KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When the Mecum Auto Auction wraps up Saturday in Kansas City, Missouri, it won’t just be the new car owners who drive away winners. Students from Tonganoxie High School will also be smiling.
For the past three years, the high school has teamed up with the auction. Students in the automotive career and technical education program work at the auction and Mecum cuts them a check at the end of the weekend.
Students get the chance to see cars up close, meet enthusiasts and employers. And the school has used the money to buy tools, equipment and launch a Skills USA team.
“We just like to ignite the passion of automobiles,” said teacher Tony Maurer.
That passion is coming at a critical time. Economists predict the workforce will need more mechanics in the immediate future; specifically mechanics with specific technological training to keep up with how cars have evolved.
“Getting to know a lot more about the newer technology that's coming out is definitely a big help,” said Tucker Isaacs, a junior at THS.
His classmate already has his sights set on becoming a mechanic of some sort.
“I know that I can find a job a lot easier if I really start getting into stuff and really start learning more about diesel engines in general, I have a better chance of getting more money,” Cameron Freeman added.
Their teacher said while technology is evolving, he still makes it a point to teach them the basics, which is what the computers in cars control anyway.
“Automotive is something you can't outsource. It's something you have to fix here in the US. There are tons of jobs available for it. It's a very lucrative field right now,” Maurer said
The Mecum Auto Auction continues Friday and Saturday, December 6 and 7. Doors to the KC Convention Center at 301 West 13th Street open at 8 a.m. and the auction begins at 11 a.m. both days. General admission is $30, registering as a bidder now costs $200, but includes admission to two to each day.
For more information on the 600 cars up for sale this weekend, click here.