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Tips and Resources for Switching to a Green Collar Career

What are green careers? The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Network defines green careers as any occupation that deals with activities such as conserving energy, developing alternative energy, reducing pollution, or recycling. Another definition is any job that contributes to preserving or enhancing environmental quality.

Dion Lim, president and CEO of Simply Hired, said, "As the green collar industry grows, people should realize that they do not have to have 'specialized,' green skills to gain employment." He went on to say, "In many ways, green collar jobs will be about repurposing people with good skills onto projects that are green-oriented, for example, roof installers may become solar installers, electricians may become building retrofitters, etc."

Online Resources

Green for All offers resources for green-collar job postings and training sessions. The website provides information about a number of useful training resources, including:

  • One-Stop Career Centers
  • Community Colleges
  • Certified Job Training Programs
  • Apprenticeships
  • Labor Union Apprenticeships
  • Pre-Apprenticeship Programs
  • Training for Youth
  • Sector Specific Training and Certifications

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council provides training resources listed by state. Search by the green job sectors you're interested in.

The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) has an excellent list of websites with renewable energy job boards.

Greenjobsearch.org is a service of the Green Jobs Network. Browse job listings in its large collection of green job categories. You can also browse job listings by city or state.

Workshops for Green Jobs

Here is a list of some of the organizations that provide workshops for green jobs: The American Solar Energy Society, Solar Energy International, Midwest Renewable Energy Association, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the Solar Living Institute.

Green MBA Programs

Green MBA programs are offered by many colleges and universities and classes can be taken either on-campus or online. Typically, the curricula cover topics such as marketing green products, waste management, environmental regulations, and the effect of environmental action on profit. There are, however, differing opinions about the quality and value of these programs. Mark Milstein, business director at the World Resources Institute in Washington, said, "Green MBA programs are providing fundamentals, but may not be as deep as your traditional MBA." On the other hand, Matt Cheney, chief executive for Renewables Ventures, thinks Green MBA programs service a growing demand. According to him, "More and more students are interested in socially responsible business. They want to make a difference and there is a confidence that business can produce results quickly and significantly".

Learn from Nonprofits

There are numerous nonprofits involved in strengthening the green economy. Some of these organizations have job boards, newsletters, membership lists, local chapters, and contact names of industry leaders. Here's a collection of organizations whose websites can aid you in your job hunt:

Volunteer

If you are looking for a green career, consider also volunteering for an environmental organization. You'll add new contacts to your professional network and it indicates to prospective employers that you're interested in helping the environment.

If you're seeking a green collar job, there are plenty of helpful resources available to guide you through the process!

Brian Jenkins has been writing about green careers, among other career and education topics, for BrainTrack.com since 2008.


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