Green career expert, Carol McClelland came to the Green Economy Post to answer your green career questions and they were some good ones. So, we decided to run a series of posts on some of the commonly asked green career questions. Carol McClelland, PhD, author of Green Careers For Dummies and Founder of Green Career Central
Today’s question ….
When green jobs were being hyped in the media last year, I was really excited. But here we are a year later and there do not seem to be many green jobs. Do you know why? Will this ever change? If so, when do you think that will happen?
Carol McClelland says:
I feel your pain!! I think everyone was excited about green jobs a year ago! There are a few factors that are influencing the slower than desired/expected unfolding of the green economy.
1) The stimulus money was touted as the economic panacea that would allow green jobs to “sprout” instantaneously! The mainstream media didn’t really dig deeper into the story to share the full picture. A couple of facts to keep in mind.
—– Only 12% of the stimulus money that was distributed in 2009 was slated to go to green/sustainable projects. The vast majority of the money went to health and income security projects. Go to http://www.recovery.gov to track the funds landing in your region.
—– The stimulus money will continue to flow through 2012…in the last year, over 60% of the funds will go toward green/sustainable projects.
—- A lot of the stimulus money went to research institutions, which is a great sign for innovation in the long term, but it doesn’t produce jobs in the short term.
—- Most of the contracts/grants/loans from the stimulus funds had to go to “shovel ready” projects, those that could be launched within a few months. Many of the serious green/sustainable projects were just taking shape last year. They didn’t have sufficient plans in place to be able to leverage the stimulus money. VC money has been flowing to the clean tech/smart grid arena.
2) We are at the earliest stages of an economic shift that some are equating to another Industrial Revolution. The first and second Industrial Revolutions took 150 years to transform the agrarian economy into an industrial one. Although I doubt the shift to a low carbon/green/clean/sustainable economy will take 15 decades, I do believe it will take some time before we see the FULL impact of the economic shift.
Keep in mind that opportunities are out there. If you read Green Economy Post on a regular basis you know that there are developments happening every day. People are making those developments happen, which means they have green jobs!
3) I think the biggest frustration is for those who are hoping for job openings! I think it’s safe to say that the economic downturn of Fall 2008 had a detrimental effect on the green economy just as it has had on the traditional economy. We are starting to see signs that green companies are increasing their hiring plans. Some green industries are coming to life a bit faster than others, so you may or may not find jobs in the areas you are targeting.
4) Politically we’ve also hit some walls. The fact the health care bill was the focus of debate for so many months has meant that the Climate/Energy bill that has been in the Senate since June 2009 has not made as much progress as many of us hoped. There are, however, signs that this bill is making progress again. This bill will be something to track. Without a clear national plan (or knowing we aren’t going to have a national plan), it’s difficult for companies to invest to meet goals. It’s like jumping into a game when you don’t know the rules.
So. as you can see, there are a number of factors that have influenced the pace of growth in the green economy. What I’d recommend is that you focus your attention on your target industry. Choose the industry that is likely to be the best fit for your skills and interests. Then dig into understanding and tracking that industry. I promise you that there is more going on under the mainstream media’s radar. You may be amazed at how much is actually happening when you take a look.
Watch for signs of forward movement. Remember this is a complex transition with a lot of interlocking moving parts. The parts aren’t all coordinated at the moment, but there are signs that things are definitely still moving in a forward direction.
I hope this gives you a broader perspective of the green economy.
Recommended Green Career Resources Provided by Carol
SEVEN STEPS TO YOUR GREEN CAREER AUDIO – In this recorded audio program, Carol McClelland, shares a seven step plan you can follow to find your green career. In this audio you’ll discover: How to shorten the path to your green career with our 7-Step Action Plan; Tips to keep you moving forward to your goal; and answers to your questions about your next steps.
HOW TO SHORTEN YOUR PATH TO YOUR GREEN CAREER – This free ebook is a step-by-step process helping green career seekers use their passions, interests, experience, and training to plug into the green economy.
UNCOVERING YOUR GREEN NICHE – One of the most important skills you can have as a green career seeker is being able to articulate your green career niche. This free ebook shares the secrets of finding your green niche.
SIX STRATEGIES TO FIND YOUR GREEN CAREER – This free ebook is a step-by-step process helping green career seekers use their passions, interests, experience, and training to plug into the green economy.
© 2010, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.