by Chris de Morsella, Green Economy Post Chris is the co-editor of The Green Executive Recruiter Directory. Follow Chris on Twitter @greeneconpost

Major Green Industries with a significant presence in the state are:clean transportation, advanced batteries, energy efficiency, green building, wind, solar, biofuel, environmental remediation.

The Michigan Green Jobs Report 2009, is one of the first comprehensive state government to produce usable data on the state’s green jobs separated out from general jobs data in order that the impact of the green economy on the states jobs market can more clearly be analized. The report categorizes Michigan’s green economy as being comprised of five areas: (1) agriculture and natural resource conservation; (2) clean transportation and fuels; (3) increased energy efficiency; (4) pollution prevention or environmental cleanup; and (5) renewable energy production.

It finds that Michigan boasts 109,067 private sector green jobs: 96,767 direct green jobs (people directly involved in generating a firm’s green-related products or services) and 12,300 green support jobs (anyone from a janitor to an accountant whose job is created to serve direct green work). This puts green jobs in Michigan at 3.4% as of 2009 of the state’s total employment.

Between the second quarter 2005 and the second quarter 2008, the sample of 358 green-related firms in Michigan added more than 2,500 jobs in Michigan, an impressive employment expansion of 7.7 percent. This small segment of the green economy far outpaced employment trends for the economy as a whole. During this same period, total private employment in Michigan declined an estimated 5.4 percent.

As one might expect from the nation’s most important automotive manufacturing center, clean transportation and fuels is the largest green economy area in Michigan, comprising just over 40% of green jobs and reflecting Michigan’s automotive heritage. If Michigan succeeds in developing alternative fuel, hybrid and electric vehicles, this sector may grow significantly.

Among the renewable energy production firms in that sample, the growth rate hit 30%. Renewable energy production, which today is the smallest green sector, may be the fastest growing. The green economy appears to be a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity. Among our sample of 358 green-related firms, over 70 appeared to be newly created since 2005, accounting for nearly 600 jobs already. Green jobs tend to pay well. Thirteen of the top 15 sectors of green employment have weekly wages above the overall private sector weekly average.

Green jobs encompass a wide range of occupations. Engineering and construction jobs are prominent, but many other jobs of all skill levels are required by the green economy. Education and training are key for green employers. In multiple focus groups, employers emphasized the need for basics in math and reading with additional skills to be acquired on the- job or in school depending on the precise green job in question.

One figure that pops out is that the Michigan Green Jobs Report found that professional, scientific, and technical services accounted for 22,178 cleantech jobs, across all of the areas in the report. Many of these jobs are in the clean transportation sector, but they also are spread over green building and energy efficiency, renewable energy and environmental areas as well.

It is also worth noting that some 2,040 reported green jobs or 2.1% of the total did not fit into any one of th efive categories being tracked.

Michigan is investing in research and development programs which will support growing companies and create high-tech jobs. The state of Michigan and Michigan universities are presently establishing and conducting R&D programs with the state’s bioenergy, solar, wind, and other companies, often in collaboration with the US Department of Energy and its National Laboratories.

The Pew Center of The States Clean Economy reported that in the decade going from 1998 – 2007 Michigan’s green employment figures grew by 10.7%, which really stands out when compared to the state’s overall job loss of 3.6% over the same decade. In addition it reported a total of some $55 million of venture capital funding flowing into the sates green economy in the period going from 2006 – 2008.

Michigan also held the top spot in clean-energy patents for 2010 with 192 patents. Leading the charge is General Motors, which is reinventing itself as a sustainable transportation leader. GM received more clean energy patents last year than any other company in the U.S., with 135 patents registered in 2010.

Clean Transportation and Alternative Fuels Jobs in Michigan

With close to 40,000 jobs (2009) the Clean Transportation and Fuels area comprises 41% of all green jobs in the state. The transportation equipment manufacturing sector alone provided 25,780 green jobs for the state in 2009.

