Even though the U.S. unemployment rate remains high and job concerns are on the minds of many Americans, some sectors, including many green jobs, may have an optimistic future.
A recent study by the Brookings Institute found that the growth of green jobs may have even accelerated during the recent global recession, and industries "ranging from wind and solar energy to smart grid applications and professional energy services — grew twice as fast as the rest of the economy.” However, according to HuffPost blogger Mark Muro, green jobs are still more of an “appropriate ambition than a large source of near-term employment.”
For environmental supporters and proponents of green-collar jobs, some of the expected budget cuts from the recently passed debt limit bill are alarming. The extent of cuts won't be decided until later this year, but the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department may lose funding to a number of their programs, reports The Week. Many worry what will happen to green industries if lawmakers “gut the EPA.” According to Ben Schreiber, a tax analyst with Friends of the Earth, “the clean-energy revolution" will become "a casualty of these cuts.”
Despite this, there are green jobs available and efforts are being taken to connect underprivileged jobseekers with them. California currently leads the nation in green jobs with over 300,000 currently employed in green industries.
There is little question that green jobs do exist, but it is still unclear what actually constitutes a green job. According to TIME, this ambiguity means that “advocates on both sides of the issue can run wild.”
For workers who hold one of America's 2.7 million “clean” jobs, their paychecks may be larger than those in other sectors, a Brookings study recent found. For those looking to become a part of the emerging green economy, check out this list of some green jobs and online resources that could help you find them:
With recent scientific breakthroughs in solar panels and rising public awareness, the solar industry is growing rapidly, according to SustainableBusiness.com. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, solar energy accounted for only one percent of renewable energy consumption in the U.S. in 2010, "despite growing rapidly at an average annual rate of 12 percent."
With a surprising number of jobs focused locally, the growing wind industry offers many opportunities, according to Green Career Guide. The many steps involved in harnessing wind power, from analysis to manufacturing, installation to maintenance, mean that individuals with different backgrounds and skill levels may be able to find jobs. At 11 percent of U.S. renewable energy, wind also comprises a much larger percentage than solar.
With a growth in standards like LEED certification, updating buildings to be more environmentally friendly is a growing trend. There are many ways to retrofit existing buildings, according to Green Career Guides, with a number of specialty positions in various fields. Forbes reports that retrofitting a home can reduce energy consumption by between 20 and 40 percent. According to a 2009 report by the U.S. Green Building Council, which developed the LEED certification, there is a bright future for green construction and retrofitting. In 2009, they projected the creation of over 200,000 jobs and $12.5 billion in GDP from LEED-related construction over the following four years.
Green jobs can also exist in well-established sectors. Public services, such as mass transit, offer opportunities for green jobs. According to a 2011 report by the American Public Transportation Association, over 400,000 Americans are employed in public transportation. American public transportation systems also help to reduce consumption of gasoline by 4.2 billion gallons annually, according to PublicTransportation.org.
Another well-established industry that could have a greener future is the auto industry. Despite heated debates in the auto industry over Obama's plan for increased fuel standards in the coming decades, the administration's plan to have one million plug-in electric vehicles on the road by 2015 could be coming true.
If you are looking for a green job, there are a number of web resources that can help you in your search. Environmental Career Center has an extensive job listing database, along with news and updates on green careers.
Eco.org and Environmental Career Opportunities also have a large number of green job postings, with many posted quite recently.
Green Jobs Network has green job listings searchable by city, state or category and a number of resources for job seekers, including an email list and a blog.
Green Jobs Ready has a database that currently has over 7,000 green jobs listed. The site also has a section on training and certification for green jobs.
Eco Employ has listings for green jobs in both the private and public sectors and offers resume advice for job seekers.
Article courtesy of huffingtonpost.com