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8 December 2009

Green Collar Jobs-1

What Is a Green-Collar Job, Exactly?

By Bryan Walsh

What do presidential candidates John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have in common — aside from the obvious? They all love green-collar jobs. Obama promises to spend $150 billion over 10 years to create 5 million new green-collar jobs. Clinton references the term repeatedly on the trail, and says her energy plan will create millions of new green-collar jobs as well. McCain is less willing to cite numbers, but he too assures campaign audiences that action to de-carbonize America's economy will produce "thousands, millions of new jobs in America."

All of which sounds great — we clean up the environment, control global warming and create an entirely new sector of employment while we're at it. Academics have released lots of studies trumpeting the potential for green jobs — one report by the RAND Corporation and University of Tennessee found that if 25% of all American energy were produced from renewable sources by 2025, we would generate at least 5 million new green jobs. But there are just a few questions: what is green-collar? What makes it different from blue- or white-collar? And where will those jobs come from?

Phil Angelides has the answers — or at least one of them. A venture capitalist and the 2006 Democratic candidate for governor of California (he lost to the political world's best-known Austrian-American), Angelides is the chair of the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of business, labor and environmental groups championing green employment. Here's how he defines a green job: "It has to pay decent wages and benefits that can support a family. It has to be part of a real career path, with upward mobility. And it needs to reduce waste and pollution and benefit the environment." (Hear Angelides discuss the green-collar revolution on this week's Greencast.)

Sounds simple enough. And there are some jobs that fall obviously into the green-collar category, like the hundreds of employees who now work for the Spanish wind company Gamesa at its new plant in Fairless Hills, Pa. — a plant built on the site of an old U.S. Steel manufacturing facility. If you make wind turbines or solar panels, your job is reliably green. But Angelides and his allies want to cast a wider net. To them, a green-collar job can be anything that helps put America on the path to a cleaner, more energy efficient future. That means jobs in the public transit sector, jobs in green building, jobs in energy efficiency — even traditional, blue-collar manufacturing jobs, provided what you're making is more or less green. (Building an SUV? Blue-collar. Building a hybrid? Green-collar.) The category can get a little messy. "You don't want to green-wash," says Angelides. "You don't want to call something a green-collar job that doesn't have the wages or background to support it."

But there can be a strong temptation towards what might be called green-collar inflation, because the idea that environmentalism can actually add jobs is key to the new arguments for global warming action. On the surface, cap and trade and other anti–climate change policies look like short-term economic losers that will raise the cost of energy and lead to job loss. Certainly that's the argument of many conservatives — a study by the National Association of Manufacturers estimated that one of the main carbon cap-and-trade proposals before Congress would cost the U.S. economy up to 4 million jobs by 2030.

But environmental groups like the Apollo Alliance flip that criticism around, arguing that the hard work of de-carbonizing the American economy will actually create millions of new jobs. Someone, after all, will need to produce alternative power, increase energy efficiency and overhaul wasteful buildings. Angelides notes that between now and 2030, 75% of the buildings in the U.S. will either be new or substantially rehabilitated. Our inefficient, dangerously unstable electrical grid will need to be overhauled. The jobs that will go into that kind of work can be green-collar — provided that the government adopts the kind of policies that incentivize environmentally friendly choices. "Green jobs won't be sprouting up only in new technology fields" like solar energy, says Angelides, whose group is calling for a $300 billion investment in green jobs over the next 10 years. "We'll be creating jobs in the industrial sector."

In other words, blue-collar can become green. It's no surprise that one of the biggest supporters of the Apollo Alliance is the United Steelworkers Alliance — labor leaders see green jobs as a way to fight outsourcing and keep manufacturing alive in America. And there is a strong political component to green-collar jobs, which is why presidential candidates love talking about them so much. Environmentalism has usually been the reserve of the elite — but we'll never have the power to tackle global warming unless we create a coalition that extends well beyond traditional white-collar greens. Touting green-collar jobs can convince skeptical, blue-collar Americans that they have an economic stake in curbing climate change. It's far from certain that green-collar jobs will ever reach the critical mass that supporters like Angelides hope, but any idea that can bring Obama, McCain and Clinton together can't be all bad — and it may help bring the rest of us together too.

