Market Update, Boosting Business Leaders

Just in time for the new year, Harper College will offer a free public mini-economics lesson aimed at untangling the confusion surrounding the general state of the economy, the financial market, and employment trends in 2011.


Market Update

Just in time for the new year, Harper College will offer a free public mini-economics lesson aimed at untangling the confusion surrounding the general state of the economy, the financial market, and employment trends in 2011. The "Market Update and Outlook" seminar, hosted by Harper Economics Professor Getachew Begashaw, is at 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 19 and noon Thursday, January 20 in Room A242, Building A on the College's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. The presentation is free and open to all. Begashaw will flesh out the relationships between the recession and national debt and economic growth and unemployment, and will tackle the future of other general economic concepts, from bailouts to gross domestic product. Begashaw is an expert on the U.S. economy and public finance. He holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University and is a member of various regional and national economics associations. The market update event is the latest in the 2010-11 Harper Heritage Seminar Series - a collection of free monthly information sessions sponsored by the College's Educational Foundation. Sessions are led by industry professionals as a public service to the Harper community. To register for Begashaw presentation, or for a full list of other upcoming free seminars, call 847.925.6490 or visit

Press Contact: Phil Burdick, Chief Communications Officer, 847.925.6183,


Boosting Business Leaders

Initiating change isn't easy - especially in the workplace. Harper College will arm you with the tools to do it effectively, at a "Leading Change" seminar from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 12 in the Wojcik Conference Center on the main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. The session, geared toward rising suburban business leaders, will offer instruction on introducing change in the office, leading employee discussions on change implementation, and helping workers overcome their resistance to a new way of doing things. The event is the latest in Harper's "Grab the Ring" Leadership Seminar series, a collection of training-and-networking programs on topics ranging motivating and developing others to leading high-performance teams and setting appropriate performance expectations. "Businesses continue to evolve and change, particularly as America continues its climb out of a recession," says Maria Coons, who oversees Harper College for Business. "These workshops will help local leaders meet the demands of their current positions and increase productivity so they can get their business where it needs to be." Harper College for Business, which provides training, development, tuition help, small business support and more for employers throughout the Northwest suburbs, is sponsoring the training series in partnership with the talent management company Development Dimensions International. Sessions are facilitated by a Harper College for Business consultant. The cost is $149 per session; that includes breakfast and materials. To register, or for a complete list of upcoming seminar topics and dates, call 847.925.6640 or visit Harper Business Solutions

Press Contact: Phil Burdick, Chief Communications Officer, 847.925.6183,


Chamber Music Festival

Harper College will salute master composer Ludwig van Beethoven at the sixth annual Chamber Music Festival - a musical program featuring performances by Department of Music faculty, including the Harper Chamber Winds ensemble-in-residence. The "Celebrating Beethoven" program is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 22 in the College's Performing Arts Center. It will feature Beethoven's Octet in E-Flat, Opus 103 and Quintet in E-Flat, Opus 16, as well as works from Rachmaninoff, Debussy and others. Tickets are $15 for general admission, with discounts available for all students (with valid ID) and senior citizens. Children ages 12 and under will be admitted free. For tickets, call 847.925.6100 or visit

Press Contact: Phil Burdick, Chief Communications Officer, 847.925.6183,


Harper Novelist

Like his first novel, Michael Bellito's second book is steeped in childhood memories of his youth in Arlington Heights. And like his first novel, he promises this one will bring back many of your own memories, too. "This book allows readers to travel back to a time when life moved more slowly," says Bellito, a Harper speech instructor. "It's a reminder of youthful innocence, and of that feeling you had the first time you fell in love." His newly published novel, "First Time Around," is a snapshot of a bygone suburban Chicago era. It tells the story of John Belson, a confused and lonely eighth-grader looking for a good buddy and - above all - a girlfriend. Set in the early 1960s, when John F. Kennedy is president and the Beatles are making their American debut, Bellito says the book also serves as a reminder that real-life miracles can happen. Bellito published his first novel, "Ten Again," in 2009; that book, likened to the TV show "The Wonder Years" and the 1980s film "A Christmas Story" - both hits that featured adult men narrating scenes from their own childhood - told of a 10-year-old boy growing up in 1960s suburban Chicago. Bellito, an Arlington Heights native who taught English and speech for more than 30 years at John Hersey High School before coming to Harper, now lives in Wheeling. The book is available at, or via online booksellers and

Media Note: Bellito will read from and sign copies of his book at 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 12 at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, and 7 p.m. February 3 at the Prospect Heights Public Library.

