Michigan Tech, General Motors, Engineering Society of Detroit Work Together to Retrain Displaced Automotive Engineers

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

In a move to help address Michigan’s economic crisis, Michigan Technological University is joining hands with General Motors and the Engineering Society of Detroit to provide free retraining for displaced automotive engineers.

Michigan Tech will offer a one-semester, three-credit course in advanced propulsion technology, to equip displaced engineers to meet the growing demand for workers skilled in green automotive technologies. Students will learn the fundamentals of controlling and calibrating hybrid vehicle powertrains to meet fuel economy and emissions targets.

The class begins Feb. 5 and runs through May 14, 2009. It will be held weekly at Engineering Society of Detroit headquarters in Southfield, Mich. The course will include online lectures by Michigan Tech faculty and hands-on labs at the GM Milford Proving Ground and Pontiac Powertrain Headquarters, run by volunteer retired and active GM engineers.

Michigan Tech faculty who will teach the course include Jeffrey Naber, Jeffrey Allen, John Beard and research engineer Jeremy Worm from the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics; Jeffrey Burl and Wayne Weaver, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Stephen Hackney, Materials Science and Engineering; and Jason Keith, Chemical Engineering. David Hill, a Michigan Tech alumnus and retired GM chief engineer for Corvette and performance vehicles, will teach vehicle and powertrain integration.

"People who can create these advanced propulsion systems and calibrate them are rare and will be in great demand," said Terry Woychowski, executive director of General Motors North America vehicle chief engineers. A Michigan Tech alumnus and GM executive, Woychowski serves on the University’s College of Engineering Advisory Board. "Despite the fact that the auto industry is going through difficult times, there will always be an auto industry, and consequently, a critical need in this area with a huge potential for growth."

Timothy Schulz, dean of Michigan Tech's College of Engineering said: "Michigan Tech has always educated engineers for important jobs on the frontiers of engineering. Many of our graduates work in the automotive industry. We are making this commitment to help them retool to meet changing demands."

William Predebon, chair of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics, was instrumental is creating the new course, Schulz said.

Michigan Tech will provide students with full scholarships to cover the cost of tuition and fees. Only automotive engineers with a bachelor of science in engineering who have been laid off are eligible to apply. A maximum of 60 students will be accepted.

Applicants should submit one letter of recommendation, a resume and a letter of intent to Linda LaPointe via email at llapointe@esd.org or by mail to LaPointe at the Engineering Society of Detroit, 20700 Civic Center Drive, Suite 450, Southfield, Mich., 48076. The application deadline is Jan. 21, 2009.

Michigan Technological University is a leading public research university, conducting research, developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, forestry and environmental sciences, computing, technology, business and economics, natural and physical sciences, arts, humanities and social sciences.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.

Last Modified 2:11 p.m. June, 20 2019