VIP Focus: Tap Into Your Genius—Consumers Energy Supports STEM Fields; Helps Schools Save Energy

DashBoard, Oct. 7, 2015

Consumers EnergyConsumers Energy believes there’s genius inside all of us. That’s why they launched the Generation Genius Project earlier this year. The educational initiative, designed to inspire a passion for science, technology, engineering and math highlighted the company’s support for FIRST in Michigan robotics competitions across the state.

The mission is simple—prepare students for tomorrow’s careers today. As a Michigan-based company and engineering-centric employer, it’s a win-win for students, educators and employers alike.

"Much like our state's economy, Consumers Energy depends on STEM talent to innovate, engineer, anticipate and respond to opportunities now and in the future," said Patti Poppe, Consumers Energy's senior vice president of distribution operations, engineering and transmission.

Beyond helping make the state more competitive for economic growth, STEM careers nationwide currently employ more than 26 million people with average salaries of over $77,000 annually. Growth in the coming decade should add another 9.2 million STEM jobs nationally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 2014, the Consumers Energy Foundation contributed $450,000 to support STEM programs, including FIRST teams at middle and high schools across the state.

With help from the Foundation, FIRST in Michigan was able to add 77 high school robotics teams last year, which brings the total of Michigan robotics teams to 345—more than in any other state. FIRST in Michigan has set a goal of 500 teams by 2018 when Detroit will host the World Championships.

"Support from Consumers Energy has allowed schools from all over the state to have the opportunity to participate in FIRST Robotics," said Gail Alpert, president and secretary of FIRST in Michigan. "Our mission to create a sustainable FIRST Robotics team at every school in Michigan is becoming a reality. Now, even the smallest schools from rural areas and under-resourced schools from urban communities have a chance to participate."

The Generation Genius Project is one of hundreds of education-focused programs Consumers Energy and its Foundation supports across the state each year. Last year, the company, its employees and the Foundation provided more than $10 million in charitable contributions that are bolstered by hundreds of hours of volunteer time from Consumers Energy employees.

The Jackson-based energy company also works directly with districts and educational institutions across Michigan to help maximize their energy resources. Since 2009, Consumers Energy paid more than $19 million in energy efficiency rebates to K-12 districts across the state to help them lower their energy costs.

Consumers Energy Business Account Manager Thomas Shirilla works with districts to help them become more energy efficient in order to manage finite resources. There are many opportunities to maximize energy use and capitalize on cost savings.

School administrators have the opportunity to engage with Consumers Energy to:

  • Launch safety programs for kids
  • Provide rate analysis
  • Arrange online billing, automated payments and centralized billing
  • Launch energy efficiency programs and obtain rebates

There are so many opportunities to better shape energy use and costs that simply did not exist just a handful of years ago.

To learn more, visit, or contact a Consumers Energy account specialist directly at 800.805.0490.

VIP Focus articles are company-sponsored advertisements and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of MASB. It’s intended to provide Very Important Partners with a space to share information of value to you and your district.

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