Press Contact: Phil Burdick, Chief Communications Officer, 847.925.6183,


Alternative Energy Classes

When he returned to Harper College this fall, Garrett Brucato already had an Associate in Applied Science degree in Electronics Engineering Technology under his belt and was happily working as an electronics installer. His new goal: an additional certification in alternative energy - a new College offering that he says is a sure way to make himself more marketable in a go-green era. "It's good for companies to see that you've had your hands in this type of technology," says Brucato of Carpentersville, a member of Harper's inaugural solar energy class. "You're going to need technicians to maintain this kind of solar and wind energy equipment. It's a great way to get your feet wet." The College's solar energy course - a first step toward the new Alternative Electrical Energy Certificate - drew 16 students for the fall term. Buoyed by a recently announced $63,000 Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation grant, which helped with the purchase of new lab equipment, Harper will add a wind energy course to the curriculum this spring. The entire Alternative Energy Certificate program, geared to those already in the industrial electronics industry and those just starting out, requires credits in solar and wind energy and a variety of other electronics courses. "There's new work coming in to various industrial electronics areas that specifically is alternative energy-related," says Associate Professor George Hoeltje, who heads the Electronics Engineering Technology Department. "Solar energy, in particular, is a big deal. This new certificate taps into that trend, and helps people learn the skills they need to compete for these jobs." The formation of Harper's new Alternative Electrical Energy certificate comes amid a national push to be more environmentally friendly. An American Solar Energy Society report suggests the number of U.S. jobs in renewable-energy and energy-efficiency industries could grow to as many as 40 million by 2030. For more on the certificate, contact Hoeltje at 847.925.6528 or

Press Contact: Phil Burdick, Chief Communications Officer, 847.925.6183,

Santa Claus for Paws

Last year, Jennifer Pitek's annual effort to help the homeless yielded nearly 700 canned food items - and 180 pet toys, 64 leashes and collars and 111 pounds of dog treats. This year, she's hoping for even grander results for her Harper College-based "Santa Claus for Paws" campaign - an annual drive to benefit the four-legged residents of Illinois animal shelters. With many shelters bustling with pets but also strapped for cash amid the down economy, Pitek, an administrative secretary in Harper's Center for New Students, says this year's donations are important. "In the recession, many shelters are taking in more animals, but donations aren't increasing. They're finding themselves in need of basic supplies, including food," Pitek says. "I want to do all I can to help." Pitek launched the cats-and-dogs-specific drive eight years ago, after watching donations from Harper faculty and staff pile up during routine campus food drives. The drive, which she coordinates with mathematics instructor Jamie Leinss, has seen significant results - with Harper employees, students and area residents donating everything from pet beds to monetary gifts in memory of a beloved dog or cat. Last year's tallies included more than 350 pounds of dry food, nearly 150 blankets and towels, 16 carriers and an assortment of pet clothes and other items. Needed items this year include dry and canned foods; sturdy dog toys; bedding; treats; and collars and leashes. Pet supply gift cards also are welcome. Donated items will be sent to Cinderella's Hope Cat Rescue in the Carpentersville/Dundee area, Crittergal Rescue in downstate Carterville, the downstate Perry County Humane Society, and an assortment of other local and downstate shelters. Donations will be accepted through Thursday, December 23, and again after Harper's campus reopens on Monday, January 3 following winter break. Drop boxes are located at the Center for New Students, Room C104 in Building C; the Building A main entrance; the Career Center, Room A347 in Building A; the Liberal Arts Office on the main floor of Building L; the Building L south entrance; the Math Lab, Room D105 in Building D; the first floor of the Harper Library; the Tutoring Center, Room F315 in Building F; outside the Access and Disabilities Office, Room D119 in Building D; the Math and Science Division Office, Room Y103 in the Avanté Center; and other locations on the main floor of Avanté.

Press Contact: Jennifer Pitek, Administrative Secretary, 847.925.6208,, or Jamie Leinss, Instructor,

Photo Opportunities

Event: Staff members preparing Santa Claus for Paws pet donations for distribution

Date: Call to confirm best dates, times and locations

Press Contact: Phil Burdick, Chief Communications Officer, 847.925.6183,


Event: First day of Spring Semester

Date: Tuesday, January 18

Location: Campus-wide (Call to confirm best times and locations)

Press Contact: Phil Burdick, Chief Communications Officer, 847.925.6183,


Event: "Celebrating Beethoven" Chamber Music Festival

Date: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 22

Location: Performing Arts Center

Press Contact: Phil Burdick, Chief Communications Officer, 847.925.6183,