The Future is Green: What Are Green Jobs? Why Are They Important?


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This was presented at the 2009 Education and Business Summit in Greenville, SC in June 2009. It shares information about interest in green jobs, why they are important now, what green jobs are, educational opportunites in the green jobs, teacher tools, and the future of green jobs.

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The Future is Green: What Are Green Jobs? Why Are They Important?

  1. 1. "It's Not Easy Bein' Green" It's not that easy bein' green;  Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.  When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold-  or something much more colorful like that. It's not easy bein' green.  It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things.  And people tend to pass you over 'cause you're not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water- or stars in the sky.  But green's the color of Spring. And green can be cool and friendly-like.  And green can be big like an ocean, or important like a mountain, or tall like a tree.   When green is all there is to be  It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why? Wonder,  I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful!  And I think it's what I want to be.
  2. 2. The Future is Green! What are green jobs? Why are they important? Lorraine Faulds Training & Development Director I SC Employment Security Commission
  3. 3. Why the interest in green jobs? $$$$
  4. 4. Green Jobs Act of 2007: $125 million a year for national and state training programs—never funded
  5. 5. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 $50 BILLION Broken down into two areas: Energy Efficiency (EE) and Renewable Energy (RE)
  6. 6. Goals of the ARRA:  Double the capacity of alternative energy over the next 3 years  Weatherize 1 million homes  Retrofit 75% of federal buildings  Build 3,000 miles of transmission lines
  7. 7. EE gets $36.5 Billion, RE gets $8 Billion  $5 Billion to weatherize homes of one million low-income families  $6.3 Billion for energy-related grants to the states  $4.5 Billion to retrofit federal buildings  $11 Billion to modernize the nation’s electrical grid
  8. 8. In SC…  Total of $160 million  $9 million for training  $41 million for local governments for energy conservation projects  $6 million for rebates on energy-efficient appliances  $58 million weatherization  $50 million to make government buildings (state offices, schools, colleges) more energy efficient
  9. 9. Green Jobs Estimate= 460,000 jobs (nationally)  Need to offset loses, especially in construction and manufacturing  One job lost means up to 20 jobs lost in indirect effects (Economic Modeling Specialists)  During good times, these displaced workers would transition to a similar job in the same industry. But in times like these (where there are no other similar opportunities), retraining is the only option.
  10. 10. What is a green job?
  11. 11. MANY definitions  A blue-collar job, upgraded to better respect the environment (Van Jones, founder of Green For All)  “Greener” versions of existing occupations  A traditional job with a layer of green  Jobs that involve protecting wildlife or ecosystems, reducing pollution or waste, or reducing energy usage and lowering carbon emissions.
  12. 12. SC is working toward developing a definition SC Employment Security Commission SC Department of Commerce South Carolina Energy Office SC Technical College System
  13. 13. The basis for the definition is… Any activity or service that performs at least one of the following:  Generating renewable energy  Recycling existing materials  Energy efficient product manufacturing, construction, installation, and maintenance  Education, compliance, conservation, and awareness  Natural and sustainable product manufacturing
  14. 14. Did you notice?  G enerating renewable energy  R ecycling existing materials  E nergy efficient product manufacturing, construction, installation, and maintenance  E ducation, compliance, conservation, and awareness  N atural and sustainable product manufacturing
  15. 15. It can get confusing… See the glossary handout for help with unfamiliar terms.
  16. 16. Two General Areas : Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
  17. 17. Energy Efficiency : It’s not just about putting on a sweater and turning off the lights!  Green new construction  Building Retrofitting/Weatherization  Mass Transit  Smart Grid
  18. 18. Renewable Energy : Lots of up-front investment (i.e. manufacturing); we currently get only 2.4% of our energy from renewable resources; President Obama wants it up to 25%  Wind  Solar  Geothermal  Hydropower  Nuclear  Hydrogen  Clean/low emission coal  Natural gas  Biofuels (also called biomass)
  19. 21. A Word about Nuclear Energy… In some places, nuclear energy is not considered a clean, renewable energy source because it creates hazardous waste and uses a non-renewable resource (uranium). It is in SC! It produces 51.2% of the state’s electricity.
  20. 22. Occupations  “Work in progress” list done by the Department of Commerce  Based on other state definitions and lists  137 occupations in 16 industries See handout!
  21. 23. Industries Initially… Construction, Installation, Maintenance (based on funding)
  22. 24. Top 4 industries with the most occupations on the list are…  Life, Physical, and Social Sciences (23 occupations)  Construction and Extraction (20)  Architecture and Engineering (19)  Production (i.e. manufacturing) (19)
  23. 25. Later on… Engineering, Production, Sciences (i.e. chemists)
  24. 26. Employment in Green Jobs Occupations with the most employment in 2008:  Team Assemblers = 36,580  Laborers & Freight , Stock and Material Movers = 34,700  Customer Service Representatives = 30,150  Maintenance & Repair Workers = 26,390  Truck Drivers, Heavy & Tractor Trailer = 23,160
