Mario, we hardly knew ye

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Rex Babiera/Flickr Creative Commons

By Scott Keeler, public relations director, All Clear Plumbing

The world of plumbing and video games was stunned recently by a shocking revelation about Super Mario. On Nintendo’s official webpage, an updated resume revealed that its beloved mascot was no longer a plumber!

So how do we wrap our minds on the abrupt change of arguably the most famous video game character ever? Settle down, Pac-Maniacs. I said “arguably,” and besides, my personal vote for the most iconic figure in video game history would go to Ms. Pac-Man.

Given what we’ve seen from Mario over the years, maybe we should not be so stunned by this news. Despite appearing in more than 200 video games (seriously, Google it), there’s little to no evidence that Mario ever was anything close to a master plumber.

When we were first introduced to Mario 36 years ago, he was busy climbing ladders and avoiding fireballs and barrels to rescue a damsel in distress from a gorilla. He utilized those same skills later to rescue a princess from a maniacal turtle with fangs and a spiked shell. Mario also raced go-karts, played golf and tennis, worked as a doctor, and even taught typing (seriously, Google that too).

During this entire time, we never saw Mario unclog a sink, repair a broken pipe, or install a new water heater. The closest thing to plumbing we ever saw Mario do was investigate pipes that may or may not be inhabited by Venus flytraps, and help his brother Luigi rid a sewer of strange creatures.

Whether Mario could repair a leaky faucet or not, he always looked the part and used all the various skills he did have to combat evil. That’s why he will always be a plumbing hero.

But seriously, folks, Mario’s not the only one leaving the plumbing profession behind. There are real-life industry trends that show that plumbing isn’t a top career choice.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the plumbing industry is projected to grow by 12 percent over a 12-year period. Over the same time, it’s expected that many plumbers from the baby boomer generation will continue to be retiring.

Plumbing is a mission-critical career field. We can’t keep our communities and families safe without it. Clean water and sanitation are the cornerstones of a healthy and safe society and plumbers are on the front lines defending that infrastructure. So who’s going to fill the shoes of those plumbers retiring? Many younger generations are choosing to go to college over working in a skilled trade.

Garnering a college degree is undoubtedly a significant achievement that can unlock career doors. But all too often those doors can’t be found. While degrees might always be available in a particular field, jobs in those fields often aren’t. While ever-growing technology has shrunk or eliminated some industries, plumbing isn’t one of them.

All Clear Plumbing hopes to provide some future master plumbers through our apprenticeship program. Our apprentices are provided with online, self-paced education to help learn the essential tools while also getting hands-on experience working full time alongside our team of plumbers.

Our apprentices are full-time employees who receive weekly pay and benefits. It’s also an education, including tuition and books, that’s paid for by All Clear.

So long Mario, hello Maria?

Another long-time issue that the plumbing industry still faces is a lack of gender diversity. According to 2010 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 1.5 percent of the 553,000 plumbers, pipelayers, pipefitters, and steamfitters are women.

That’s why All Clear Plumbing is currently hiring for female apprentice positions. Our ultimate goal here is to have one of our trucks manned exclusively by a female plumbing crew. While All Clear is majority-owned by women, all of our current crews of plumbers and apprentices are made up of men.

Our crews are professional in every sense of the word. Whether it’s their knowledge of the job, work ethic, or courtesy to our customers, they offer the best plumbing and drain cleaning service in the Upstate.

We want at least one crew made up of women simply to cater to those customers who may be uncomfortable having a male stranger inside and around their home. Whatever reason they may have for feeling that way is none of our concern. Our only concern when it comes to customers is to ensure they are completely satisfied with our work.

How to apply

If you’re interested in joining our staff as a plumber or an apprentice, please contact All Clear managing partner Anja Smith at anja@acpupstate.com. We often have a waiting list for the apprenticeship program, so express your interest as soon as possible!

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