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Plumber wanted: $2.5k reward

When the only plumber in remote Jackman in Maine retired, the town's 862 people were stuck. They had no handyman within 80 km.

Things got desperate enough that the town even offered a US$2,000(S$2,496) scholarship for anyone willing to learn the trade and stay.

"It can sometimes take weeks until we can find someone to respond," said local school principal Denise Plante. "And it can be worse in spring when plumbers are busy opening up lake camps and cottages."

The scholarship is funded by a local family who runs a summer camp in the area.

No new blood

Towns across Maine, which has the oldest population in the nation, face challenges keeping up with services as tradesmen retire. There are simply not enough younger workers to replace them.

In Jackman, where close to one in five residents is age 65 or older - a rate above the state average - the problem is more acute.

As local paper mills and manufacturers moved away, more young people have left the central Maine town near the Canadian border. But Plante said Jackman residents are patient, giving interested apprentice plumbers until March to apply for the scholarship.

"It can be difficult to find someone, and even when you do, the quality of the work isn’t always the best," said Plante, adding, "Are you interested?"

- Reuters

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