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Michelle Melton is a Research Analyst with the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

 

 

 

The Green Jobs Community of Practice is meant to be a resource for workforce development professionals, researchers, and labor market information specialists to remain informed about what is happening at all levels—the local, state, and federal—as green increasingly seeks into the economy and the world of work.  The CoP is a useful place for practitioners and researchers to come together.  In this ‘User Spotlight’ series, we highlight different users and have them offer suggestions on what they would like to see from the website.


User Name: Michelle Melton

Affiliation:  Research Analyst; Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Involvement with “green”: The Center on Education and the Workforce is a partner in the eight-state Northeastern consortium LMI grant.  We are tasked with defining green for the consortium, as well as counting and projection job openings using Burning Glass data (similar to Help Wanted Online data).   Currently, we are working on novel ways to find and track green jobs within real time job postings data. 

Use of Green Jobs CoP: I have been active on the website for more than six months, and have most frequently used the ‘resources’ section.  I have found it particularly helpful in bringing together disparate information from states, policy groups, and business groups. 

Suggestions for the Green CoP?: I love that there are so many resources on the website.  However, I think it would be helpful to have them more organized.  Currently, the resources are organized into five folders, and within the folders there are no sub-folders, and resources are arranged by date.  I would suggest categorizing and organizing the resources topically.  For example, under “Building a Green Economy,” there could perhaps be a “State Reports” sub-folder, which would contain all the state reports on green, another folder for “policy papers,” “national green job counts,” etc.  In addition, perhaps adding a sentence blurb detailing what the paper/resource is would help readers decide what information is most useful to them.  “Grey is the New Green,” which is the title of one resource, doesn’t provide enough information for me to know if it’s worth looking into.  I think that better organization and very brief resource descriptions would help steer people towards the resources they need.

Another suggestion is to more clearly link between the green jobs CoP and other important websites, such as O*NET and the BLS.  These links may exist, but they are buried in all the information on the site.  I suggest that next to the “Calendar” tab on the homepage, there be a “LINKS” tab, that has links to only a few very important green websites (such as O*NET and BLS).  Finally, in addition to the links page, there is no obvious way to contact the site administrators.  This function would be very helpful for people looking to get in touch with the site’s administrators.

How do you use the Green Jobs CoP? Suggestions?

Six months ago the Employment & Training Administration (ETA) rolled out the Green Jobs Community of Practice (CoP), and in that time (despite snowmageddon and now searing heat) it has grown to a community of nearly 2,600 members. Many of whom regularly check out the community; view the available resources – including information on industries and occupations, education and training models, and the Recovery Act of 2009.  This on-line virtual community was designed to provide a platform for Workforce Professionals and green job thought leaders to discuss and share promising practices to create partnerships for Green Job Workforce Solutions and leverage Recovery Act investments.  The Green Jobs CoP is unique in that it provides an interactive platform and information that is explicitly targeted to Workforce Professionals, particularly those at the State and Workforce Investment Board levels, and their role in building a green economy. 

As we lay the foundation now and build a green economy for the future, and in order for the Green Jobs CoP to truly succeed and realize its full potential – we need to hear from you, whether it be as comments on the postings and resources, blogs, or an e-mail to green.jobs@dol.gov that tells us how we are doing (good and bad), provides suggestions for future topics or bloggers, or lets us know how to better meet your green jobs needs.

Thank you for your support and making the Green Jobs CoP the largest ETA community of its kind.  Now let’s here from you!!!


Charles Cox and Aparna Darisipudi
Green Jobs CoP Managers

 

 

Charlie Johnson is the Oregon Employment Department’s Green Jobs Economist. Charlie coordinates the department’s efforts in a $1.25 million research grant focused on improving the state’s green jobs related labor market information. Oregon Workforce & Economic Information Blog

 

This is the second in the ‘User Spotlight’ series, where we highlight different users and have them offer suggestions on what they would like to see from the website.

