Green Labor Shortage Creates Additional Green Careers

Rooftop Solar InstallationSeveral organizations, including the California Public Utilities Commission, California Clean Energy Fund and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, came together earlier this week to sponsor a one-day summit Advancing the New Energy Economy in San Francisco.

As a collective, the attendees discussed ways to “advance long-term investment, job creation, and financial growth within the green technology industry with a focus on engaging low-income communities.”

One of the critical issues to come out of the summit is the shortage of green laborers who have the skills to retrofit buildings, build new green construction, install solar panels and build wind farms.

This news has a number of implications for green careers of all kinds.

  • If you are a builder or want to learn, now is the time to get the training you need to be a competent installer.
  • Schools with specific education programs will pay a critical role in solving this labor shortage. If you have experience in green building or renewable energy installation and you enjoy teaching, your employment potential just went up. A number of community colleges are launching certification programs now!
  • If you’ve worked in school admissions and want to contribute to the green economy, position yourself to help attract and select people for these education programs.
  • When these students graduate, green companies are likely to scramble to hire as many of the top students as possible. If you have a background in recruitment or human resources, you could have your hands full as these companies staff up.
  • Although the focus is on green collar employees, as companies gear up, they are also going to need managers and team leads to manage the crews as they get to work.
  • Another key component of this puzzle is having a sufficient number of marketing and sales people to line up the projects for the builders and installers.

This scenario is likely to unfold, time after time, as other green industries experience the growing pains associated with becoming a “hot” industry.

Although it’s hard to predict the next wave of growth, there will be one. Stay tuned to news in the industries that interest you.

  1. Amy White

    I have worked as a taper and electician and I am haveing a hard time finding a way to advance into green building. How can I go about this in montana. How can I further my education to be able to use my skills to “go green.” Any advice?

  2. Carol McClelland

    Hi Amy,

    Different communities are going green at different rates. Sometimes you need to do a little digging to find opportunities.

    I’d start with your local builders association. Do they have any green initiatives going on? Are they open to it? Could you be instrumental in starting something?

    Look online for green courses. I’ve heard solar people in my area talk about an online course to learn the electronics of solar installations. You might want to do a web search to see what you can find.

    You might also want to contact Build It Green. They are a California based organization, but they may be able to put you in contact with a similar organization that’s in your area. http://www.builditgreen.org/

    Good luck!

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