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Big Money, No Debt: The Blunt New Pitch for Blue-Collar Workers

  • Some plumbers earning $90,000 as job openings go unfilled
  • Steered toward college, ‘I never knew this was an option’
Plumber Install Water Saving Devices In Home
Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America

Like other college prep schools, Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School north of Tampa, Florida, touts its 100 percent college acceptance rate to burnish its image and recruit students.

This year it could fall short of that mark for the first time in a while. Instead of shooting for the University of Florida or another four-year college, graduating senior Cassian O’Neill is leaning toward installing water heaters and fixing leaky toilets as a plumber.