Green Jobs on the Rise
Throughout the economic recession unemployment rates have steadily increased and several companies are on the downward slope of completely disappearing from the market. Throughout bank failures, decreasing stock values, and drops in sales the green job sector has considerably increased, suggesting the industry’s sustainability. Pre-recession statistics conclude that the green job market was growing at a faster pace than traditional job markets.
The demand for renewable energy, green products, and eco-friendly techniques are no longer coming from stereotypical “greenies” but from major players in several industries. The Obama administration has also set sustainable goals such as to “create 5 million green jobs within a decade” and predicting the “green economy” could lend to a 10% growth over the next 30 years. (LA times) In addition, the Labor Department released $5.5 million in grants for green job training this week through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The potential increase in available jobs would come at the most crucial time in recent U.S. history battling a national unemployment rate of 9.5%. The benefits of creating and developing a green job sector is that ‘green’ covers a very broad range of professions such as autoworkers building hybrid cars; solar panel installers; building consultants; home energy auditors; wind turbine engineers; and green retailers .
The green job industry is still relatively new, and its greatest obstacle is educating the public in what a green job is and where to find them. The grander sector of society is still unaware of the potential opportunities in green jobs, and businesses are now beginning to see the benefits of a triple bottom line. Other issues involved with building a strong green job sector are locating available training programs or workshops. There are companies who will train new hires, and non-profits such as Solar Energy International’s campus in Colorado that offer online courses and seminars. Additionally, the USGBC has their LEED AP series of courses and certifications. In October, the Green California Community College Summit hosted a three day forum for showcasing best practices and the diverse resources available to grow, or begin, green programs. With the growth in value the green building industry, according to McGraw Hill Construction’s Green Outlook 2009, is projected to triple by 2013. This clearly reveals that green building is now a national and global movement , which will provide additional jobs in the years to come.
As Lester Brown states in his book Eco-Economy, “the greatest investment we can make is in a sustainable economy [and thus in a green job market]”