User Name: Charlie Johnson

 

Affiliation: Green Jobs Economist, Oregon Employment Department

 

Involvement with “green”: My role is to coordinate Oregon’s “Green Labor Market Information Improvement Grant”. Oregon is in the process of researching what types of knowledge, skills, and abilities set green jobs apart from their counterparts within the same occupations – identifying competency needs that can be addressed in the workforce training system. This information will feed in to a new “Statewide Green Career Pathways” project which will provide information about potential careers and available training to career seekers interested in green jobs. We will also be tracking people who complete green training programs to see if they are more successful in the job market than people who complete other types of training programs. Oregon is also conducting a survey of the agriculture sector, and will be incorporating new software products in to our current websites to offer job seekers better information about green jobs.

 

Use of Green Jobs CoP: I was an early contributor to the website as Oregon was one of the first states in the nation to complete a comprehensive survey of green jobs. However, my participation has waned slightly since then. I most often use the site to keep track of new reports and publications related to green jobs. This site does a great job of bringing together a wide variety of resources that would be difficult to find otherwise.

 

Suggestions for the Green CoO?: I think the resources on the site could be better organized, possibly through the use of subdirectories that give greater detail about the topic of each report. Rather than automatically organizing the documents by date, I would like to see them ordered by some indication of their usefulness – possibly the view count or the number of times each item has been downloaded. In fact, a user rating system that allows CoP members to “rate” how useful each resource was to them would be very helpful in identifying which reports I should be reading.

 

The most useful and interesting change to the CoP, in my opinion, would be the addition of a discussion area within each of the resource pages. As it is currently designed I can click on the name of a report, and a second page will appear that shows more information about the report with a “download” button. If this second page included the ability to “comment” I could quickly read what other users had to say about the report, and users could have open discussion about different points made by the authors.

 

All of this said, I need to be clear about one thing: the most important change I would like to see in the CoP is more user discussion! The resources are useful, but I am most interested in what other users of this site are thinking/feeling/researching/discovering about green jobs. The discussion section of the site has a total of just more than 20 comments – not nearly enough to achieve the type of back-and-forth learning that I think could occur on this site. This CoP is an amazing tool, and it represents a rare opportunity for workforce professionals, researchers, and other though leaders to interact and to learn from one another.

 

The tool is here… let’s use it!

 

Dr. Jonathan Butler is Senior Market Analyst, Asia specializing in market developments in the Asia Pacific region, with an emphasis on portable applications of fuel cells. His current focus includes supply chain developments, legislation, policy and intellectual property (IP) aspects of fuel cell technology, particularly patent and patent opposition analysis, and their commercial implications. He is also interested in the development of fuel cells in the Middle East.

This is the first in a series of posts about fuel cell technology and jobs. Please stay tuned to the Green Jobs CoP over the next few weeks to learn more.


A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that combines oxygen (air) and a fuel (e.g. hydrogen) to form water. This process generates electricity and heat. There are several different types of fuel cell but they are all based around this central design. The essential design of a fuel cell dates back around 160 years, but commercial activity in fuel cells has rapidly increased recently.

The electricity produced by a fuel cell can essentially be used to power any electrical device, from electric cars and buses to laptops and mobile phones. The heat produced can also be used to provide combined heat and power for buildings, or used to generate cooling for buildings via an adsorption chiller.

The key benefits of a fuel cell include high electrical and thermal efficiency, low to zero emissions at point of use, and low noise. Fuel cells are now commercial in a range of applications and markets where low noise, low pollution, and high efficiency operation is valued. These are broadly split into three main application areas, and include:

Portable (any unit designed to be moved)

• Battery chargers for consumer electronic devices;
• Charging units for power tools.

Stationary (any unit designed to be fixed)

• Combined heat and power for residential homes, offices and commercial premises;
• Uninterruptible power for telecoms sites and datacentres.

Transport (any unit designed to go in a vehicle)

• Power units for RVs, yachts and trucks;
• Warehouse materials handling vehicles.

Longer term, fuel cell vehicles represent one of the biggest markets, and most major auto companies are developing fuel cells alongside electric vehicle technology. Consumer electronics are also a huge future market, particularly smart phones, laptop computers and i-pad type devices. Fuel Cell Today’s analyses suggest that several million fuel cells could be adopted in various applications globally over the next decade.

