Higher education leaders need to be aware of trends involving the desired majors and future careers of incoming students. A recent rally by high school students in Chicago in support of the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill provides insights into what these soon-to-be collegians want in academic opportunities and future green careers.
Maria Sanchez, for example, stated that environmental initiatives benefit everyone and that young people need to take action now because they are the ones who will be most affected but who also have the most potential for enacting change. Educators are also in a unique position to provide support with sustainability initiatives and majors that will prepare graduates for green jobs.
Chicago high schoolers held a climate action rally at the Thompson Center late Thursday afternoon to show their support for the Illinois Clean Jobs bill. The pending legislation is designed to strengthen statewide standards around energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Maria Sanchez, a Northside College Prep junior, was one of about a dozen students from various Chicago high schools at the rally.
"We think the clean energy jobs bill is something that will benefit our communities," she said. "In general, clean energy is the future, and if Illinois is able to become a leader in that, it's a step in the right direction."
Sanchez said it is important for young people to get organized around climate issues.
"Climate change knows no boundaries, no language, no race. It affects everyone," she said. "We think that youth have been the driving force of many different movements, and this is no exception. Taking climate action, especially now, is important, because we are going to be affected by the effects of not taking climate action."