Monday, June 29, 2009

Green Jobs: Position Yourself!

Much of the news and information about green jobs (still) seems like hype: Lots of cheerleading, but few actual green ‘shovel-ready’ work opportunities. As one who has been following this thread myself for some time, it does seem like a highly inflated exuberance over an employment market that has yet to be. But, I believe ‘seems’ is the operative word here.

Despite more talk and less jobs, there is hard evidence that green jobs are the real deal. Witness the passage of the climate bill just passed in the house and Obama’s Stimulus package promising new jobs. Things are radically changing, but how will new attitudes towards climate change and green technology translate into actual jobs in our area?

Presently, you search for green jobs on all your favorite search engines and you come up with: cardiology, electrophysiology, oncology/hematology, systems key operator, Sr., pathologist, podiatrist, electrical test technician ITT, spot welder, registered nurse/RN, speech-language pathologist—you get the picture. These jobs are great if you have the credentials, but what’s especially ‘green’ about them? People looking for green jobs now need to get the proper training to get the credentials for actual jobs that exist today.

At a green job forum last Thursday, sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County many were hoping to learn just that—where do I go, what do I do? I’ve listed and organized much of that material on this page: Green Business. [http://www.rochesterenvironment.com/Green%20Business.htm] It is worth your time to learn about this emerging market, and while I may not be able to point you that perfect job tomorrow, I’ve got some ideas on how you can position yourself for the green-job tidal wave. There’s no lack of energy in industry, government, and non-profits as they ramp up getting the public ready for these new jobs.

Quickly, here’s what you do: 1. Get educated and trained. We are lucky to live in a community with many institutions for higher education and an official green attitude. Our community colleges are able to find out what local industry needs and ramp up training for those green jobs. Not to mention we have some of the best universities in the country offering degrees in environmental studies, while researching cutting-edge environmental technology and medicine.

2. Stay informed on green jobs and act: Some local and national web sites are devoting special attention to the latest companies providing green jobs and what industries are best positioning themselves to compete in this new economy. When bills come up that favor green jobs, contact your representatives. Also, align yourself with groups petitioning the government for more green jobs, like The Center for Working Families and Green For All Next, press your government for more green jobs now by letting them know it matters to you. Check this site often: Recovery and Reinvestment Act

3. Frequent specific green job search engines and post your resumes: Without a doubt, online search engines are where you go to find employment—newspaper classifieds are history. Yes, sites especially focused on the green market are rampant. However, most have yet to be really useful and won’t be until they stop the misleading ads, drill down to actual green jobs, and not simply list blue-collar jobs painted green. Admitted much of the green job future will be engineers, installers, designers, etc. but to be accurately labeled ‘green’ they will need to be retrofitted to increase energy efficiency and decease pollution and stop waste. So, until this green search market gets more sophisticated you’ll see the jobs without the training. But eventually, by reputation the sites that actually get people jobs will prevail. (Google took over the search engine market because it took you where you wanted to go, not where those who paid the most to search engines wanted you to go.)

4. Volunteer and branch out: To best position yourself in fields (web designers, grant writers, project managers, environmental educators, etc.) that have the most promise in the new economic world, get yourself volunteered. With the Recession plunging our present job market into a freefall, many green oriented businesses or non-profits need help: interns, volunteers, grant writers, clerks, drivers, you-name-it.

Don’t focus on one employment thread and don’t waste this crisis. Don’t give up. Position yourself for the change that has to come. Don’t just wait for something to happen, make it happen. OK, so this cheerleading thing is hard to control, and many anxious to see this new market happen now engage in it. But really, green jobs are coming. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t be adapting to change. Get ready.

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