Green Career Outreach Coordinator
You don't have to be a "tree hugger" to want a green career, according to Julie Remington, Strategic Outreach Project Coordinator for iSeek Solutions, Minnesota's official resource for employment information. "We're not pushing a value system," she said. "Maybe people want a green career because they're entrepreneurist, or because they want to be involved in things that are new and trendy. They could also want to see the environment preserved."
By definition, a green job has a direct or essential impact on a product, service, or process that results in environmental benefits. The iSeek website www.MnGreenCareers.org provides lots of information and resources for determining what green does and doesn't include and where the opportunities are.
Some of the answers are surprising: A landscaper doesn't necessarily have a "green" job. An HVAC engineer does, because he or she makes heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems as energy-efficient as possible. So does a bus driver, whose job is essential to energy-conserving public transportation. One might expect to see Quality Bicycle Products on the list of Green Employer Spotlights, but also on the list is McGough, a facilities management company that employs practices that reduce buildings' waste output and improve efficiency.
"Get Into Green: Careers, Education and Jobs in Minnesota" is a workshop offered in the Twin Cities Metro Workforce Centers on a rotating basis. The workshop covers definition of green careers. It explores the five green career clusters -- renewable energy generation, building-related energy efficiency, recycling and pollution reduction, green manufacturing and environmental conservation -- and helps attendees determine which clusters are the best fit for their skills and interests. Attendees also learn about the training and job information available through the MnGreenCareers website.
The next green workshop is scheduled for Jan. 31 at 2p.m. at the Ramsey County Workforce Center in St. Paul. To register, go to www.positivelyminnesota.com, click on "Events," then go to the calendar.
What's the overall supply and demand picture for green jobs in Minnesota?
There is definitely more demand for green jobs than supply. According to labor market analysts, 2.4 percent of jobs in Minnesota are "green." Overall the findings of a two-year research study are that employers can find what they need in the existing workforce.
Is there any good news for people who want a green career?
Lots of work is "greening." Occupations are implementing greener kinds of practices. Having some knowledge of green terminology and technology can make you more competitive. For example, if you're in drafting and you have training or experience in sustainable architecture in your background, you have an advantage over someone who doesn't. It's more incumbent on the job candidate to report and promote their background. What we're hearing over and over is that a green career requires a commitment to lifelong learning, keeping up to date on technology and regulations.
How can someone add "green" to a résumé?
There has been some short-term, federally funded training that will be ending in 2012. It's listed on the MNGreenCareers website. Being a green volunteer is also a way to get your foot in the door. You need to be an advocate for yourself. Are there specific skills you want to get from volunteering to apply to your job search, or do you just want to contribute to the world? We also have a listing on the website that features the volunteer opportunities available. There's a lot of great information on the website. I'm passionate about it.