To make sure tomorrow’s energy leaders receive a power-smart education today, MCA Chicago has teamed up with educator Gerard Katz and encourage students to take part in the Student Leadership Training Conferences.

Members of the Mechanical Contractors Association (MCA) of Chicago work with the mechanical systems of today’s energy-efficient buildings, so it’s no surprise the association takes a special interest in our country’s current and future energy needs.

“America’s green building and alternative energy movements gain more momentum every year – and if they are to maintain steady growth well into the future, the energy leaders of tomorrow need to be trained today,” says Stephen Lamb, MCA executive director.

To make sure tomorrow’s energy leaders receive a power-smart education today, MCA Chicago has teamed up with educator Gerard Katz, who has been teaching students about energy for more than 30 years and is known as “Mr. Energy” in the classroom. Together they’ll encourage Chicagoland students to take part in the Student Leadership Training Conferences. These are regional workshops taking place Nov. 19 and 20, 2009, in preparation for a March 2010 national event called “The Great American Energy Debate.” MCA of Chicago underwrites the Conferences in the Chicago area.

“Over two dozen Chicagoland high schools will have students at the training conferences,” says Katz, “and dozens of conferences like these will take place nationwide before the 2010 main event, which will involve tens of thousands of students.”

In Illinois, the Student Leadership Training Conferences will be held Nov. 19, 2009, at Lyons Township High School (La Grange, Ill.) and Nov. 20, 2009, at Perspectives/IIT Math & Science Academy (Chicago). There is no cost to the schools for the training conferences, and lunch will be provided. School delegates attending the workshops can select some or all of the activities presented to include in The Great American Energy Debate programs at their own schools.

“Gerard is a leading innovator in the field of energy education,” says Lamb. “These workshops will help young people to learn about energy in a fun, interactive way. Getting them involved is the key to a successful educational process.”

Lamb noted that these energy education sessions will also encourage students to consider careers in the mechanical contracting industry, which regularly addresses green building concerns and the energy usage of today’s buildings.

“Young people do not often consider careers in the construction industry,” he says. “They may think the work is menial or unrewarding. But that is far from the truth. The construction industry requires the best and the brightest to design and implement today’s high-performance mechanical systems.”

According to Katz, the Chicagoland schools will each send groups of three students and one teacher to the November 2009 workshops. “What makes these workshops unique,” Katz says, “is that students will conduct most of the sessions. These sessions will examine the technical, economic, and environmental factors surrounding energy production and consumption.”

During the Student Leadership Training Conferences, students will attend English, math, social studies and science classes enriched with energy information, so students can think about energy issues in practical, day-to-day terms.

For more information on The Great American Energy Debate, visit www.thegreatamericanenergydebate.org. Students can register for workshops at this website by selecting the ‘Register for Leadership Training Workshops’ link.

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