Step into alternative energy and the emerging green economy

DEARBORN — Henry Ford Community College will host its fourth annual Alternative Energy Summit from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 25 at the college, 5101 Evergreen.

Admission is free. The public is welcome.

The summit “Green Entrepreneurship: Create a Start-Up Company in the Emerging Green Economy” offers attendees a chance to learn from industry experts about how to create a startup company in the emerging green economy. In this high growth sector, green entrepreneurship is expected to be a leading source of jobs and economic growth.

The summit will feature industry experts speaking on a variety of alternative energy topics. Keynote speakers include:

• Chuck Conlen, director of Renewable Energy, Detroit Edison.

• Scott Minos, senior Policy and Communications specialist, U.S. Department of Energy.

• Matt Roush, editor, “Great Lakes IT Report,” WWJ-AM.

Some of the breakout sessions planned for the summit include:

• Create a Green Start Up Company.

• Get Energy Efficiency in Your Business or Home.

• Electric Cars—What’s the Technology?

• Go Green in Your Business.

• Cities Go Green—Learn How.

Attendees will also have the chance to examine and watch state-of-the-art companies demonstrate products that
utilize alternative energy resources.

Vendor tables are available by calling (313) 845-9601 or e-mailing Greg Laskowsky, lead instructor for HFCC’s Energy Technology Department, at

“The summit gives the college an additional avenue through which to promote alternative energy studies at the community college level and to show how the HFCC program is efficiently and rapidly responded to new trends in alternative energy in the automotive field among others,” Laskowsky said.

“This is critical, since southeast Michigan is the home of the Big Three automotive giants, their new suppliers and the many new entrepreneur alternative energy companies starting up or moving to Michigan. Many of these companies are deeply engaged in the use of alternative power and energy in their products.

“Most importantly, southeast Michigan and the state in general are viewed as economic proving grounds for much of the nation: if new industry and new innovations can flourish in Michigan, the example set by the HFCC Alternative Energy Program can serve as a replicable model for other organizations throughout the country.”

HFCC’s Alternative Energy Program
Although companies and organizations may not
be in a position to reverse the impact that carbon monoxide and other green house gases have had on the environment, making people more aware of the role technology and education can play in reducing our environmental footprint is critically important in our emerging green economy now and in the years ahead, Laskowski said. For those interested in creating a new business, now might be a great time to step into the alternative energy field and other high growth sectors, he said.

Laskowsky said HFCC’s Alternative Energy program is one of the best in southeast Michigan and provides a comprehensive foundation for those interested in gaining an education related to new jobs in the green emerging economy. Since 2007, when enrollment was at 300 students, the program has more than tripled in the number to more than 1,000.

“Our job is to get students ready for the new, emerging industries in Michigan and we’ve been doing this for a number of years,” Laskowsky said. “HFCC graduates become candidates for emerging jobs or become entrepreneurs in the emerging green economy. Students receive an overview of alternative and renewable energies and from this they can concentrate on a great many different kinds of specialties.”

Some of these specialties include: electrical, heating and cooling, solar, wind, batteries, environmental impacts, energy auditing/weatherization, energy efficiency and planning, architecture, deconstruction, automotive and business.

Laskowsky said there are three primary reasons why HFCC has realized an increase in the number of students in the program since 2007:

• Students and professionals realize that the alternative energy sector will be a critical area in the near future for the country in terms of potential careers and economic impact.

• The No Worker Left Behind initiative has provided students an opportunity to obtain additional education and training in an emerging field.

• Degreed engineers realize that to take advantage of new career opportunities and to remain an important cog in their organizations, they must have education and training in this field to continue their career movement. In a sense, they are making sure they have a solid plan B in place.

The program blends theory with hands-on exposure. New emerging jobs require a minimum of an associate’s degree. However, with HFCC’s new 3-for-1 articulation agreements with Eastern Michigan and Siena Heights universities, students can complete their junior year at HFCC, graduate with 94 or 90 credit hours, attend one of the articulated universities, complete their senior year and graduate with a bachelor’s degree in technical education or a bachelor of science degree. HFCC’s articulation partners accept 100 percent the credits earned at HFCC as transfer credit.

For more information on the HFCC Alternative Energy Program, call (313) 845.9601 or e-mail