Renewable energy growth brings green collar opportunity
The classifications of blue collar and white collar jobs derive from the popularity of blue work shirts among factory workers, skilled tradespeople, and other laborers. White shirts, jackets, and ties have been associated with offices. In all of those workplaces, dress codes have evolved to more comfortable options.
The recent designation of green collar jobs has nothing to do with what color shirt is worn. Instead, it is all about contributing to a green environment.
The U.S. Labor Department classifies 3.1 million workers in green collar jobs. Those professions focus on energy efficiency, smart city technologies, and environmental issues.
One sector, renewable energy, has seen the largest growth:
- Solar farms
- Wind farms
- Hydroelectric plants
- Biofuel plants
Education requirements range from high school diploma to college degree. Pay varies significantly but trends above average for the education level.
Many green professions involve renewable or clean energy sources. Over 2.25 million Americans have employment that is related to energy efficiency. 800,000 of them work with generating that energy.
These states, plus Washington D.C., are currently the best places to find green-collar opportunities.
A green science industry has emerged nationwide. Opportunities can be found in public, private, and non-profit sectors, with greatest demand in biotechnology, lab chemistry, ecology, forestry, and related environmental sciences.
Urban planners and architects certified with U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) credentials are in demand.