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Path to the blue-collar life: Get schooled in tools

My husband and I—with three of his lineman friends—started a lineman scholarship a couple years ago to encourage kids from their county to become linemen, though it doesn’t seem like they need much prodding. In a town of just 200, my husband knows more than half a dozen “kids” from a five-year range of high school graduates that now work as linemen; not a bad ratio. The pay doesn’t suck either, though I think the pride and brotherhood matter just as much to them.

So, how do you get seven linemen out of approximately 70 high school grads? What compels someone to become a lineman and what kind of tools should one have before entering this dangerous, but rewarding trade?

My husband knew he wanted to be a lineman in high school. Many of his dad’s friends were linemen and enjoyed the fruits of their labor, one being the highest paying job in the county (a county suffering from a down-turn in logging). Two of our most recent scholarship recipients are following in their father’s footsteps.

This is what Alan Drew, long-time lineman and author of “The American Lineman” did. His father made him a pair of climbing hooks and Drew was conquering heights at the ripe ole age of 7, according to his interview on the Powerline Podcast.

But what if you have no background or knowledge of the line world? There’s still hope, Drew says, but the parents need to act now. There’s a trend, he said: Kids are not mechanically inclined anymore. He’s seen this trend grow as he’s overseen incoming students at Northwest Lineman College in Idaho.

“We’ve got guys out here who have never even used a hammer or a screwdriver,” Drew told Powerline Podcast. “It’s good to use your hands and actually use tools.”

This is something farm kids grow up learning as naturally as they learn to tie their shoes, he said, but the vast majority of kids don’t grow up on farms anymore, which means tools as basic as a hammer and nails are foreign.

The lesson here is to get tools into the hands of your little ones at a young age. Not only will this leave them with valuable, common-sense skills, but it will equip them for work outside of an office. Not everyone was meant to spend their life behind a desk. And guess what else? We all need electricity!

**Book update: You will be happy to hear that I recently received the FINAL color draft of my book! That means it is ready for the printer. Stay tuned for the upcoming PRE-SALE!

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