General Motors says it will revamp the line at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant so it can increase Volt production to 16,000 units this year and 60,000 next year. That’s a significant bump over the original plan, which called for 15,000 cars this year and 45,000 next. The plan could add as many as 2,500 jobs at the plant.

Meanwhile Ford has invested $1 billion to modernize its Michigan Assembly Plant from an SUV factory to a plant to build the 2010 Focus and all-new 2011 Focus Electric pure battery EV.

A Michigan startup EV Performance Warehouse Inc. plans to convert existing, gas-burning cars into purely electric-driven vehicles. Its first project will be to convert 2,000 fleet vehicles for various companies. It is is opening a facility in Lansing, Michigan that will provide 70 jobs.

General Motors will invest $109 million in its operations in Flint and Bay City, Mich., to support engine production for current and future fuel-efficient small cars produced for the U.S. market. The investment will protect or add 96 jobs at the two sites. In November 2010, GM announced plans to invest $151 million and protect 143 jobs at the Flint and Bay City plants. The latest investment is part of a $2 billion investment to create or retain more than 4,000 hourly and salaried jobs at 17 facilities in eight states.

Advanced Energy Storage

Advanced energy storage, and in particular the production of lithium ion batteries for cars, holds enormous potential for job creation in Michigan. Michigan is rapidly becoming a center for advanced energy storage innovation aimed at, among other things, electrifying the automobile.Advanced energy storage, and in particular the production of lithium ion batteries for cars, holds enormous potential for job creation in Michigan. Michigan is rapidly becoming a center for advanced energy storage innovation aimed at, among other things, electrifying the automobile. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has announced that 16 advanced battery companies are building facilities in Michigan, representing $5.8 billion in capital investment and that are projected to create almost 62,000 new badly needed green jobs in the state.

Here are a few of the major advanced battery firms that are clustering in Michigan, largely in order to service the growing electric and hybrid automotive production, which is rapidly growing in Detroit.

A123 Systems has opened America’s largest lithium ion battery manufacturing plant (nearly 300,000-square-feet) in Livonia, Michigan in September 2010. The new plant is expected to expand A123’s manufacturing capabilities by up to 600MW hours per year when fully operational. Over the next several years, it is expected to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the greater Detroit area.

Dow Kokam’s new world-scale manufacturing facility is being built in Midland, Michigan with a targeted completion in early 2012. Once the facility comes on line it is expected to create around 800 green jobs.

LG Chem Ltd., a division of one of the largest companies in the world, is building $303 million, 650,000-square-foot advanced battery factory on Holland’s southeast side. The company anticipates more than 400 new jobs by 2013, with hiring and training beforehand.

In addition to these major established players Michigan is also th ehome of several energy storage startups such as Sakti3, whose solid state, lithium ion batteries have won funding from General Motors and Khosla Ventures. This technology could revolutionize electric cars by packing more energy into a battery as well as shrinking its size down.

Green Building and Energy Efficiency Jobs in Michigan

This area includes such activities as: insulation of a building; adopting green building design/LEED standards; downsizing or upgrading of HVAC, lighting and other energy systems to reduce energy demand in the building; producing energy efficient household appliances, such as refrigerators or dryers; or providing engineering, consulting or research services on operations, materials, or technologies that improve energy efficiency.

Nearly one quarter (23%) of all green jobs — 22,236 jobs — in Michigan were attributable to the Energy Efficiency core area, and most of these positions were associated with the state’s construction industry.

Specialty trade contractors provided 9825 jobs (most of which are related to the energy efficiency and construction sectors of the state’s economy), and construction of buildings gave employment to 3,571 people.

By avoiding the costs for the extra traditional fossil fuel energy that would otherwise be burned, Michigan’s energy efficiency program will save the state over $3 billion in electricity costs over the next 20 years. In addition it will help to reduce the state’s carbon impact. All this money that will be saved will be available for other economic activity within the state; more money will be in more people’s pockets and that extra money will help to lift the overall economy.

