What Is a Green Job?

You are probably hearing the term “green jobs” everywhere these days, but what exactly does it mean? Green jobs are simply jobs
that help to improve the environment and lessen the destructive impact that we have on our planet.

Politicians, activists and businesses all over the world are working hard to define exactly what these jobs are. In fact, the current stimulus bill has set aside billions for the creation of green jobs and green initiatives. Here’s a look at some specifics.

Is Green Collar the New Blue Collar?

Green jobs are not limited to manufacturing. The federal government, state and local governments and businesses across the country are gearing up to spend money on green construction which includes:

  • New construction like wind mills, solar panels and large environmentally friendly buildings.
  • Transforming existing buildings to make them more environmentally friendly by improving or replacing windows, HVAC systems, and plumbing and electrical systems.

Green Collar Can Also be the New White Collar

All of the green manufacturing and construction being done will need people for research, design, planning and development. Some fields that will see an increase in demand for people with green expertise include:

  • Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Energy related careers
  • Teaching
  • Farming and agriculture
  • Government planning
  • Fundraising
  • Many more


  • Apolloalliance.org is a coalition of business, labor and environmental groups devoted to championing green labor. They have a lot of good information on green jobs and the positive impact these jobs can have on our economy and environment. The Apollo Alliance is being supported by groups such as the United Steelworkers who see green collar jobs as the way of the future.
  • Greencareercentral.com is a virtual career center helping people transfer their skills and experience to the new green economy.
  • Greenjobs.com focuses specifically on all aspects of employment in the field of renewable energy.

Training for Green Jobs

The idea of a large, green workforce is new, but you may already possess many of the skills necessary to land a green job. Manufacturing experience and HVAC, plumbing and electrical know how are skills needed for many green jobs.

Many experts believe that the first step to gaining the knowledge to get a green job is go green in your daily life (recycle, practice energy conservation at home, buy and use recycled goods etc.). Green training will be different for each job but some general green skills include:

  • General knowledge of conservation
  • Understanding techniques for reducing pollution
  • Knowing how to use green building materials in both manufacturing and construction
  • The ability to implement and sustain conservation practices

Training Programs

Some universities such as Yale and the New School in New York City are offering green degree programs.

Other green training programs include:

  • Solar Energy International. This non-profit organization’s mission is to teach people to use renewable energy and environmental building technologies. Through a series of workshops and programs in schools they teach people to design, install and maintain renewable energy systems and sustainable homes.
  • Solar Living Institute. This Hopland, California non-profit educational organization provides practical education by example and hands-on workshops on renewable energy, green building, sustainable building, organic gardening and alternative, environmental construction methods.
  • DC Green Works. A Washington, D.C. based non-profit that provides training to utilize, advance and protect the environment.
  • Sustainable South Bronx. This Bronx, NY based organization offers 14-16 and 10-13 week green job training programs in basic construction, energy retrofits and home energy audits. They offer several certifications and job placement.
  • Oakland Green Corps. This offshoot of the Apollo Alliance teaches at risk youth basic life skills and green job skills.
  • Green Corps. This non-profit offers a yearlong paid training program that teaches hands on environmental activism and organization skills.

New local and national programs are being created all of the time. Keep an eye out for something similar in your area. To learn more about going green, TAKE THE PLEDGE and connect with people just like you.