A city that once pioneered a new economy for a new America is now passing on its legacy to 21st century entrepreneurs sculpting it’s rebirth from the ashes. The spirit is still here, it actually never left.  Hiding in the halls of historic automotive buildings and creeping into a declining, but indigenous, market place.  Highland Park has changed the world before, and this summer Highland Park will carry the torch once again.    

It takes courage to rise. But after falling, it takes radical courage to rise again. On June 6th, Highland Park will rise again. The “Green Economy Leadership Training (GELT),” a nine week skill-set manufacturing program designed to train 25 individuals to become 21st century urban pioneers, will commence.

Here are just a few of the highlights of this summer’s rendition of GELT:

  • Trainings in energy efficiency – Partnering with WARM Training Program and the Detroit Youth Energy Squad, GELT participants will be trained in basic weatherization, a service that can save a household $100’s a year on energy bills.  After being trained participants will provide free energy efficiency upgrades to over 300 residents, to help lower utility bills and educate on conservation.
  • Renewable energy – Solar Photovoltaic Training: During the program, participants will go through a week long intensive course on design and installation of solar photovoltaic panels.  Solar Living Institute (SLI) will lead the training.  Certifications through SLI will be available to those who complete the training and will provide the foundation level for future advancement in the Solar PV field.   Upon completion of the training, GELT and its participants will apply newly developed skills and work install a PV system in Highland Park.
  • Urban farming – GELT participants will be going through an intensive permaculture design certification course led by Abundant Succession and Chiwara Permaculture Design.  Participants will also construct Highland Park’s first large-scale, year round greenhouse, generating healthy, accessible food for residents, businesses and local institutions.
  • Freedom Movement – Led by Marcus Ryan, the freedom movement will explore movement building toward collective liberation, connecting the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. with to our current goal of building a green economy.
  • Business Model Development – Led by GELT staff, participants in the program will be split into 4 teams to generate business models around the ideas being incubated during the 9 weeks.

While GELT stresses technical training for the green economy, at its core it is an entrepreneurial training program that simultaneously builds a community-driven, city wide economic system, engineered for the long term viability of its residents and businesses.  GELT seeks to transform both individuals in the program and the community it is part of.  For Highland Park and Detroit, GELT is adopting regenerative solutions to urban decay, addressing resident illiteracy and financial insolvency to rebuild the city.  Our vision is to shepherd forth a city taking care of its own, stimulating the creativity and skills of young adults ready to become the moral compass for a growing population of youth eager run toward spiritual, physical, and mental health.  A city, once more, producing what no one else knows how to.

Check out the video above of our returning GELTer Marion Berger discussing just what exactly GELT is.