In the oilfield, a high school graduate can earn $40k+ while learning a trade and paying taxes. In college, many would spend (borrow) $40k/yr, learn no marketable skills and end up being a drag on the economy. Or join Occupy Wall Street.
Pay in Oil Fields, Not College, Is Luring Youths in Montana [“The horror!” – Ed.]
By JACK HEALY
“SIDNEY, Mont. — For most high school seniors, a college degree is the surest path to a decent job and a stable future. But here in oil country, some teenagers are choosing the oil fields over universities, forgoing higher education for jobs with salaries that can start at $50,000 a year.
“It is a lucrative but risky decision for any 18-year-old to make, one that could foreclose on his future if the frenzied pace of oil and gas drilling from here to North Dakota to Texas falters and work dries up. But with unemployment at more than 12 percent nationwide for young adults and college tuition soaring, students here on the snow-glazed plains of eastern Montana said they were ready to take their chances. …
“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. …
“His mother, Stacy Gustafson, said she worried about exposing her son to the accidents, alcoholism and violence that haunt oil workers. She is glad he still comes home after each shift. Mr. Findlay said he had no complaints about the job. His family comes from the oil fields, and he said he liked the work and was good at it.
“Now, his friends are filtering back to Sidney after their first semesters at college, and their stories of dorm-room dramas and drunken scuffles with campus police officers are like reports from another world. He said he misses them sometimes, but would not trade places with them.”
So, too much drinking and fighting in the oilfield is deplorable, while in college it’s called “dorm life”.