CMS making sure students are job-ready

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Like most boys Malik Vandiver has always loved taking things apart.

"And then try to figure out how it works," said Malik.

It started with a passion for cars as a little boy.

"I could put it back together but it just wouldn't work the same," added the high school junior who is now working on turning his hobby into a career with the help of North Meck's automotive program.

"There's a rise in jobs for mechanical engineers and they get paid a lot," said Malik.

Charlotte Mecklenberg Schools offers the hands-on experience and gets students job ready through a bond program.

The district is hoping to expand the program to other schools with part of the $8.64 million bond on the ballot this November election.

"Science technology engineering and math, that's what it takes to be an automotive technician today so you have to be educated to work," said John Dodson, the Vice President of NASCAR and Community Relations.

Dodson partners with CMS to train students.He says automotive industry trades are important to North Carolina's growing economy.

"The average motor sports job in North Carolina is 70 thousand dollars so learning a trade in this nation and in this state is not a bad thing."

"That's where your jobs are going to be.  That's the backbone of this nation."

Cale Rich is also in the class.

The junior at North Meck is hoping that through the program he can work his way into a race team.

"It's just one more thing that you can get an advantage on to get a job much quicker," said Rich.

He is banking on the program to help him have a successful future and so is Malik.

"Since I'm in this already I'll be ahead of the game," said Malik.

The program also allows students to get ASE or Automotive Service Excellence certified and earn college credits while still in high school.

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