What Green Means for Education and Training
> “The renewable energy market is not going to grow if there’s
not a corresponding, sustainable workforce.”
—Jane Weissmann, Executive Director, Interstate Renewable Energy Council
If, as experts predict, these next few years will be the tipping point for the green economy in the United States, will companies be prepared with enough trained staff to handle the increased work in jobs that focus on sustainability, eco-commerce, green marketing, or any one of the other emerging areas of expertise? Will you have the required proficiency in environmental competency and new technologies that these businesses will require?
Colleges and universities, adult education centers, trade schools, graduate business schools, and many other educational institutions are gearing up to prepare the new green workforce for the tasks ahead. Van Jones of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights recognizes that we’re going to need hundreds of thousands of new workers, not just to install solar panels but to build wind farms, retrofit old buildings to be more environmentally friendly, and do the hundreds of other jobs that will be vital to the industry. Without relevant training and certification programs, the green boom stalls before it even gets up and running.
Many green versions of traditional trade jobs, like carpenters, welders, electricians, and plumbers, require the same or similar skills as those for non-green employment. But some green jobs will require special training or certification.
In the construction industry, for example, everything from site location to building design requires at least a fresh way of looking at these basic roles, and perhaps additional skills and training. Knowledge of recycled, recyclable, and sustainably produced