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John Ratzenberger, famed Cheers actor and host and producer of the Travel Channel’s Made in America series, was a guest speaker at our 2014 Governor’s Energy Summit. Ratzenberger used his address to highlight America’s history of hardworkers.

“We’re a nation of tinkerers,” described Ratzenberger. “That’s what built America, kids that grew up tinkering and then came up with an idea.”

In his address, Ratzenberger aired his concern over today’s lack of work ethic and how good paying, honest careers, like those in energy and manufacturing, are often stigmatized. What was once a well-respected and revered occupation is now commonly seen as a last resort career choice. The video above and this accompanying article by Wisconsin Rapids Tribune makes the case for why manufacturing (and energy) careers should matter to the next generation.

Did You Know?

By 2017, an estimated 2.5 million new, middle-skill jobs are expected to be added to the workforce, accounting for nearly 40% of all job growth, according to a USA TODAY analysis of local data from Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. and CareerBuilder.

There will be a tremendous demand for blue collar jobs when the Baby Boom generation retires. Currently, Boomers make up about 20% of the workforce.