry and natural resources to our 9 through 12 graders, just giving them a look at a different career path that they're not seeing in the everyday classroom. So what's the result been?

The result's amazing, actually. In my community individually, we ran a job fair last spring. We have about 650 in our high school. We did a job fair for just what I do, forestry and natural resources. And we placed 25 kids into the industry. Now that might not seem like a ton, but for a small community, filling 25 jobs where kids would normally fumble their way through was a really big deal. And so from the small snapshot of Sweet Home, we've had a positive effect.

So that's great. And these are jobs that pay well, right? These jobs pay amazing, Brian.

That's the thing that I don't think people understand is two things that have changed over the last 50 years. One of them is the jobs start out between $22 and $30 an hour, but my friend that just got out of doing what he was doing before and went into logging made almost $100,000 last year as a logger. So that job pays really well.

And it's not your grandpa's logging. It's not I'm going to sweat and it's extremely dangerous. There's still a danger factor.

There always will be. But you're in a cab now. Most of it is mechanized. Most of it is running a piece of machinery and your boots are off the ground or you're in a cab. So Blake Manley, our guest, he's the author and creator of Manley Jobs. Blake, are you worried overall like the micros of the world or about people just running from the trades?

Manufacturing left and so did any interest in becoming a blue collar worker in America to a degree? I'm terrified, Brian. I'm absolutely terrified. I see it all the time.

The little snapshot that I do with high school stuff is great. What the University of Idaho is doing by offering a two-year program is great, but I see it as a huge gap right now. I mean, Mike got on the other day and said that there's 10 million open jobs right now and unemployment is only 7 million people. So we're still way out of whack and not able to fill all those jobs. And people got to realize that if we don't have loggers, we don't have lumber mills, we're not toilet paper. I mean, something as simple as that, you know, that comes from the forestry industry.

And when we don't have people cutting down trees and replanting them and doing all that, we don't have some basic essentials. I think so. And did you think that growing up for you, was that ever an issue that you thought you'd be looking at right now?

No way. No, I never looked at this and said, you know, 20 years from now when I graduate from high school, we're going to have a massive logger shortage. You know, my dad talked all the time about how the workforce was aging throughout the late 90s and then the 2000s, and people are discouraged from going into a job like that, into any of the jobs, welding, fabrication, all that. It was you go to college or you're not going to be worth anything.

And we just know that's not the case today, but I never imagined that. At Sweet Home last year, 63% of the students that walked in my room, seniors that had walked in my room, did not go to a four-year college. They went on to higher education in different ways, whether it was a trade school or a two-year or something, but not the typical four-year.

You know what I think you need? I think just like the Stop Smoking campaign, the Stop Texting and Driving campaign, you need a positive campaign on a blue collar, the image of a blue collar worker. Just like the military does in order to get recruits in peaceful times. I think the same thing, because parents feel pressure from other parents to make sure their kid, when he graduates or she graduates, is going on to a four-year school. If they say, well, my kid's going to be a plumber, that's suddenly not looked at with great pride. And it should be.

It should be, because that plumber is going to have no debt, and that plumber is going to own their house before the university student, and that plumber is going to be the one that they call to fix their problem. And I think that's hugely vital right now, and we don't do what you're talking about. We don't make it flashy and nice. That's what we kind of started doing with Manly Jobs. During COVID, I would follow around different people, mainly in the forestry industry, but we went with Knife River in the construction industry as well.

And we would look at them and we'd show people, hey, these jobs are good jobs. People are enjoying their self. It's a good life. I mean, it's almost like, for one thing, anyone who's ever a firefighter, they always talk about the camaraderie.

The minute you do it, you never want to stop it, and you never want to forget when you do retire. There's the same camaraderie that can be built in these blue collar situations, and you know better than me, but I've heard it with logging specifically. You become like a team out there. You become like a family out there.

It's one step further. The guys that I broke into the woods with when I was first coming out of high school, they're like family. And when they pass away, we all go to the funeral. It's like a family reunion. And the scary thing is that's where that workforce is at.

Now we get together for family reunion, longer reunions, at services. Blake, thanks so much. Creator of Manly Jobs. Find out more. Blake Manley, thanks. What are you doing?
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-18 00:07:06 / 2022-12-18 00:10:30 / 3

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