Fairfax County students prepare for automotive careers

Fairfax County students prepare for automotive careers, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017 (ABC7 photo) 

The automotive shop at Falls Church High School is open. "We just pulled a motor out of a Chevy Suburban so that was a challenge," 16-year-old Vincent Mosely told ABC7 News. The shop functions as an Automotive Technology classroom where students learn everything from the basics: "Tires, brakes, transmission servicing, differential servicing," explained instructor Mike Blondin, who has been teaching the classes for 18 years.

By the end of the program, students learn to take apart a transmission. It wasn't a transmission but an engine that Mosely repaired with his dad when he was 8 years old.

His father once worked as a mechanic and Mosely hopes to follow in his footsteps. He's now getting the training he'll need at his high school. "I took it sophomore year and fell in love with it so, I came back again another year and learned more," Mosely shared.

Fellow classmate Syed Rafi also embraces all things automotive. "Since childhood I've been liking cars, I've been collecting cars and I saw this program in school and I was like, 'It's perfect for me.'"

The cars students work on are donated from the community, repaired, safety inspected, and then sold for a profit. The money raised goes back into the program and toward student scholarships.

Blondin, a former mechanic, says students get much more from taking the classes than automotive know-how. "They come in here with low self-esteem; by the time they've been in the class for three years, they have a lot of positive self-esteem; where they feel very confident and very marketable for the job market," he offered.

The Automotive Technology program is offered at 13 high schools in Fairfax County.

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