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More jobs qualify as 'green'

| Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

It has something to do with windmills — or hybrid cars.

It's related to alternative and renewable energy. It's solar power.

That's what people told me comes to mind when they think of “green” or “clean” jobs. As one person summed up what they know about green jobs, “I really haven't the foggiest.”

Green jobs are either “jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources” or they are “jobs in which workers' duties involve making their establishment's production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources,” according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What kinds of jobs might that be?

Here are a few green job openings I found through the staffing firm Greenjobs. They include energy adviser for Conservation Services Group, where you would conduct “residential energy assessments to identify energy-efficiency improvement opportunities.”

But not all of them sound so technical.

GCI Solar has a sales job opening. Conservation Services Group also is looking for someone to work with marketing to put in place “integrated marketing communications and advertising programs.” The company also wants a program operations manager for a high-efficiency furnace replacement program.

An investment company in the United Kingdom that operates in the renewable-energy industry needs a portfolio manager to manage the firm's assets. A company in Brazil with an expanding wind business needs a project manager to oversee “construction of several small and big onshore wind projects.”

A company that's expert in “developing engineering and operating large-scale photovoltaic systems” seeks a lawyer.

The solar industry is experiencing tremendous growth, says Ecotech Institute, which trains students for solar, wind and renewable-energy jobs.

In the first quarter of 2013, the institute's Clean Jobs Index, which aggregates all available clean jobs in the United States, listed more than 8,000 solar jobs. Since August 2012, Ecotech found that the U.S. solar industry has added nearly 14,000 jobs — a 13.2 percent growth rate.

As solar power usage expands, more workers will be needed to manufacture solar panels, build power plants and install solar panels. Project managers will be needed to oversee the work and sales representatives to sell product.

Ecotech's index found almost 750,000 clean jobs posted across the United States between January and March.

As these goods and services expand, not just technical workers — such as wind technicians, energy engineers and electrical maintenance technicians — will be needed. All kinds of people could be in demand: administrative, finance, law, marketing and sales.

So when you think green jobs, think, “What do companies that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources need to operate and grow?”

Then think, “How can I help them do that?”

Career consultant Andrea Kay is the author of “This Is How To Get Your Next Job: An Inside Look at What Employers Really Want.”Write to her at andrea@andreakay.com.

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