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Should I take gen eds in high school if I am planning on going to lineman school? If so what should I take

I am Interested in being an lineman who works on power lines. I am 16 and I am a hard worker and I am willing to do anything to learn more about a job or an opportunity. lineman powerline linemanschool

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Elaine’s Answer

Being a lineman is a fantastic career choice for the right person. Absolutely focus in on courses that will help build your: reading, communication, critical thinking, teamwork, financial literacy, and mathematical skills. You will need every one of those things.

One of my jobs was to support youth apprenticeship programs across my state. Employers in the skilled trades told me over and over that they were ready and willing to teach the actual trade skills. They were ready to invest a lot into that training knowing that the required technical skills will change ALL the time as technology changes. They weren't worried about that part of educating people. By far, their biggest concerns were finding high school students/young adults who could:
- continue to learn (be a life-long learner)
- show solid attendance at school (shows commitment and persistence)
- communicate clearly with others in both written and spoken ways
- read and follow complicated technical project descriptions, regulations, diagrams, manuals, notices, etc.
- manage personal finances and a personal budget in a smart way so that during periods of low (or no) work, they could still cover expenses for housing, food, utilities, truck payments, etc.*

* That last item on the list surprised me until the employers told me how frustrated they were by losing young workers to bad finances. They told me stories again and again of losing awesome new hires. They described new workers who immediately spent their early paychecks on lifting their trucks, buying new wheels and tires and a complete new sound system, only to end up bankrupt and losing everything during a dip in employment 8 months later. A repossessed vehicle means no way to get to the job sites and evidently has ruined a great many early careers in the skilled trades. That is why a course in financial literacy/personal finance is a must.

Elaine recommends the following next steps:

Ask a high school counselor to help you investigate the completion rates and the placement rates of any lineman school you are considering. Solid schools will ensure that their students get the supports needed to successfully complete the program. Good schools will also have great placement rates into actual employement in that specific "line" of work.
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