MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ky. (FOX 56) — Montgomery County High School senior, Jacob Bradley is plunging straight into the workforce. On May 27, Bradley is putting down his textbooks and picking up his tools. He’ll work alongside plumbers learning a trade in high demand.
At the high school on Wednesday morning, Bradley signed his letter of intent, but not for athletics or academics, instead to join Fast Flow Plumbing and begin his apprenticeship in the trade.
“I never really wanted to be an accountant or sit down. I enjoy working with my hands a lot,” said Bradley.
By his side yesterday was his mother, Angie Bradley. She spoke highly of her son and said how proud she was. She even shed a tear.
“His dad and I are just over the moon,” said Angie. “He’s a great kid. We are very lucky to have him.”
This isn’t Bradley’s first time fixing pipes. For years, he and his dad fixed water pipes, electrical sockets, and more around their house. Since March 2022, Bradley has worked part-time for Fast Flow Plumbing while enrolled in the high school’s co-op program.
Bradley met Ben Crum, Vice President of Fast Flow Plumbing, at a career fair and has been committed to the trade since. Half of Bradley’s day is in a classroom, and the other half is handiwork. He sometimes works 32 hours a week in addition to his school work.
As a plumbing apprentice for Fast Flow Plumbing, Bradley will earn as he learns. Most apprentices make $14 – $20 per hour. A master plumber will teach Bradley for two years before his first exam to get his journeyman’s license.
“We are willing to invest in anyone that comes to us,” said Crum. “We want to make sure they have the opportunity in two years to get their journeyman’s license.”
In nearly a decade, studies show nearly 80,000 plumbers are expected to retire. Therefore, it’s teens, like Bradley, who will be the future, and much needed masters, of the industry.
After Bradley passes the exam and receives his license, he will work another two years before taking an exam to become a master plumber. Journeymen plumber’s pay averages between $40,000 and $120,000 per year. In Kentucky, Master plumbers can own and operate their own companies. The average company grosses more than $1,000,000 per year.
But for Bradley, it’s not about the money. Even though he is using his paycheck to pay off his car loan.
In 10 years, Bradley still sees himself plumbing. “Maybe I’ll be a Fast Flow Plumbing franchise owner,” he said.