To provide disadvantaged urban youth with an opportunity to learn an interesting and useful skill while becoming productive members of their community.

The dropout rate for low income high school students in Mecklenburg County is rising at a time of shrinking educational budgets and opportunities. CMS graduation rates for the 2010-2011 school year reveal a huge disparity between disadvantaged urban youth, particularly males. District disparities were stark with Providence High School graduating 93 percent of its students while West Charlotte graduated just 54 percent.

Most high school non graduates have little hope for meaningful employment and are limited in their ability to find good jobs and become productive members of their community. Alternative educational programs are needed to help disadvantaged students achieve a brighter future.

Vehicle repair is a dependable industry and one of the few good-paying blue collar jobs that cannot be shipped overseas. In addition, rising vehicle costs are forcing car owners to keep their autos longer, creating an industry with strong long term growth potential.

Although local automotive repair training programs exist through Community Colleges and include classes in Matthews and Huntersville, the CARS program is fundamentally different for two primary reasons:

  • Our program is physically located in the community it serves
  • We will work to be self-funded through a for-profit workplace for our graduates. Students gain financial security close to home and the community benefits with access to dependable, honest and reasonably priced auto repair.