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

Green Collar Jobs-2

The Hidden Green Job Market

Green jobs can be found in a number of areas in addition to online job boards.  In some instances employers may not publicize a job opportunity via a traditional online job board for reasons such as time (for example, the company may not be able to invest the internal human resources needed to review a large number of applicants that could arise with a broad-based posting) or capacity (for example, a young company may not have a complete human resources department). Some of the other sources and strategies to locate green jobs include:

1.) Go Direct

Some companies may publish job listings on their website, but not necessarily conduct additional external recruitment for candidates.  To access these opportunities job seekers should identify companies they would be interested in working for and review the Jobs or Careers section of their website for potential jobs. Strategies to identify companies include:

2.) Networking

Networking can enable job seekers to learn about job opportunities.  There are a vast number of approaches and strategies for networking, including attending events by organizations such as EcoTuesday and GreenDrinks, participating in the local chapter of a national organization such as the American Solar Energy Society, or attending programs or conferences such as the Green Festival.  There are also internet-based approaches to networking (see point #3). Due to the importance of networking to a successful job search it will be the focus of a future article on Green Collar Blog.

3.) Online Social Media

There are an increasing number of job opportunities posted via online social media channels.  For example, all groups on the professional networking site LinkedIn include a "Jobs" tab where job opportunities can be posted.  Company representatives (including hiring managers) may use social media to conduct their own outreach for potential candidates.  For example, the Green Jobs and Career Network group on LinkedIn currently contains more than 50 job postings in various locations.

4.) E-mail Lists

There are a number of specialized e-mail lists that distribute job postings.  A number of these list are free for job seekers to join, including EnviJobs, Green Job List, and YNPN.

5.) Recruiters

As with job boards, there are an increasing number of recruiters that focus on careers pertaining to sustainability.  A number of these organizations will post positions for which they are currently seeking candidates (two examples are Commongood Careers and Bright Green Talent).  A list of some green recruiters is available on Green Collar Blog.

6.) Membership Organizations

Industry associations and other membership-based organizations can offer job postings among their member services.  For example, Net Impact, a national organization that focuses on harnessing the power of business for social good, has an extensive set of career services (including a job board and resume tips) as well as an annual career expo.

7.) Academic Institutions

Academic institutions offer a range of job-related resources for their students and graduates.  These include access to job listings and job fairs.  For example, Stanford University will be holding an Energy & Environmental Career Fair in October and this page on Green Collar Blog lists recent green career fairs held by institutions including the University of Illinois and University of Minnesota.  Academic institutions can also be a source of networking opportunities.

In addition to finding current job opportunities, there are some approaches for identifying future green jobs.  This will be the focus of part three of this series.

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

Green Collar Jobs-3

Future Green Jobs

1.) Follow the Money

One method to identify potential future green jobs is to identify where investments are being made today.  This can be a productive strategy as these investments may lead to the development of new enterprises that have jobs. Specific approaches include:

  • Identifying private sector investment.  Venture capital firms, private equity firms, and corporations are all making significant investments in existing or new enterprises in the green sector.  The recipients of these investment may be sources of future (or even current) job opportunities.  Sources to learn about these investments include The Cleantech Group, Earth2Tech, GreenBeat, Greentech Media, and Green VC.
  • Identify public sector investment.  As with the private sector, the public sector is investing in the green sector and the recipients of these investment may also be sources of current or future job opportunities.  Sources to learn about these investments include the ones mentioned above as well as directly reviewing government websites such as the U.S. Department of Energy.

2.) Follow the Law

A second method to identify potential future green jobs is to identify federal, state, or local legislative, judicial, or regulatory changes that impact the green economic sector.  Government action can include providing funds for new initiatives (such as the approximately $8 billion in expanded funding for weatherization in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) that can lead to new employment opportunities or rules that may lead to new business opportunities.  Sources for identifying these legal developments include those mentioned above as well as organizations such as the Apollo Alliance and Green For All.

3.) Follow the Startups

New enterprises can be a source for potential future job opportunities.  Some strategies for identifying these are:

  • Green and Social Venture Business Plan Competitions.  These programs are organized by business schools and other organizations and are generally geared to ventures that are at an early stage in their development. These include programs such as the Clean Tech Open and the Global Social Venture Competition.  Job seekers can review the list of entrants and winners of these competitions as potential future sources of jobs.  In addition, job seekers may consider entering a competition or joining the team of an entrant (some of these competitions offer mixers to facilitate team recruitment).  A list of some of these competitions is available on Green VC.
  • Green and Social Entreprenuership Awards and Fellowships.  These program vary and include cash prizes for one-time contests, seed funding for new ventures, and later-stage funding for existing organizations.  These include programs such as Echoing Green and the Skoll Award for Social Entreprenuership.  As with business plan competitions, job seekers can review the list of winners of these programs as potential future sources of jobs.  A list of some of these programs is available on Green VC.

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

Resume Right?

By Kathy Sweeney, NCRW, CPRW, CEIC, CCM - The Write Resume
November 18, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Nick, you know I love you, but I am going to disagree with you! :-)

A specific manager needs to determine whether the person has the skill set to perform the job, and the accomplishments to back it up, as well.

The “what you are going to do for him / her” can be written in different areas of the resume.

