Montana teens making money while they can in the oil fields

New York Times (paywall) profiles high school graduates in Montana who are opting for work in booming oil fields rather than heading to college.

Sidney High School, located in central Montana, says a record one-third of its graduating class are heading off to work rather than attending college or signing up for the military.

A 19-year-old Tegan Silvertson told the Times that he would rather ". . . make the money while I could."

Less than a year after proms and homecoming games, teenagers like Mr. Sivertson now wake at 4 a.m. to make the three-hour trek to remote oil rigs. They fish busted machinery out of two-mile-deep hydraulic fracturing wells and repair safety devices that keep the wells from rupturing, often working alongside men old enough to be their fathers.

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Image of an oil worker in Williston, North Dakota is by by lindsey gee from Flickr creative commons