With pushes for higher education by the federal government and organizations such as the Lumina Foundation, the real jobs that keep this country moving, lighted, plumbed, and fed are denigrated in favor of entry level, cubicle jobs in some public service office somewhere. I believe it's a subtle type of class warfare--trying to create an elitist class with worker drones (non-Ivy League and community colleges).
My dad (happy birthday yesterday... I hope your cards got there) is an electrician. My brother is painter. Both have done extremely well and give their families a comfortable life. My sister was told, when interviewing for a job one time that her "blue-collar" background would serve her in good stead and would enable her to 'connect' with her patients. Elitist indeed.
Mike Rowe is spot on when he says:
And as long as folks in our government continue to tout the value one type of education (book learning) over vocational education (hands-on learning) and as long as the people believe them, we are going to have kids going into all kinds of debt trying to find their place in a cubicle when their skills might lie elsewhere. And in time we'll have a populace that's completely helpless to do even the smallest "dirty jobs" themselves.