By Anne Marie Hagerty| November 20, 2019 at 6:39 AM EST – Updated November 20 at 6:48 AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – The job market is changing across the county and college is not an option for many students.
But there is a school in our area that is actively working to offer a cheaper option.
Olympic High School has a construction learning course that prepares students to go after trade jobs right after graduating. They say there are 50,000 jobs open for trades in the Charlotte area right now that can offer good pay without requiring students to take out loans for a university degree.
“When you’re younger everyone is like go to university, go spend that money because it’s worth it,” said Eve Borja, a senior at Olympic High School.
But what if you are a student or parent and do not have that money to spend for a university degree?
“Coming from my family I’m from a Latino background and my parents immigrated here and they didn’t have the opportunity of going to a big university – they had to go right to work,” said Borja.
Borja’s family was working to support Eve and her siblings while building a new life here in the United States.
Borja knew soon after graduating she would need to support her family, and herself, too.
“I’ve always been told since I was being being in the trades industry is for the poor man but it’s really not you can get good money from it. College isn’t everything,” said Borja.
Borja goes to Olympic High School.
Olympic started a trade training program in proactive response to the thousands of trade job openings right now in our city.
“Education nowadays has to look completely different from what it has,” said Erik Olejarczyk, Olympic High principal.
The difference looks like a construction class.
“This class has opened up multiple different pathways for me,” said Jacob Anthony Florez, a senior in the program at Olympic.
“I think there is a stigma around girls going into trade work and I have broken that bound,” said Ashley Harron, another construction student.
“They’re also doing something for the greater good of Charlotte,” said Olejarczyk.
The home they are building is not just a school project. It’s for a family in our community that needs a place to live.
“I get to build a home, I get to be part of a project that builds a home where a family gets to spend their Christmas,” said Borja.
These students are learning about the affordable housing crisis while also charting the course for what they will do after high school.
“This opportunity I’ve been given has opened my eyes to what I actually want to do when I graduate,” said Borja.
Borja is set to graduate in spring of 2020 and plans to pursue a career in construction right after to support herself and her family.
Habitat for Humanity partnered with Lowe’s to sponsor the home build that is planned for a specific family who needs a place to live in our area. The students have met the family and plan to dedicate the home to them this spring.