With higher education leadership under immense pressure to connect graduates to gainful employment, leaders should take a tip from students and “think green.” The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) registered 3.4 million green jobs in 2011, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, among others, expects millions more in job growth by 2028.
As Mattias Wallander, CEO of USAgain, explained, green jobs are those that either in process or product benefit the environment, including recycling, renewable energy, or nature conservation. College curricula and career offices should be preparing students with the skills needed to fit and find jobs in this sector.
No irony is more copious than the fact that industrial tycoons ruined the environment in their quest for riches. The result is thousands of bright-eyed, clever college graduates are seeking to begin their careers in green jobs. Job growth and economic opportunity are the subtext of the save the environment movement.
The United States had more than 3.4 million green jobs in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment was highest in the areas of trade, education and health services, and green job growth outpaced all other industries. The U.S. Conference of Mayors predicts millions of additional green jobs will be added by 2028.
According to the BLS, green jobs are jobs where the worker's duties make the production process environmentally friendly or jobs which "produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources." Jobs in this category include recycling, renewable energy, and nature conservation.
In 2014, Forbes reported that the top four states which added the highest number of green jobs were Arizona, California, Michigan, and Utah. The magazine reports that many of these jobs help the states to comply with the federal requirements in the Clean Power Plan, announced last June, which aims at reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels in the next 15 years. The solar industry created the bulk of the jobs in clean energy and transportation, and the auto industry led hiring in clean manufacturing, according to the Forbes.