Green Jobs: Are they the Next Step?

The summer after college graduation often feels like a small pause before eternity for many recent graduates. It is time of being in between, not knowing what is going to come next while at the same time acutely aware that everything has changed and you cannot go back. During this phase of floating, you may frequently find yourself trying to decide what you should be doing with your life, and hoping you can find a career you love before the grace period on student loans ends.

Searching for a “green” career may just be the answer to your worries. Green careers are defined as occupations that by nature have to deal with conserving energy, developing alternative energies, reducing pollution or recycling. It is an impressively broad spectrum. However with much recent government funding and activity in the sustainability sphere, many of these career paths offer many, lucrative positions for recent graduates just entering the job market.

The Growth of Green

The number of green or sustainable careers has been growing exponentially in recent years. This is happening for a number of reasons including an ever growing public interest in low impact living as well as multiple government initiatives to promote sustainable programs and mitigate the impacts of a changing climate. For example, in 2015 the White House unveiled a plan to both help with the growth of solar energy production and with preparing returning veterans for civilian careers.

The government is not the only sector that is interested in promoting green careers either. In fact, sustainable product design and other sustainable initiatives are becoming top priorities for many companies across the globe. This is partially driven by company growth; there is a nearly 3 percent difference in growth between companies with a commitment to sustainability and those without. Furthermore, up to 66 percent of customers are willing to pay more for sustainable brands.  

Finding the Green Career for You

It is incredibly easy to fall into the trap of thinking that all green careers are centered around product design and development – the work of an engineer. Although many green careers have elements of engineering associated with them, the broad definition of what qualifies as a green career means many unexpected jobs are considered green. For instance, public transportation official, sustainable farmer, and environmental lawyer all fall into that category.

From a business perspective (that excludes product design), one of the more common green careers is typically titled something like Environmental Public Relations Official. In a career such as this, you would be in charge of communicating company acts of sustainability to customers through social media management, public reveals, and numerous outreach events. Much like a normal public relations official, the primary job would center about building the company brand and promoting products.

Green Impacts

Outside of the fact that green careers as a whole are one of the fastest growing sectors in the US economy, many of these jobs actually do quite a lot to benefit the general public. Green careers are part of a greater push towards sustainability and energy independence in the US. This push is ultimately beneficial because it lowers our dependence upon foreign governments to reach our growing energy needs, fuels infrastructure investment, provides us with a long-term solution to energy production, increases air and water quality, and helps to mitigate the numerous consequences of anthropogenic climate change.

If you are caught between college graduation and the future, or are just looking for a new career in general, finding one with green qualities may be highly beneficial. Green positions are growing in nearly every sector of the economy and is fueled by government investment, private sector profits, and consumer interest. Many of these careers are available down almost any career path. And finally, green careers are incredibly beneficial to our communities as a whole.

So get out there! Find something green you love, and put that degree to work!

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