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The Promise of green jobs
What titles and cities get the green jobs during a recession?
We found the bright spots.
By Rona FRIED, Ph.D.
rona Fried, Ph.D., is
president of Sustainable
Business.com, the online
community for green
business: daily sustainable business and investor news, Green Dream
Jobs, Business Connections and the sustainable
Contact Fried at rona@
While we’re waiting for the promise of a green jobs (and green industries) revolution to arrive, we’re still embroiled in a sparse job market.
Under the federal stimulus package, the Department
of Energy has announced billions of dollars in grants to
support job-creating research, companies and projects. The
positive impact of all this funding will coalesce in 2010-
2011, when hundreds of projects get off the ground.
In the meantime, where are the green jobs now? To find
out, we did some research on the companies posting jobs
with our Green Dream Jobs service (sustainablebusiness.
com/jobs) over the past year. Because the service has
been online since 1996, we were able to look at the specific
positions they posted, and thus get a sense of the skill sets
employers need right now.
Note that employers across the spectrum of green
industry subsectors post on Green Dream Jobs. These
companies represent the various renewable energies,
Top 20 green job Titles
Consult your financial
advisor before making
Executive Director, Nonprofit
Sustainability Program Director/Manager
Sales/Business Development Associate or Manager
Community Crew Leaders/Supervisors,
Account Executive/Manager, Sales
Professor (various academic fields)
Wind Energy Engineer
Trainer, Training Specialist or Training Coordinator
Green Building Project Manager
Solar Process Engineer/Process Integration Engineer
plus smart-grid development, green building, sustainability consulting, NGOs and government agencies, among
Leading job titles for the past year show the breadth of
green positions across the economy. Most people think
of energy auditing and renewable energy development as
green jobs, but we found hiring activity among a much
wider spectrum of industries. For instance, leading nonprofit organizations are major employers. People are needed to run projects and analyze data. There are new jobs for
folks with experience in sales and business development.
Engineers are in demand for renewable energy operations,
and even in this economy, we’re still seeing many job openings in green building.
The data also point to the variety of skill levels employers seek, from executive skills (for instance, nonprofit executive director) to mid-level skills associated with analysis,
project development and management, to entry-level skills
for positions like administrative assistant.
Happily, the keywords jobseekers use more frequently to
search job openings match many of the available positions:
sustainability, climate change, wind, solar, construction manager, architectural designer and executive director.
For green employment, Washington, D.C., has been
the top city over the past year, reflecting the many government positions resulting from the stimulus bill and the
many green NGOs headquartered there. Other top 10
cities are those with aggressive green business incentives
and policies: the San Francisco area, New York, Seattle,
Boston, Chicago, Portland, Ore., and Burlington, Vt. The
top 20 cities include Houston, Madison, Wis., San Jose,
Calif., Los Angeles, San Diego and Philadelphia.
We’ll soon launch the Green Jobs Educational Directory to help jobseekers locate hundreds of green job training
programs across the United States. In the first few weeks of
2010, the Department of Labor awarded $440 million for
the development of green jobs training programs. Training
is becoming a new industry unto itself — just about every
community college and university is beginning to offer
Our conclusion: Although there have been fewer green
job openings over the past year, there are a wide variety of
employment opportunities in many green sectors and for
people of all skill levels. As the economy recovers and stimulus funding reaches investors and companies, we expect a
surge in openings in the various renewable energies, as we
saw in previous years. ST
24 April 2010 SOLAR TODA Y solartoday.org
Copyright © 2010 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.