I grew up in southern Indiana surrounded by cornfields.  So on a recent road trip to Chicago, I was captivated by the wind turbine farms that have been strategically planted among the fields of corn.  This alternative, abundant energy source is the future and this video explains the art and science behind it.

It can take years to plan and engineer these state-of-the-art wind farms. It’s a problem-solving process that draws on an understanding of algebra, geometry, kinetic energy, electronics and just about everything in between in order to turn one of our most abundant natural resources into a viable business.

Do you have wind turbines in your neck of the woods?  If so, let us know where...

Montana Green-Ready Workforce Competency Model

An American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Energy Training Partnership grant recipient, Montana Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, is using its grant to targets current craft workers in need of skill upgrades to obtain or retain employment and unemployed workers seeking to enter targeted industries will receive training required for electricians, electrical line workers, carpenters, millwrights, laborers, weatherization technicians, iron workers (welders), HVAC technicians, power plant technicians, plumbers/pipefitters, and heavy equipment operators.

Grantee:  Montana Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee

Location of Grant Activities:  State of Montana

Grant Award:  $5,000,000

Project Description:  Approximately 2,450 participants will complete green competency model training plans and receive a certificate that corresponds to their training as pre-apprentices, apprentices, and journeymen workers in Montana’s current and emerging energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.

Targeted Industry:  Energy-Efficient Building Construction and Renewable Electric Power
Targeted Population:  Unemployed workers

Success Story:  As of the end of the first quarter, the project partners have served just over 400 apprentices and approximately 400 journeymen in their respective trades across the state of Montana to meet target population goals. The partners have participated in two outreach events to advertise training opportunities, recruit apprentices to their specific crafts, and outreach to historically underserved populations, including women and minorities. Currently, of the enrolled apprentices 2 percent are women, 7 percent represent minority groups and 9 percent are veterans.

According to the grantee, the success of the grant project to date was the ability to submit a grant proposal that included ten different Joint Apprenticeship & Training Councils (JATCs) from across the state. This coupled with the coordinated training underway and to be implemented is a great success for apprenticeship and training in the State of Montana and will most likely result in a continued cooperation amongst the trades involved.

 

 

The Community of Practice will be looking at the Solar Energy Industry over the next few weeks. The first installment of this series is a brief scan of the solar industry, federal policies and programs, and key organizations.

Green Profile: Solar Energy Industry

 

Michelle Melton is a Research Analyst with the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

This blog is adapted from a longer paper by the Center on Education and the Workforce, Measuring Green Jobs.

 

It seems like everyone has the urge to slap the label green on anything and everything these days—whether it’s a consumer good or a lifestyle, green is definitely hot.  Seemingly everything is green—green jobs, green manufacturing, a green economy.  But is everyone on the same page about what exactly green is?  The answer appears to be no.  After combing through scores of reports and documents about green, it is clear that there are three distinct but related concepts defining green . 

Why do these differing definitions matter?  Many stakeholders have a lot of skin in the game. The federal government, state and local governments, industry groups, researchers and academic institutions, and non-profit and advocacy groups, have attempted to define and count green jobs.  For the green economy to come to be, successful strategic investment in future green workforces are critical – and clear consistent and meaning definition will drive this..  It is not possible to successfully train workers for the green economy without knowing precisely what it constitutes. 

When people talk about “green jobs” and the “green economy,” they’re usually referring to one of three green definitions: the worker-centered definition, the clean energy definition, or the broad environmental definition.

(a) The Worker-centered Definition of ‘Green’:
This definition is used by proponents including former Green Jobs Czar Van Jones and his Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, the Apollo Alliance, the BlueGreen Alliance, the Vice President Joe Biden’s Middle Class Task Force, and Green for All (also founded and led by Jones), as well as many local organizations.  These groups, which are heavily influenced by the labor movement and often include active participation by unions, have helped propel the ‘green jobs’ movement forward and played a fundamental role in putting green jobs on the political agenda.  The first cluster of definitions is worker-centered, focusing not on the economic output/product or the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to perform the work, but the “job quality,” i.e. worker’s compensation, job security, and opportunities for advancement.  From this cluster, an exemplary definition of green jobs is a “well-paid, career track job that contributes directly to preserving or enhancing environmental quality.”   

