Green Jobs Showing Great Promise

BY: ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 08, 2011

Green jobs are on the rise, due to several factors, which are re-shaping the way we work and live in America. Government backed support for promoting cleaner sources of energy, coupled with Americans’ demand for more earth-conscious lifestyles has major industries scrambling to keep up. The recent economic challenges our great nation has experienced have directly influenced organizations to realize the importance of working responsibly towards a better future for all generations.

What are Green Jobs?

You may have heard the term “green-collar” jobs or green technology careers used interchangeably in the last few years, but what do they actually mean? The green process survey, which is currently underway by the US Department of Labor and Statistics, defines green jobs as two-halves of the same concept. (1) “Jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources. (2) Jobs in which workers' duties involve making their establishment's production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources.” This means, not only are the jobs focused on conserving our precious natural resources, but also on creating more efficient methods of work that reduce overall waste.

For many workers, green jobs simply mean working with companies that allow telecommuting or flexible scheduling, which has many work-life advantages as well as benefits to the environment. In a recent talk with Sara Sutton Fell, the CEO of FlexJobs, a leading career website, she stated that, “Every company should see green jobs and environmental sustainability as a selling point for their business. Consumers more and more are looking for companies who ‘do the right thing’ for their communities and their world.” Additionally, Sara has seen a trend in the green jobs market, with an increased, “awareness and growth in alternative fuels, green building, and many other ‘green’ industries responsiveness”. It is clear that there is a marked increase in both the public and private sectors in terms of creating workplaces that are more environmentally conscious.

Green Jobs are Growing in the USA

The rise in green jobs can be directly attributed to our government’s drive to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, and improve efficiency across all industries. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act set aside over $70 billion in funding for research, tax credits and business loans directly geared towards the nation’s green energy efforts. Additionally, $500 million was earmarked for educational initiatives to prepare the next generation for a whole new range of green technology jobs.

So far, the largest growth in green jobs has taken place in the construction, business and professional services sectors; accounting for about 74% of all industries engaged in green technology. However, these numbers are rising in other industries as well, with an estimated 2.1 million companies actively engaged in green jobs in just the last two years.

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In the construction and manufacturing industries, particularly hit hard by the recession, there are success stories as a result of the push for green jobs. Amee Quiriconi, the inventor of Squak Mountain Stone and the founder of Tiger Mountain Innovations in Seattle, Washington, started realizing early on the importance of green products to sustain not only careers, but also the industry as a whole. Inspired by her master’s thesis in 2003, Amee “created a countertop product that strengthens the local economy, provides a social benefit to communities and is eco-friendly.” Today, Tiger Mountain Innovations is one of the top "green" countertop manufacturers in the country and her flagship product “can be found in showrooms and installations around the United States and Canada.” Tiger Mountain Innovations is one of many emerging companies who have seen the “bigger picture” and are taking steps to create sustainability for a better national economy.

The benefits of green jobs are many, including the ability to make a difference in the state of the world economy. It is not surprising that more job seekers are looking for a way to reduce their overall impact on the environment, while creating sustainable careers and lifestyles. At the same time, businesses and organizations of all sizes are working towards a better future for all of America. Look for a sharp rise in green jobs over the next decade and even greater innovations that will revitalize the nation as we know it.

About the Author

Tess Taylor

Tess C. Taylor is a Web Copy Writer and Business Consultant from Charleston, South Carolina. In addition to being a 15 year veteran in Human Resources, Tess has had over 2,000 articles published on various small business, online marketing, green lifestyle, entrepreneurial and career topics around the globe.

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