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Erb Institute Students Help Support Job Creation, Economic Renewal

6/17/2009 --

Erb internship program is designed to stimulate economic recovery through clean technology, renewable energy and sustainable business entrepreneurship.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Students at the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan are taking summer internships at business incubators, government agencies, and nonprofits across Michigan to help spark the state's transformation toward a healthy, sustainable economy.

The internship program, sponsored by the Erb Institute, is designed to create jobs and stimulate economic recovery through clean technology, renewable energy, and sustainable business entrepreneurship initiatives in Michigan and elsewhere.

Aimed at fostering innovative thinking that will drive the new "green" economy, the internship program matches Erb Institute students with companies, public agencies, and nongovernmental organizations that are developing sustainable products, services and technologies. The institute supplements internship wages paid by nonprofit and government agencies to make them more competitive with generally higher-paying private-sector internships.

For example, Erb Fellows Paul Gruber, MBA/MS '10; Bryan Hogle, MBA/MS '11; Imogen Taylor, MBA/MS '10; and Nicolas Wetzler, MBA/MS '11, already are deeply entrenched at marketing strategy and business incubation firm Turtlerock, where they are working on a multimillion-dollar U.S. Department of Energy grant application to help develop advanced battery technology. This summer, the group also will devote time to the Turtlerock Greentech Foundation, which supports clean technology research and development in the region. Specific projects will include an entrepreneurial competition to spur greentech innovation and the creation of a documentary on greentech development in Michigan.

"The combined impact of the economic recession and the automotive industry downturn has been particularly challenging for Southeast Michigan, but in the wake of failure we see the opportunity for unprecedented green business growth in this region," said Loch McCabe, a former Erb Institute External Advisory Board member and principal with the clean tech management consulting firm Shepherd Advisors. "Several of the projects with which these students are engaged will directly help build Michigan's clean energy infrastructure, helping communities and companies to better weather this economic transition, and position themselves to be more competitive and successful in the future."

The Erb internship program also includes several appointments through the Small Business Association of Michigan, which provides operational and strategic support for small businesses. Through SBAM, Erb students Sam Lines and Bharath Iyengar will work with Shepherd Advisors to conduct clean energy supply chain research; support Michigan State University's Michigan Future Bio-Economy Scenario Planning project; assist with energy efficiency planning tools and services to Michigan communities; and support U-M Energy Assessment Center efforts to educate and train Michigan businesses on increasing energy efficiency.

"Sustainability is a powerful lens for seeing the kinds of opportunities that will revitalize Michigan's economy," said Rick Bunch, managing director of the Erb Institute. "As a part of the Southeast Michigan community, we are pleased to support an internship program that brings our students' expertise to bear on one of the greatest economic challenges it has ever faced."

The Erb Institute, a joint program between U-M's Ross School of Business and School of Natural Resources, awards dual MBA/master of science degrees to graduates of its three-year program, as well as serving as the center for cutting-edge research into global companies' sustainability strategies. More information can be found at erb.umich.edu.



For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat, (734) 936-1015 or 647-1847, bernied@umich.edu