|Check out my rig! Credit: New York Times|
...At the end of a gravel highway in northeastern Montana, graduating seniors in Bainville are asking similar questions about their future. Should they get an education and pursue their interests? Or should they stick close to home and surf a wave of cash and jobs that will only grow as companies begin to build a new industrial rail terminal and worker camps, forever transforming this quiet farm town where residents say the population has doubled since the 2010 census found 300.
Dmetri Ross, 17, said he would join his father and uncle at an outpost of Nabors Industries in western North Dakota, working in a lab running tests on water samples and cement related to drilling. “I’d be happy to make a career out of it,” he said.
...Nobody needed to recruit Shay Findlay. One day after he graduated from Sidney High School, he drove into town and started looking for work. He found a job on the first try, doing repair work on drilling pumps.
He is 19 and on his second job now, earning about $40,000 a year and still sleeping in a bedroom in his parents’ basement decorated with his high school graduation picture and diploma. He bought a dirt bike and a flat-screen television, and took out a loan on a hulking black Chevy Silverado truck with personalized license plates — FDLSTIX — for his childhood nickname, Fiddlesticks...
[On his friends going to college, elsewhere:] “They’re going to have to come back and look for work,” he said. “And there’s nothing but oil fields over here.”It's pretty funny and emblematic of the New York Times to be concerned about these kids; I think it's a bit rich for them to routinely bemoan the lack of jobs for non-college graduates and then throw up their hands in terror when kids in small rural towns decide not to go to college in favor of those jobs.
At the same time, there are folks who could indeed benefit from school -- the young man who wants to follow his family into a water testing laboratory would probably benefit from an A.A. in chemical technology (maybe, anyway); one wonders whether such a thing might be available to him in western North Dakota. Distance education might be the thing that works for him -- hopefully, he'll get it -- if he wants it.
Finally, there are folks who could benefit from these jobs -- the young man with the truck doesn't sound like he wants to go to school, and he's earning a decent wage and learning some decent skills. (He probably could use a lesson in personal finance, but UHK will teach him a lesson or two about borrowing money for a new truck, and that'll be that.)
Readers, what do you think?