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For the Green Jobs Community of Practice, Earth Day 2010 marks a significant milestone – a membership of nearly 1,000 workforce professionals.  Your contributions have made its early success and sustained growth possible.  As active members you have taken regular advantage of its numerous resources, commented on the various blogs, and shared your knowledge with colleagues across the workforce system.

In support of Earth Day 2010, the Green Jobs CoP wants to highlight the Department of Labor’s weekly newsletter and Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis’ hosting of a Web chat with students from more than 100 Job Corp Centers across the country.  Secretary Solis will discuss the Department of Labor’s efforts in support of green and safe jobs as well as a range of training opportunities in emerging industries. 

Over the past year, through the department’s Employment and Training Administration, $490 million has been awarded in Recovery Act funded green jobs training.  An additional $227 million in funds have been awarded in health care and high growth grants -- which include several grants related to clean energy.

Building on Recovery Act funds for construction, rehabilitation, acquisition and operations, more than 65 Job Corps centers have implemented “green” student training programs and commenced green construction projects.  These efforts are protecting the environment while creating and retaining jobs. Job Corps is also conducting an “Earth Day Every Day” campaign April 19th-23rd to raise environmental awareness among students nationwide. 
 
This event is also open to news media and stakeholders.

This is the second in a series of blogs, which be posted on Fridays over the next few months on the Green Jobs Community of Practice. The series will focus on the definition of green jobs and will highlight green jobs reports from various states. This blog features Oregon.

 

Charlie Johnson is the Oregon Employment Department’s Green Jobs Economist. Recently involved in conducting a statewide survey and other research related to Oregon’s green jobs, Charlie now coordinates the department’s efforts in a $1.25 million research grant focused on improving the state’s green jobs related labor market information.

 

In 2009, the Oregon Employment Department completed a survey to count the number of green jobs in Oregon, determine what wages they were paid, understand what education and training was required to obtain them, and project the demand for those jobs in coming years. Results from the survey were published in a report titled The Greening of Oregon’s Workforce: Jobs, Wages, and Training.

 

 

Top 5 Findings

  • Oregon had 51,000 green jobs in 2008
  • Oregon’s green jobs were found in every major industry and more than 220 occupations 
  • Roughly two-thirds of Oregon’s green jobs required no education beyond high school
  • Roughly two-thirds of Oregon’s green jobs paid wages that were equal to or greater than the state’s median wage for all jobs
  • Employers projected a 14 percent increase in the number of green jobs in Oregon between 2008 and 2010

We have learned much from our experience conducting this survey, and want to help other states as they consider how to measure their own green workforce. There are two lessons which we feel are particularly important to impart to others:

  1. Green jobs are everywhere. Don’t assume that green jobs will only be found in certain industries or occupations, and not in others. Cast a broad net to ensure you are counting green jobs in areas that are not popularly discussed as green. Ensure your definition of a green job is appropriately inclusive.
  2. Expect to be surprised. Many of our findings were “surprising” because they differed from popular commentary about green jobs. However, the data we collected has been widely used by many groups in Oregon because it is trusted as an objective source of information. Just because the data you collect is different than what you expect doesn’t mean it is wrong.


We are now conducting an extensive study of green jobs, attempting to identify the differences between green jobs and non-green jobs within the same occupation. We hope to identify any training gaps that need to be addressed in our workforce and education system to prepare workers for green jobs in the future.

I strongly encourage other states to share their experiences so that we can all learn from each other, and converge on the best practices for collecting workforce information related to green jobs.

 

For more information, please see the report: The Greening of Oregon’s Workforce: Jobs, Wages, and Training.

Suzanne Burd is the Adult Continuing Education & Renewable Energy Technology Program Coordinator for Columbia Gorge Community College in The Dalles, Oregon. In this capacity she is responsible for managing community education programs; contracted and customized training for business and industry; College representation to state, regional and local groups; and support to the Renewable Energy Technology program.

 

In 2006 Columbia Gorge Community College’s (CGCC) chief academic officer and officials noticed wind turbines springing up in the surrounding wheat fields and cattle ranches, and asked wind farm managers if they might need trained workers.  With a resounding “yes” from wind farm managers and help from its workforce training partners, CGCC conducted a needs assessment that determined an immediate need for over 300 wind turbine technicians to operate and maintain regional wind farms.  CGCC’s Renewable Energy Technology (RET) got its start in the 1990s with electronics courses for workers in the hydropower industry.  In time the program evolved, and began training technicians for the computer chip manufacturing industry.  As the tech bubble hit in the early 2000s the college closed its electronics program only to have it re-created into the existing renewable energy program.

