The small, rural town of Jackman, Maine, is in desperate need of a plumber, after the local pipe master retired last summer. If a toilet clogs up or a pipe freezes, the current plumber is over 50 miles away.
Last August, to speed up the filling of the spot of the vacated plumber, a family partnered with a school district to create a scholarship. A $2,000 scholarship was offered to any local or area graduate or former graduate who would agree to become a certified plumber, and then return to work as a plumber in the tiny Maine town.
Four months later, the town has had next to zero interest.
Larry Harth, who runs the Harry Hughes Memorial Scholarship with his wife, Sheryl, said what kind of plumber the town is looking for.
“[We want] somebody who is established, who knows the town, has a love for the Great [North] Woods. And we’re hoping that this will entice them with the scholarship moneys.”
Jackman sits in what is known as the Moose River Valley, which consists of about 1,000 people. The Valley contains only the small towns of Jackman and nearby Moose River, which only holds a few hundred people. Jackman has actually been designated by the state of Maine as an on-shore island — only, instead of being surrounded by water, the town is surrounded by a barrier of trees.
Denise Plante, the principal of Jackman’s Forest Hills Consolidated School District, says that despite the scholarship, and the idea that anyone who came back as a professional plumber could pretty much write their own ticket and charge whatever they wanted, there’s been no success.
“From the school standpoint, we haven’t had anyone terribly interested.”
The primary problem with getting someone to take up the town on the plumber scholarship is two-fold. On one hand, the local high-school is very small, (this year’s graduating class is only composed of 12 students), and none of them seem terribly interested in taking up the profession of plumber. On the other hand, even circumventing the scholarship, no certified plumbers are terribly interested in moving to a place that is designated by the state as an “island.” Jackman’s in the great North Woods is clearly not for everyone. Living in the woods is often something people are born to, and not bred to.
Still, the town hasn’t given up hope. Jackman, Maine, is still offering its $2,000 plumbing scholarship for anyone willing to take them up on it.
[Image via Heatec Holdings]