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A Green Job May Be in Your Future

Dr. Greg Ketchum, KRON, 10/15/07

One of the hottest trends in the workplace is “green jobs,” or jobs in the growing alternative energy sector, the so-called “green economy.” With growing concern about global warming, oil at near all time highs, and continued off-shoring  of jobs, more and more workers are looking at jobs in the green sector.

How big is this trend in green jobs? What kind of growth are we talking about?

Exact figures are hard to come by, but most analysts agree this is becoming one of the fastest growing job sectors. Here are a few estimates:

  1. Flow of Venture Capital:  Based on the flow of venture capital into the green sector it’s estimated that 50,000 new clean-tech jobs will be created by 2010.
  1. Greenjobs.com: Peter Beadle, president of Greenjobs.com, “cites estimates that the solar sector alone could employ 2 million people by 2020...” Newsweek, October 6, 2007.

Where are these jobs being created? Are they all concentrated in one area of the country?

Unlike the dot.com boom where most of the jobs were centered in Silicon Valley, the boom in green jobs is spread across the country. For example...

Toledo, Ohio: This isn’t a city that one would normally think of as a hotbed of innovation, but Toledo, OH. is rapidly gaining a national reputations as a center of development of solar panels. Toledo is one of those old rust belt manufacturing centers with auto factories and auto suppliers at the core of the old economy.  Who knew?

Toledo? Why Toledo as a hot spot for solar panels?

Good question.

  1. Glass: When I was a kid I would often play in the family car and I remember many times seeing that little logo on the windshield that said, “Toledo Glass.” Toledo has been strong historically in manufacturing windshield glass for cars and a big component of solar technology is glass.  For example, I was on the web yesterday looking at the web site of a Toledo company called First Solar and they have 90 open positions listed.

How can our viewers, particularly our college age viewers, take advantage of this trend in green jobs?

  1. Education: We’re starting to see college programs aimed at the green economy. Duquesne (doo-kane) University in Pittsburgh recently enrolled the first students in their “Sustainable Enterprise” MBA program. Look for those programs. Also, take another look at fields like physics and chemistry as they are at the heart of the research into green technologies.
  1. Look for Jobs in the Green Sector: A good place to start is at Greenjobs.com or Sustainablebusiness.com. Just google “green jobs.” Look for jobs in sustainable or alternative energy like solar or renewable fuels or any industry that supports them like glass and metal manufacturing.

Finally, if the movie The Graduate was remade today the one word of advice might be glass instead of plastics.

®2007 All rights reserved. Gregory A. Ketchum, Ph.D.

Career Advice

Dr. Greg is the “KRON 4 (San Francisco) Workplace and Career Expert”

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