  25. 27. Employment in Green Jobs Occupations with the least employment in 2008: Miscellaneous Agricultural Workers (40) Power Distributors and Dispatchers (40) Soil and Plant Scientists (40)
  26. 28. Wages for Green Jobs Average hourly wages in 2008 for green jobs in South Carolina ranged from $45.25 for Nuclear Engineers to $8.00 for Agricultural Product Graders and Sorters.
  27. 29. Wages for Green Jobs Top 5 Green Jobs by 2008 Average Hourly Wage:  Air Traffic Controller = $51.97*  Nuclear Engineer = $45.25  Computer & Information Scientists = $44.08  Sales Engineers = $41.05  Chemical Engineers = $40.33  Electrical Engineers = $38.86
  28. 30. Career Clusters  Manufacturing (29 occs)  Architecture and Construction (28)  Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (24) See handout!
  29. 31. Skills Needed Ten Competencies Needed to Be Successful in Environmental Work 1. Communication skills 2. Collaboration, bridge-building abilities 3. “Customer” orientation 4. Creativity/innovative thinking 5. Broad environmental sciences understanding 6. Analytical ability, critical thinking, problem-solving 7. Work orientation, professionalism, positive attitude 8. Occupation-specific skills and knowledge 9. Mastery of information technology 10. Leadership ability From Remake a Living: Defining the Environmental Workforce by Kevin Doyle
  30. 32. National Credentials The Association of Energy Engineers : facilities managers, HVAC installers, geothermal certifications The North American Board of Energy Practitioners: photovoltaic (solar) installers and photovoltaic technicians The Building Performance Institute : building analysts, HVAC; required for Energy Star contractors Solar Energy International : Renewable energy certifications The Green Building Certification Institute : Runs the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) Accredited Professionals Program for green management and facilities management fields
  31. 33. Education Levels Back to the list…  OJT: 72 occupations (15 short, 33 moderate, 24 long-term)  Bachelor’s Degree: 32  Associate’s Degree: 12
  32. 34. Training in High School “We’re not going to be able to build anything and do any green retrofits until we have the workforce to do that. If we wait until they are out of high school to start training them, we’re going to lose a lot of people.” Jay Hansen, Legislative and Political Director for California’s State Building and Construction Trades Council
  33. 35. Green High Schools South Tahoe High School’s Green Academy (CA): Expose students to green construction, auto mechanics, and technology Aiken University High School (OH): Environmental sciences program including ECO-nomics (looks at economics and how the market place can effect the environment); college credit offered Environmental Charter High School (CA): Green Action Curriculum, Green Ambassador program, Senior Seminar environmental project, Earth Day Educational Festival Conferences: Green Building Expo (MA), Agricultural Ecology (IL), Energy Career Day (CO)
  34. 36. Current programs can have a “green” element added:  Construction trades: Electrician, Plumber, HVAC  Culinary trades: Organic farming, composting  Automotive: Hybrid and electric powered-vehicles
  35. 37. Examples of Tech School Programs Biotechnology at Greenville Tech Advanced Agriculture Certificate (includes sustainable agriculture) at Piedmont Tech Environmental Engineering Technology at Central Carolina Tech Continuing Education : Trident Tech: Home Energy Rating Field Inspector Greenville Tech: Fundamentals of Solar Hot Water Heating, Photovoltaic System Design, Weatherization Energy Auditor, Green Building Midlands Tech: Alternative Energy Operations, Energy-Efficient Design for Architects, Green Building for Contractors, Photovoltaic System Design and Installation
  36. 38. Teacher Tools Green-Collar Jobs Campaign Teaching Tools : For HS, 5-part series exploring the green economy, eco-equality, model cities, and restorative justice. (Go to Rainforest Action Network : For MS and HS, 5-parts including Green My School, Green My Ride, Soy What?, No New Coal, Old Growth Forests; also Global Warming (used with Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth movie), Reclaim the Future (Go to
  37. 39. Teacher Tools (con’t.) Going To Green Environmental Education Curriculum (based on the PBS Series Edens Lost and Found ): For HS, video and text series on sustainability, community and environmental awareness (20 different topics), Sample unit at Green Teacher magazine and Teaching Green book serie s: Go to SC Energy Office : Energy 2 Learn lesson plans, Energy Fact Sheets, link to US Department of Energy’s Kids Page (Go to
  38. 40. The Future  Biotechnology  Nanotechnology  Entrepreneurship: Recessions are a sort of “cold shower” that wakes you up to the fact that things need to change. “Well, I have nothing to lose now. I can do what I’ve always wanted to do.”
  39. 41. The Crystal Ball The US Conference of Mayors said an economy that shifts to generating 40 percent of its electricity from wind, solar, biomass, and other fuels will generate 4.2 million green jobs by 2038 . The Apollo Alliance coalition of environmentalists and business leaders says a $500 billion investment over the next 10 years will create 5 million green-collar jobs . According to a study from the Blue-Green Alliance and the Renewable Energy Policy Project, requiring that 20% of our electricity come from renewable sources by 2020 would create 820,000 jobs across the country.
  40. 42. Lorraine Faulds Training & Development Director I SC Employment Security Commission [email_address] 803-737-2714 Thanks for your interest in green jobs!