Michigan is also a leading area for green building. For example, Grand Rapids alone has 71 buildings that have completed all of the paperwork and earned LEED certification. Michigan as a whole has 2.3 LEED buildings per 100,000 people. As of June 2011 he state has 253 LEED certified buildings and an additional 471 registered projects.

Renewable Energy Jobs in Michigan

While renewable energy is currently the smallest of the tracked green economy areas of the state providing as of 2009 some 8,843 green jobs, which is 9.1% of the total number of green jobs, this area is also the fastest growing sector of the state’s green economy growing at an annual rate of 30%. In fact, firms in the renewable energy production cluster added nearly 1,900 jobs from 2005 to 2008, a growth rate of 30%.

Michigan has a good chance of becoming a major renewable energy manufacturing center in part by leveraging its existing advanced manufacturing expertise, depth of engineering talent, and local access to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers. The state seems poised to create tens of thousands of good-paying green jobs for Michigan workers in the clean transportation sector, but also in the renewable energy sector, Michigan has the potential to become a regional and global powerhouse in wind turbine manufacturing for example.

An increasing number of companies are setting up manufacturing plants in the state, including small and large-scale wind turbine manufacturing plants and advanced battery facilities. In addition, the Dow Chemical Company is investing more than $1 billion in wind, solar, advanced battery manufacturing, and other projects in Michigan that will create more than 6,900 new jobs. See the Advanced battery section for more details on advanced batteries.

The National Solar Jobs Census 2010 reported that Michigan has a strong solar presence. Michigan is the #4 state for solar jobs. There are 6,300 est solar jobs in 76 est solar firms Michigan incentives rank among the best in the country for attracting clean energy manufacturing and R&D.

Michigan has one of the fastest growing wind markets in the US, growing from a tiny base of 2.6 MW in 2006 to 164 MW in 2010, and headed to more than 400 MW by 2012. Plans are being developed for offshore wind energy research studies in Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie.

Total direct and indirect jobs in Wind supported in Michigan in 2010 are estimated to be between 3,000-4,000 green jobs. At least 31 facilities in Michigan are currently manufacturing components for the wind energy industry and 6 additional facilities are announced.

Michigan also has 6 biomass plants. A typical 30 MW biopower plant employs about 120 workers (in plant and outside).

Agricultural and Natural Resource Conservation Jobs in Michigan

Green agricultural businesses provide necessary inputs for the production of biomass energy including: wood, agricultural crops and animal wastes. These can be viewed as renewable and sustainable if managed properly. Other examples of green agriculture include foodsystems, forest and land management, and organic farming.

The agricultural and natural resources conservation areas provided 11,986 green jobs or 12.4% of the total number of green jobs in the state.

Pollution Prevention and Environmental Cleanup Jobs in Michigan

This sector includes products designed to have minimal impacts on human health and the environment, and services that eliminate or reduce the amount and toxicity of potentially harmful substances at their source. Businesses that provide services and/or products related to controlling industrial and commercial emissions, environmental remediation, waste treatment, recycling, water conservation and treatment, and brownfield redevelopment are examples in this area.

This area of the state’s economy provided 12,345 green jobs, which is 12.8% of the total number of green jobs in the state.

Michigan Careers in Sustainability

Sustainability is evolving and becoming more mainstream. As this occurs, it is increasingly becoming a part of business strategy within large corporations. This is particularly true in resource intensive industries and companies with workforces of more than 10,000. Colleges and universities have also increased their hiring of sustainability staff in the last year; especially in schools with enrollment of 10,000 or more and in research institutions.

Generally speaking there is more work in the sustainability field for those living in areas that are home to more large company headquarters and more large universities. As a result those living in Michigan should see a significant increase in the number of sustainability opportunities. In fact, Michigan is home to 32 Fortune 1000 companies and 112 colleges and universities. It has three research universities.

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