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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A CMS teacher is just back from a trip to Germany where he saw firsthand how that country works to get high schoolers trained and into the workforce.

Now he's trying to figure out how to make that work here.

"They are definitely ahead of us, absolutely," said Mike Realon, the career and community coordinator for Olympic High School in Charlotte.

He visited seven schools trying to get a good idea of what that country is doing to help get more teens interested in STEM-type careers.

"They do a blended learning between what happens in a workplace and what's happening in the classroom," he said.

"There's a big emphasis being placed on helping kids see the relevancy between what they're doing in school and where it has a place in the workplace, and seeing great collaboration between education, industry and government."

That's why Realon is meeting with the CEO of Charlotte Works, Steve Partidge, where they focus on getting people, both young and old, into the workforce.

"As a country we need to do a better job, both young people and job seekers, with what's in demand in your local area."

The problem? In Germany, half of all teens do an apprenticeship; that's' a far cry from numbers here in the U.S. The men say both the school and business community need to step it up.

Patridge added, "By partnering with the schools... they can get a ready-made workforce-- if they take the time to invest, help design curriculum, offer doors to internships; that's the real key in what's missing right now."

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