Just where are these green jobs?
Responding to Obama’s initiatives to create a green economy will require all kinds of workers with a wide range of skills, and naturally those who train them will see increased opportunity, as well. What hope does an average construction worker have of taking advantage of the greening of the economy, you wonder?
What about the traditional construction trades?
When we see dozers moving dirt we’ll know construction is coming back, but meanwhile the President wants to weatherize one million homes annually. Electricians, carpenters and their helpers, truck drivers and construction equipment operators, roofers, HVAC installers and insulation workers, construction managers, and even building inspectors are poised to be among the first back to work as we retrofit existing buildings so they run more cost-effectively and waste less energy. Energy saved is good for the planet, not just the bottom line – so those will be the “green” workers, needed by the millions to support the President’s vision of a cleaner energy future (which has a lot of practical steps more down to earth than just taming energy speculation markets.)
“Ensure 10% of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012”
That creates an immediate need (as does the President’s 25% goal for 2025.) So what sorts of jobs come from the wind, solar, and biofuels industries? This isn’t just environmental and chemical engineers, we’re talking iron and steel workers, sheet metal workers, machinists, and electrical equipment assemblers, not to mention millwrights, construction equipment operators, drivers, industrial production supervisors and managers, along with electricians, industrial machinery mechanics, welders, metal fabricators, electrical equipment assemblers, laborers and foremen, and even agricultural and forestry supervisors, all needed as the U.S. ramps up the renewable energy field. With Obama’s plan within 10 years we save more oil than we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela combined – that’s not just good for the balance of trade and national security, that’s lots of jobs right here in North America, the kind that don’t get out-sourced to protect some corporation’s bottom lines and bonuses.
Well, transportation isn’t just trucks and automobiles, but wherever they’re built there will be a need for everything from software engineers, electrical engineers, and operations managers, to welders and fabricators, machine operators, engineering techs, transportation equipment painters, engine assemblers, and production helpers. Building energy efficient cars isn’t a pipe-dream. Obama’s calling for a million high-mileage, flex-fuel, plug-in, and hybrid cars on our roads by 2015 – cars that we need to make sure are built here in places where union workers have been idled by the hard times in the automotive industry.
We’ll also be seeing a surge in Mass Transit
That means civil engineers, surveyors, heavy equipment operators, and rail track layers, backed by more electricians, welders, metal fabricators, engine assemblers, and production helpers. The need for modern transportation networks is obvious. Yet many of our nation’s railways, highways, bridges, airports, and neighborhood streets are slowly decaying because of other choices favoring other kinds of investment. Down the road investing in a sustainable, green economy is about jobs for transportation supervisors, dispatchers, and train and bus operators – all jobs that contribute immediately to the Obama administration’s greening of America’s future by further reducing our energy consumption.
It’s time to get back to work
What’s good for the planet in terms of reduced emissions and energy consumption, is good for the country in terms of putting all sorts of people back to work, in productive, good-paying jobs. It’s good for the economy; it’s the key to our future. Congress is already beginning to move to infuse stimulus money into key industries – take the time to thank your Senators and Representatives for changing the way Washington works and starting to look out for us instead of lobbyists -0r if your folks in DC think once they’re inside the beltway you don’t notice, remind them that they work for you.