‘Manley Jobs’ videos draw nationwide attention

Benny Westcott

It appears that “Manley Jobs,” the YouTube series launched a year ago by Sweet Home High School forestry and natural resources teacher Blake Manley and editor Ramil Malabago, has, as they say, gone viral.

The videos had already garnered quite a bit of attention in the last few months, as its main channel’s nearly 4,000 subscribers and log-truck-driving episode’s 370,000-plus collective views can attest.

But they received considerably more exposure last week when Manley made two TV appearances highlighting the series, which educates students on career paths that don’t require a college education.

First, on Monday, Sept. 13, “Manley Jobs” was showcased on Eugene’s KEZI-TV, and the station’s website ran a short piece, “Sweet Home Teacher Hosts Web Series to Promote Skilled Jobs.” (Both elements are viewable here: bit.ly/3hIAfTK,)

The spotlight shone even brighter three mornings later, on Thursday, Sept. 16, when the Fox News program “Fox & Friends” ran a nearly five-minute segment that brought awareness of the series to a national audience. (See that feature here: bit.ly/3tZCxTd.)

The spot featured a few minor blunders. Interviewer and co-host Ainsley Earhardt at one point introduced Manley as an elementary school teacher.

Later, she placed Sweet Home High School in Portland. Still, Manley said, the interview overall was “really good.”

“We watched it yesterday in class. The students chuckled at some of the errors. Some of them said they would have corrected [Earhardt]. I was like, ‘Nah, you wouldn’t have,'” he said with a laugh.

“It was a lot of fun and really different,” Manley said of the interview. “I’m not used to doing live TV. You don’t see the person that you’re talking to. You just hear their voice and you’re staring at a camera. It’s tough that way.”

Fox News had sent a car for Manley, who went up to Portland for the interview at 2:30 a.m.

“We went to one of the buildings downtown where someone has a little studio set up in a business apartment,” he recalled. “You walk in, and they hook you up with a mic.”

Introducing “Manley Jobs” on the broadcast, Earhardt said, “A generation of American men have reportedly given up on higher learning,” citing a Sept. 6 Wall Street Journal article (“A Generation of American Men Give Up College”) that claimed “U.S. colleges and universities had 1.5 million fewer students compared with five years ago.”

“In my generation, it was ‘Go to college or you’re not going to get a good job,'” Manley said in the Fox interview.

“And we know that’s not true today. Fifty percent of our student body in Sweet Home are not going to higher education because they want a job straight out of high school. They don’t want to get that debt and then do the same job that they would have done right out of high school.

“So our goal is to educate them on how to get those jobs as soon as they get out of high school, rather than go to college and then end up at the same job.”

Manley noted that when he profiled the Knife River Corporation in one of his videos, he was told the company needed 21 drivers but had only 15.

“So those 15 drivers are working full-blast trying to put enough product out there that the industry needs,” he said. “A normal logging company is one to five people down because there’s not enough people to fill the occupations.”

Despite everything involved in the production of a television appearance, Manley was back in Sweet Home in time for school.

“I didn’t miss a minute of teaching my students,” he said.

He noted that his channel’s Youtube views have increased since the exposure.

“Since the ‘Fox and Friends’ interview,” Manley said, “my phone and email and everything have been ringing off the hook,”

On Wednesday, Sept. 22, he’ll be featured on “The Dennis Michael Lynch Podcast,” and he’s booked time with a Texas-based radio station next week, as well.

“Most of it is talk radio focused on what we are doing,” he said. “It’s something different and good for kids. They want to know how and why it started, and what they can do to get something like this in their communities.”

Manley doesn’t get paid for these media appearances.

“The actual reason we are doing it comes back to the same thing,” he said. “We are doing this because we know it’s the right thing to do. It’s good for students. If I can contact and reach out to more people, that’s a great thing.”

All nine “Manley Jobs” episodes can be found on the Blake Manley Youtube channel: bit.ly/3ALXGlW.