Less 'Green' in the Economy Means Green Jobs in the Future

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hydrologist and biologist collect water temperatures at Lake Cumberland in Kentucky.
Mark Campbell, hydrologist in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville, Tenn., District’s Water Management Section, and biologist Sarah Pedrick collect water temperatures at different depths at Lake Cumberland in Kentucky, May 25, 2022. (Leon Roberts/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo)

The weakened economy and tight job market can be frightening to service members ready to enter the civilian workforce. However, in spite of the economic turmoil, one career field stands to endure and thrive -- the Green Jobs Sector.

Prior to the economic meltdown, green-collar jobs were already on track to become one of the nation's fastest-growing careers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects environmental careers, including ecologists, hydrologists, environmental chemists and others, to grow over the next decade.

What's more, Global Insight -- a Boston-based global research firm -- estimates there are currently 750,000 green jobs in the U.S. economy, with 85% of them in metropolitan areas.

The jobs are in varied categories, including renewable power generation, agriculture, construction, manufacturing, research, consulting and engineering, among others. And over the next 30 years, Global Insight projects potential growth of 4.2 million new green jobs, assuming a significant increase in electricity generated from renewable resources, investment in energy efficiency in the residential and commercial sectors, and increased production of renewable transportation fuels.

"The timing couldn't be any better ... because of everything we're facing in terms of some pretty dire economic news," Ron Pernick of Clean Edge, co-author of a green jobs study, said in a Seattle Post-Intelligencer report.

However, a dearth of qualified candidates stands to threaten the success of the green jobs sector. Seventy-three percent of the business owners/managers surveyed reported a lack of qualified green-collar workers, with a shortage in energy, green building and mechanics, according to a case study funded by the Berkeley, California, city council.

Transitioning service members and veterans have the skills and qualifications needed to fill these jobs. The majority of green careers are targeted to young workers (ages 18-35), adults without a degree or people who have been out of the workforce for a long period of time. Many of these jobs also offer on-the-job training and classes.

The qualifications for most of these jobs are skills that veterans already have, such as:

  • A sense of responsibility
  • Positive attitude
  • Consistent punctuality
  • A strong work ethic
  • The ability to work independently and as part of a team.

These high-quality jobs offer advancement opportunities, good pay and benefits, and the opportunity to do something good for the Earth.

The green jobs sector offers service members an opportunity to have a stable job in this unstable economy, as well as a chance to impact the environment positively. If you're interested in finding out more about green careers, visit Military.com's Job Board to search for green- and military-friendly companies.

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