America Goes Green: What Does It Mean to Your Career?

By Paula Santonocito

Career woman holding a globeFashion magazines may tell you snorkel blue and pink mist are the hot colors for spring, but don’t be fooled. The most popular color in America is green. The environment is what’s in fashion, and the country’s eco-friendly focus has implications for your career.

New Industries, New Jobs

Global need for alternative sources of energy as well as the understanding that earth’s resources are not limitless have led to a boom in the solar and wind industries.

From solar panels on residential and commercial buildings to solar traffic lights and more, using nature’s largest light to generate power has become big business. And that business generates jobs.

Take California’s Silicon Valley as an example. The Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal reports that solar firms in the Bay Area expect a 17 percent surge in hiring over the next 12 months. It’s indicative of what’s happening nationwide.

The wind energy industry is also seeing significant growth, and that growth has led to jobs. The American Wind Energy Association, the national trade association for the wind energy industry, points out that many of these jobs are in rural areas, places hit hard by the decline in U.S. manufacturing.

The association’s website features a map that shows companies across the U.S. Under “areas of interest,” select “Wind Power Outlook 2007” and a report will open in a PDF file. The map is on Page 4.

If wind energy interests you, be sure to also take a look at the “U.S. Wind Energy Project Map,” also under “areas of interest.” It provides information about existing facilities as well as those currently under construction.

Keep in mind that the wind and solar industries are like any other in that companies employ people for a variety of tasks. Even if a job as a photovoltaic tech doesn’t turn you on, perhaps another job in the solar or wind field will.

You may also want to explore work in the ethanol field. Like solar and wind, it’s a growing industry with a range of jobs.