Monday, July 7, 2014

Greening the Economy

By Steven Worth

Though the current economic downturn has negatively affected many, a new industrial sector is on the rise. A study conducted by the Worldwatch Institute and Cornell University Global Labor Institute demonstrates the emergence of a “Green Economy,” one that promises to positively impact the 21st century workforce. Due in part to the United Nation’s Climate convention’s emission reduction targets, this quickly expanding fervor to foster sustainability has already begun to general jobs in developed and developing countries alike.

Recently, the popularity of “Green” jobs has skyrocketed, especially among the younger generation. In hopes that “greening the economy” may be a much-needed stimulus, employers are not only investing in new technologies but also seeking workers with an environmental background in education, training, and technical skills. Jobs in conservation and pollution mitigation are increasing in many states. In 38 states plus the District of Columbia jobs in clean energy outpaced job growth over the last 8 years, according to a recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts Environmental Group. For the past two years, Texas has been the top wind producer in the United States with over 3,953 wind-generated megawatt hours. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) suggests that as many as 8,000 green-collard jobs are on the horizon for Maryland by 2015 as consumers invest in energy efficiency.

The U.S. Department of Education will provide $48.6 billion to encourage states to provide reforms to increase individual pursuit of secondary education, including the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund to support state-level, education budget shortfalls. In California, $10 million in federal stimulus funds—shared by 11 colleges—has created the California Green Jobs Corps to place at-risk young adults into jobs in the states green economy. Also, Michigan’s No Worker Left Behind program, supported by funding from the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), has provided adult education programs for more than 61,434 people since its inception.

As the definition of “green” encompasses countless industries, and the transition of each into a conservational system requires changes in decisions, practices, and behaviors, the need for new workers and ideas has risen to great magnitude. Researchers hope that, by exchanging high capital, low labor investments for low capital, labor-intensive investments, industries may provide more jobs while encouraging the success of the greening campaign.

No comments: