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Vehicle for learning
Companies donate car, parts to Maxwell High auto students

LAWRENCEVILLE - The donation of a new Subaru engine and a Toyota RAV4 that doesn't run will provide a powerful learning experience for Maxwell High School of Technology's auto services students, instructor Eliot Lawrence said.

The engine, a 2009 model donated Wednesday by Subaru of America and Subaru of Gwinnett, gives students hands-on experience with up-to-date equipment. As for the vehicle that doesn't crank, donated by Gwinnett Technical College and Southeast Toyota, the students will learn how to make it run, Lawrence said.

"The kids will be working with this in their jobs," he said.

Input from industry professionals helps Maxwell High strengthen its programs, Lawrence said. For example, he said, feedback from the auto services program's advisory committee lets instructors know they need to put more focus on developing students' communications and customer service skills.

Partnering with the school also provides a benefit to businesses, said Herb Hoffman, service manager for Subaru of Gwinnett and Infiniti of Gwinnett.

"We get to help mold our next employees," said Hoffman, who serves on the auto services program's advisory committee.

The school partners with about six dealerships that provide input for the program and hire students as paid interns, Lawrence said.

"We feed our best students where we know they're going to have a good career," he said.

The school also has an agreement with Gwinnett Tech, allowing students who perform well in the Maxwell courses and pass tests to receive credit at the technical college.

Each of Maxwell's programs has an advisory committee, principal Donna Powers said.

"We're always appreciative of business and industry who support our program and most importantly work with our students," she said.