(b) Energy-centered ‘Green’ Definition
These definitions classify green jobs as jobs exclusively within the realm of energy production and consumption, specifically the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors (RE/EE).  While all three clusters of definitions recognize RE/EE as the foundation of the green economy, this cluster is distinct by its sole focus on RE/EE.  In other words, it is an energy and technology-driven definition.  This definition of green is used by many, most notably the federal government in its legislation regarding green (including the Stimulus) and many state governments. 

(c) All-encompassing ‘Green’ Definition
The third and largest cluster of definitions is comprised of the expansive, all-encompassing definitions that attempt to group all economic activities related to the environment as green jobs.  These definitions attempt to include, in other words, all jobs that ‘preserve or enhance environmental quality.’  These include jobs related to: renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction; energy efficiency; environmental remediation, including pollution control and clean-up; manufacturing of products related to green technologies; recycling and waste reduction; natural resource conservation and management; energy trading; environmental regulation, education, and protection/stewardship; mass transportation; energy and carbon capture; research, design, and consulting; and agriculture and forestry.  Groups who utilize these definitions range from O*NET, to multiple states, to the United Nations and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ initial, not-yet-official definition. 


These definitions are not necessarily in conflict, but they are certainly not interchangeable.  Policymakers, advocacy organizations, and workforce development folks would benefit from understanding their distinctions and the implications for workforce development and training. For more information, please see the Georgetown Univeristy Center on Education and the Workforce's website Measuring Green Jobs.

Green construction and solar installation for both photovoltaic and hot water needs are “hot” commodities in today’s workforce. Funded by the Department of Labor, YouthBuild programs across the country are training young people as entry-level solar installers, ready for registered apprenticeships or full-time work.

The McLean County YouthBuild in Bloomington, Illinois has engaged in green building techniques for several years, earning LEED and Energy Star status for the homes it builds for local low-income families. Last year, Chief Operating Officer and LEED certified construction director Brian Fitzgerald launched a new initiative – adding solar water heating units to each of six new homes under construction.

“We installed the solar hot water systems on six homes,” said Fitzgerald. “It was a great experience.” Working with professional plumbers and solar installers, YouthBuild students helped install, pipe and wire the systems, composed of two flat panel closed-loop glycol systems.

Students learned alongside the professionals, due to the relatively new technology. “Plumbers know plumbing, but not solar. And the solar installer didn’t know plumbing – so we all figured it out,” said Fitzgerald.

Bloomington families moved in this month, and have just started using the utilities. “We’ll measure for a while to determine the energy savings,” said Fitzgerald. For an estimated cost of $8,000 - $9,000 per house, the systems will provide all hot water needs.

“In the next generation,” promised Fitzgerald, “we’ll use the solar hot water to help heat the whole house through radiant floor heating, or pre-heating forced air systems.” McLean County YouthBuild plans to build another six houses using solar water heating beginning this fall. (http://www.youthbuildmcleancounty.org/joomla15/)

RichmondWORKS YouthBuild in Richmond CA has been training its students in solar photovoltaic installation and electrical skills for several years, meeting the need for solar electricity in the booming California market. Executive Director Sal Vaca described a strong partnership with local trades unions, the city, a solar manufacturing firm and community groups to identify homes for solar installations, train students, and secure solar panel supplies for low-income homes.

