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: wind, environmental, sustainability, biomass, biofuel, solar.

The Missouri Green Jobs Report finds that the state has 131,103 total green jobs, including both direct and indirect employment. There are 28,720 primary green jobs and 102,383 green supporting jobs.

A 71% majority of employers surveyed stated that current economic conditions were the largest barrier toward hiring additional green workers. This finding highlights the potential for growth in Missouri’s green economy as national recovery efforts help to mitigate the downward spiral of employment in the next few years. Additionally, almost 80% of employers in the survey stated that they utilize in-house training to train workers in green jobs. Surveyed employers also indicated that the top three skill sets needed for future green workers are waste minimization, pollution reduction control, and principles of energy conservation.

The survey estimated green employment for 160 detailed occupations. Occupations that represented the largest share of primary green employment include: refuse and recyclable material collectors, chemical technicians, plumbers, refrigeration mechanics and installers, and architects. Primary green occupations with the most opportunity for growth through 2016 include construction managers, environmental engineering technicians, operating engineers, electricians, environmental engineers, and pipe layers. The occupations cited span a variety of education and skill levels.

The Pew Charitable Trusts “Clean Energy Economy Report“ found that in 2007 Missouri reported 1,062 cleantech businesses that provided a total of 11,714 green jobs. Over the decade 1998-2007 employment in the Missouri cleantech sector grew by 5.4% compared with a 2.1% growth in overall employment for the state over the same period. Over the two year period (2006-2008) Missouri saw around $25 million of venture capital invested in its cleantech sector.

Renewable Energy Jobs in Missouri

In 2009 Missouri had 47 renewable energy companies, and the state employed 1,024 people directly or indirectly in renewable energy jobs.

The new Missouri Renewable Electricity Standard requires that 2% of the state’s renewable electricity be solar by 2021.

At least seven facilities in the state currently manufacture components for the wind energy industry and two new facilities have been announced. In addition, wind power projects produce lease payments for landowners and increase the tax base of communities.

Rockport, MO was the first 100 percent wind powered community in the U.S. Plans for at least two wind turbine manufacturing plants were announced in 2010, which chose to move to the state due to its location as the strategic center of wind production facilities in the U.S.

Missouri has six plants bio-ethanol operational in the state with a cumulative 283 Mgal production capacity. In addition, there are 810 Mgal of new projects that have been permitted but plants have not started construction. Missouri ranked 9th in corn production nationwide.

Missouri farms already produce enough crop waste from corn, winter wheat, soybeans, sorghum, cotton and timber to manufacture about 500 Mgal of cellulosic ethanol each year, about 15% of all the gasoline used in the state. As fermentation and enzymatic solutions continue to drop in price second generation cellulosic ethanol is going to take off.

Missouri currently has 6 Biodiesel plants in operation that together have a 140 Mgal capacity. A biodiesel project in Lilbourn, Missouri has been re-activated as ME Bio Energy LLC. Production went into full-swing again in mid-July after the EPA approved specs from its first batch. The facility produces 5.2 Mgy of 50/50 animal fat and soybean oil blend biodiesel.

Environmental Jobs in Missouri

A new Ceres report finds that implementing two new air pollution rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will create 1.5 million jobs over the next five years. The power sector will invest almost $200 billion total in capital improvements over the next five years. Among the states that will see the big job gains from this construction activity are Missouri. The Ceres report estimates that more than 60,000 new environmental remediation and pollution control related jobs will be created in Missouri as a result of these environmental standards, mostly in new generation capacity.

Missouri 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 Missouri should see a significant increase in the number of sustainability opportunities. In fact, Missouri is home to 29 Fortune 1000 companies and 137 colleges and universities. It has three research universities.

In addition, over the past two years, City of Kansas City, Mo., government leaders have directed that sustainability be integrated into all aspects of City operations. Policies enacted by the mayor and City Council and implemented by the city manager and City staff are having a significant impact on the quality of life in Kansas City. These policies promote the triple bottom line goals of environmental quality, social equity and economic vitality.

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