The automotive program at Allen Park Public Schools got some unexpected good news recently — a financial boost of $29,000 that it’s receiving through a grant.
The school district has run an automotive program for over 40 years. It renewed its commitment to Career Technology Education about 20 years ago with the construction of an auto shop lab and classroom. The Automotive Service Excellence certified program continues to have full enrollment each school year.
During the 2019-20 school year, the Margaret Dunning Foundation awarded a sizable grant to purchase a lift for the Allen Park High School automotive program.
This school year, the foundation awarded a $29,000 grant for the purchase of a Hunter Engineering WinAlign Package — a wheel alignment machine that compliments the new lift — to further support the APHS automotive program.
School district officials said the addition of the wheel alignment equipment will meet the expectation that exists in the Maintenance and Light Repair curriculum used in superior training institutions.
According to the school district, the Hunter Alignment System is the leader in the industry in suspensions and steering equipment and represents an immediate upgrade within Allen Park High School’s automotive program, allowing the quality standards set by the school district to be achieved and maintained for many years to come.
Every student who is trained to use the Hunter Alignment system will have knowledge and experience using the same technology that most large chain tire stores and car dealerships use, ultimately making the district’s students employable immediately upon graduation for one of the 850 auto service technician/mechanic positions projected to exist through 2026.
The alignment system represents an enhancement that allows students to meet the quality standards set in the auto industry.
The school district issued a statement saying that it values its relationship with the Margaret Dunning Foundation and is extremely grateful for this generous donation, as the district continues to strive for an uncompromising commitment to excellence in education.
School Supt. Michael Darga expressed special thanks to Karen Moran, retired Allen Park High School assistant principal; as well as to instructor Thomas Jenkins, for seeking out this grant and for all the hard work involved in the grant-writing process.
“The funding provided through this grant will allow APPS to offer a program that will prepare students for post-high school opportunities, while helping to meet the growing shortage of skilled workers in the automotive industry,” Darga said.
The Margaret Dunning Foundation was founded in 1997. Dunning was born in 1910 in Redford Township, and moved with her mother to Plymouth in the 1920s.
During her lifetime, Dunning was a successful businesswoman, philanthropist and civic booster. She was a major supporter of many Plymouth nonprofits, including the Plymouth District Library and the Plymouth Historical Society.
In addition to her personal philanthropy, Dunning was a classic car enthusiast and was a regular participant in the Woodward Dream Cruise with her 1930 Packard 740 Roadster.
Dunning died in 2015 at the age of 104. Her estate provided additional funding for the Margaret Dunning Foundation, which continues to support her charitable interests and legacy.