Im younger than most of the guys here; and I lucked into this job. My dad was a shop teacher and something he taught me years ago, still applies. "Learning how to take something apart and reassemble it is one thing; but there will ALWAYS be someone willing to do it faster and for less money, one day you'll be too old to keep up. What you need to do is UNDERSTAND -HOW- they work and how to diagnose the problem."
Learn to weld, learn about precision measuring equipment, learn everything you can about the new stuff. Learn to read and UNDERSTAND a wiring diagram. Learn how computer programming works.
Start hanging around the old timers, ask questions. Go to school, ask questions. Yes some people are grumpy old salts; but did you notice every guy on here said the same thing "I learned under someone else when I got started" This means sweeping floors, cleaning the office, mopping the bathroom, answering phones, picking up lunch and washing cars. Don't get discouraged, don't assume you're ready to go to work, wait your turn, be polite and keep at it. If its in your soul, don't give up. I had lots of jobs before this, just be patient and stay focused.
Lots of guys right out of college want the corner office and $50,000 a year; they don't want to start at the bottom and prove themselves.
One thing I didn't see mentioned: Don't get into fights, drugs, etc. Keep your nose clean as the old timers would say. A well mannered, polite, willing-to-learn young guy who asks the right questions and stays focused...will always get a 2nd look. If you look homeless, sound ignorant, dropped out of school and have an arrest-sheet; they won't bother with you. And maybe it won't be with the guy you really want to work for; but, he has friends and so do they. You may get a call saying "my parts driver didn't come to work today, Jim says you're a good kid and can be dependable; stop by at 5 tonight" You show up at 4.30. And you go to work early in the morning and stay late and work hard. They can't seem to figure out how to teach that in college.