After completing basic construction skills training, YouthBuild students engage in another 10 weeks of construction apprenticeship and solar installation concentrated training, capped by two days of “lab” installation and two days of live panel installation. The experience has lead to several dozen students getting jobs in local solar companies upon graduation, with more on the job training and average wages of $18.33 per hour. (http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=1243)

The next phase for RichmondWORKS is to incorporate several more weeks of advanced training for students who wish to earn the NAPCEP entry level solar installer certification.
Many other YouthBuilds are offering solar training experiences to their students. Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, youth attending ARCH in Washington, DC designed and assembled “solar backpacks” – small, solar cell covered daypacks capable of charging 6-12 Volt batteries. The young people donated the backpacks to Haitian medical and education organizations for use in providing emergency power. (http://www.archdc.org/vocational.html)

Many other programs, including Casa Verde Builders of AmericanYouthWORKS in Austin, TX, combine Energy Star home efficiency with solar photovoltaic systems to deliver nearly net-zero energy costs to low-income families in their communities. (http://www.americanyouthworks.org/green-jobs-programs/casa-verde-builders)

These cutting edge green training programs are building a strong young workforce steeped in environmental awareness and high-demand skills.

RichmondWORKS YouthBuild students learn solar installation in the training lab during a 10-week additional solar/electrical course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RichmondWORKS students complete a live installation to serve a low-income family in their community. Many California companies need residential solar installers.

Fuel Cells and Jobs
Posted on July 21, 2010 by Green Jobs
0 Comments   Add Comments

Dr. Jonathan Butler is Senior Market Analyst, Asia specializing in market developments in the Asia Pacific region, with an emphasis on portable applications of fuel cells. His current focus includes supply chain developments, legislation, policy and intellectual property (IP) aspects of fuel cell technology, particularly patent and patent opposition analysis, and their commercial implications. He is also interested in the development of fuel cells in the Middle East.

 


As well as being clean and efficient sources of energy, fuel cells also represent a substantial opportunity for job and wealth creation, particularly in manufacturing of fuel cells and in installing, maintaining and servicing the units. In an increasingly uncertain economic climate, fuel cells may offer both economic stimulus and job creation.

In Europe and North America, there has been a great deal of political focus in recent years on job creation to stimulate economic growth and also to compensate for those being lost in declining industries, especially in regions severely hit by the recent recession. This echoes the ‘New Deal’ policies in the USA in the 1930s when huge public works programs were undertaken to create employment in the Depression. The 21st century versions of these policies are firmly aimed at creating jobs in potentially high-growth areas of the economy. Legislation such as the US Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act 2008 specifically emphasises the creation of ‘green collar’ jobs – manufacturing jobs focused on new, clean technologies. Similarly, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) 2009 has also provided a conduit for job creation, with billions of dollars being invested in the energy sector.

Fuel Cell Today has recently conducted analysis of job creation in the fuel cell industry over the next decade. According to our calculations, around 700,000 jobs could be created in fuel cell manufacturing over the next ten years, with over a million jobs in total when manufacturing and servicing is also included. Most of the jobs are expected to be created in manufacturing fuel cells for stationary applications (for example combined heat and power for buildings) with a heavy concentration of installation and maintenance jobs in regions where fuel cells are adopted, such as the United States. Manufacturing of fuel cells will largely take place in Asia, Europe and North America, although certain other regions with attractive government incentives, including South Africa and the Middle East, may also become important regions for fuel cell manufacturing.

When we compare fuel cell job creation with job creation in related clean energy sectors such as wind and solar, we see that fuel cells have the potential to create around 150,000 jobs per year by 2020, a similar number to the annual rate of job creation in the solar and wind energy sectors today. In other words, the fuel cell industry could be the next ‘green growth’ industry, facilitating green collar jobs, economic growth and contributing to energy security.

Our forecasts are based on a business as usual scenario, with assumptions on productivity improvements and expansion of fuel cell manufacturing built into our model. However, our model assumes that the appropriate levels of skills and training will be available to the fuel cell workforce – this is something that governments and industry need to invest in now to achieve these green collar jobs.

To see for yourself the job creation potential of the fuel cell industry, please visit our online job creation tool. This allows you to model job creation in the fuel cell industry in any one of the next ten years, broken down by application. Simply input shipment data! The Fuel Cell Today’s job creation tool is available from www.fuelcelltoday.com

For more information on fuel cells, please see our education kit:

http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/reference/education-kits

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