PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A YouTube sensation who has built more than a million followers with his craftsmanship skills is coming to Presque Isle.
Scott Wadsworth of Oregon, who with his son Nate started a YouTube channel called The Essential Craftsman, will set up shop at Northern Maine Community College’s open house on Friday, Oct. 14, to speak about the importance of skilled trades.
In Maine and the rest of the country, tradespeople are overwhelmed with business and hungry for workers. Six of the top 10 skilled jobs considered to be most in demand are welding, masonry, construction, commercial driving, crane operation and carpentry, according to indeed.com. And as the pandemic loosens its hold, construction in Maine has seen a 5 percent increase in jobs.
NMCC plumbing and heating instructor Loren Gordon is over the moon. He hopes Wadsworth’s down-to-earth nature and versatility will inspire Aroostook County students to choose careers in the trades, helping to abate worker shortages and teaching them that perseverance and willingness to learn can lead them to a successful career.
Gordon, who ran his own plumbing and heating business before he became an instructor, said tradespeople are more in demand than ever.
“That’s something we’ve been fighting with for years — letting people know that we suffer as a society because we don’t have tradespeople,” Gordon said Friday. “Everybody is screaming for help. A week doesn’t go by that I don’t get somebody calling and asking me to send students to them to work,” he said.
Long a fan of Wadsworth’s informative videos, Gordon impulsively reached out to him one day, and the two struck up a conversation. On a whim, Gordon asked him if there was any chance he’d come to Presque Isle and do a presentation for the students. Wadsworth didn’t hesitate. He said he’d love to.
Details are still being worked out, but Wadsworth will present three times throughout the open house, at 10 and 11 a.m. and at 4 p.m., each session lasting about half an hour. He has even produced a video on his upcoming trip to The County.
In the 1 1/2-minute segment, Wadsworth describes himself as a blacksmith, a fabricator and a logger who does all manner of things.
”I would like to have a chance to visit with you on the campus, see what you’re up to, see what your plans are, and see what we’re all going to do when we finally grow up,” Wadsworth said in the video.
The internet is full of opportunities to learn anything one is interested in, he said, urging viewers to spend online time wisely and learn something worthwhile that they can incorporate into their everyday lives.
Over the past 40 years or so, Wadsworth has been a carpenter, an elk hunting guide in Wyoming, a truck driver, welder, steel fabricator, logger, sawmill operator and more, said NMCC officials. But when he discovered the ancient craft of blacksmithing, he felt compelled to share his decades of skills and developed his own YouTube channel.
Wadsworth posted his first YouTube video on Jan. 3, 2016, titled “200lb Chambersburg Blacksmith Power Hammer.” The video now has more than 340,000 views, and The Essential Craftsman now has more than 1.2 million subscribers.
In addition to how-tos, Wadsworth shares wisdom in his videos about the value of lifelong learning. He learned most of what he knows from working with hundreds of people, watching and listening, according to NMCC.
Gordon uses some of Wadsworth’s videos in his classes and has learned from them himself. He’s a fan because he finds Wadsworth not only professional but relatable, and a tireless advocate for the trades.
He hopes his students will be inspired by Wadsworth’s passion for craftsmanship and learning, and the determination it has taken him to get to where he is.
“It took never giving up and keeping that education up, opening a trade manual, keeping going when things get hard,” Gordon said. “Failing is not an option. And I hope that is what they gain from this guy.”
For information or to RSVP for NMCC’s open house, call Admissions at 207-768-2785 or visit nmcc.edu.