A candidate could have a separate “selected achievements” or “core expertise” section which include quantifiable results near the top, achievements under each position, or expertise combined with quantifiable achievements in the profile.

Each candidate is different and there should never be a broad-brush approach to writing resumes.

A great resume will be a fantastic representative of both skills that a client possesses and the results of those daily duties.

Employers want to know either one or both of these things – can you make them or save them money. Everything drills down to the bottom line.

If a candidate were approaching a specific manager and wanted to highlight certain areas of expertise, then I would recommend a leadership addenda, in addition to the resume. This document would focus, in greater detail, on key projects or programs that directly relate to the specific company needs.

I would also recommend a highly targeted cover letter to sell the employer on the contributions a job seeker can make to that specific company.

Or, in Karsten’s case, he could identify the company’s issue through research, and formulate a list of areas where he can contribute and results of previous projects related to the information he uncovers through his due diligence. This way, he is fully prepared to make phone calls and not forget or stumble over his talking points.

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

Questions/Responses

Discussion: December 8, 2009 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter

The Q&A column in this week’s newsletter asks whether employers are too hell-bent on hiring only “the perfect candidate,” when ability and talent might be the more efficient path to getting a job done. How long will a manager wait until perfection arrives?

Do employers really want only someone who has already done the exact job? Am I nuts, or is there something wrong here? Do credentials matter more than ability to ride a learning curve and come up to speed?

(Oops! Maybe ability is harder to assess than credentials, eh?)

How can you get an employer to hire you, if you haven’t already done the exact job?

A response:

By Maurreen Skowran
December 8, 2009 at 10:45 am

And while wishing for a boatload of experience, some employers want to pay thousands of dollars less than what the combination is worth.

I’m also seeing more hybrid jobs, where the employer wants people to do a combination of moderately disparate functions that would normally be done by two to five people.

For employers, consider:

* Probation and informal apprenticeship.

* Contingency plans and back-up workers.

* Referrals and feedback from the last person to hold the job.

* Getting someone with most of what you’re looking for, then sending him to one or more classes.

* Job sharing — Hire a couple of people part-time to do different parts of the job.

* Training someone from within to work the hard-to-fill position, and hiring that person’s replacement from a larger pool.

* More generally, get employee feedback on any ads, etc. How much do your ads or other material do to say “Pick me”? Employers often shoot themselves in the foot with ads that are neutral or worse.

For job seekers, especially career changers:

* Don’t take the expectations or stated requirement as gospel. Sometimes they are, sometimes not. For example, most people in the field I come from have a bachelor’s degree. I have only about a year’s worth of college classes.

* School or other training can be a good way to get your foot in the door, without necessarily completing the degree. Besides the actual learning, you have opportunities for demonstration, connections through the faculty, etc.

* Start small. Do “x” on your own and demonstrate it. Consider volunteering and student jobs. In my first career change, I moved from aviation support in the Marine Corps to journalism. I started at a community college newspaper. My pay was initially zero. My background was minimal. But I got experience and worked up to one of the country’s larger and better newspapers.

* Pay attention and build links from where you are and have been, to where you want to be. My first job at a real newspaper came about because of an article I read in the local weekly paper. The editor was saying goodbye to a couple of people who worked there. I applied for one of those jobs the next day, and I got it.

* Address any perceived holes in your background. You might directly tell the employer, “I know you’re looking for x, but …”

* I’ve also been on the other side of this, where candidates had loose experience relating to the job and what I was looking for. But made little or no effort to target their materials to the position.
If they had revised their resumes to be relevant, I likely would have given them some consideration and kept them in mind for anything more appropriate in the future. But instead, they got “minus points” for not being smart enough to do something fairly basic.

MORE: Readers’ Forum: Ability or credentials?

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

6 December 2009

Where the Money Comes/Goes.

Which states pay the most in federal taxes and which receive the most in return? Who Gives/Who Receives?

LINK: http://www.visualeconomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/tax.jpg

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

Does your man have standards about where he'll work?

via Prison Talk by LadyBabyJoker on 12/6/09

So I was talkin to my baby who's comin home in just 3 days about him finding a job when he gets out... I told him I don't care if he's workin at Micky D's flippin burgers for min. wage only 20 hours a week I just want him to have income to help me out with the bills. His response, ABSOLUTELY NO WAY HES WORKIN AT MICKY D'S! I was like what? How can someone with no work history besides prison kitchens, someone with a felony, in an economy like this, let alone right before christmas when all the seasonal help is hired be picky? I'm a little frustrated about it I just want him to help me out and bring in money and I don't care where it is! He only has to work there until he can find something better....

Does anyone else's man have standards like this? How do I approach him and let him know I really just need him to find a job asap not wait around for an amazing place to hire him?

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

Oh-Kay

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