To better understand wind technology and corresponding requirements the college's veteran electronics instructor spent a summer shadowing wind farm workers before writing the curriculum, while administrators sought grants for equipment.  Early in the development of the program industry was at the table lending a hand in curriculum development, equipment acquisition, and cash donations to the tune of $4.9 million to date.

The Renewable Energy Technology program accepted its first students in 2007 and a U.S. Department of Labor grant awarded in 2009 permitted a second entry point thus allowing 40 students to be admitted for the fall and spring semester of each year.   Interest in the RET program is so strong that each cohort is filled to capacity and the remaining qualified students have to be wait listed.  Since its inception, 66 one-year certificates and 23 two-year AAS degrees have been awarded.  The program is designed to create well-rounded industrial electronics technicians who can work in a variety of energy generation fields.

In the past few years, wind turbine companies were hiring from the ranks of farm kids, mechanics, and former utility company workers, and retired military personnel -- anyone handy with a wrench -- led by a few experienced managers brought in from elsewhere.  However, growth across the U.S. has been so fast, that those experienced people are pretty well depleted now, and many aspiring wind technicians want a college degree to go along with their training.  And, the wind site managers themselves are encouraging students to complete their Associate of Applied Science degree, citing that hiring managers weighing their options between a one-year certificate candidate and a two-year degree candidate will likely chose the higher level of education.  Not all of the students who complete the program want to work at a wind plant.  These students are using program completion as a resume builder, some are pursuing careers in other renewable energy fields and electronic engineering technology, and others simply want the experience.  Although the college has no formal placement services, there is regular contact with wind companies through job fairs and requests for student interviews.  Approximately 80% of the completers that want to work at a wind plant are hired.

Are there community members who had a similar start to their program?  If so please share them with us.

 

 

 

Chris Madison is the Senior Writer for the American Wind Energy Association.  This blog is the second in our series on the wind energy sector.

 

 

In the American wind energy industry, 2010 is a very important year for worker training and education. The industry’s trade association, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), is developing a way for schools that offer wind technician training to gain an AWEA Seal of Approval for their program.

There are scores of schools offering this training, and more are planning programs. Good news for their students, too: there are jobs. According to a story on SFGate.com, wind technician is one of the few categories where jobs are growing right now.  AWEA also maintains an Education Programs Database containing a searchable list of all the programs of which AWEA has been made aware.  The database can be found on AWEA’s website.

"People who install and service wind turbines are finding lots of job opportunities if they have good credentials," says Laurence Shatkin, PhD, author of 150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs. "When a community college in New Mexico started an associate degree program for wind energy technicians in 2008, an official of General Electric promised to hire all graduates of the program for the next three years."
As the wind industry began growing rapidly in recent years, the increased demand for wind technicians—and a need for uniform training standards--led AWEA to embark on the skills set effort.

A strong precedent was established during the 2008 Columbia Gorge Community College Summer Institute, where industry leaders and educators developed a preliminary version of a Wind Turbine Service Technician Core Skill Set.  Next came an AWEA Education Survey, which asked industry and education members to rate the importance of the skills put together at the Summer Institute.  Over 130 industry members participated in the survey.  In June 2009, educators and wind industry companies met to further refine the Wind Turbine Service Technician Core Skill Set, which was approved by the AWEA Board of Directors last November.

Now AWEA is working to set up a process for evaluating a training programs’ curriculum using the skill set approved by the AWEA board. AWEA is also setting up an industry review committee.  After those tasks are completed, schools will be invited to apply for the AWEA Seal of Approval for their wind technician programs. Information will be posted on the AWEA website as it becomes available.

It has been a long process but, in the end, there will be many benefits. For many AWEA member companies, including wind project developers, the wind technician recruitment and hiring practice will be streamlined because they will know that candidates coming from a program that has the Seal of Approval have learned the skills deemed necessary by AWEA’s industry and academic members. There is also a benefit for the training programs and students graduating from these approved programs when it comes to recruitment of instructors and students, and job prospects.

What do you think is the best way of evaluating a training program’s curriculum, what sort of criteria should we establish to accomplish this task?


 

The Advanced Transportation Technology & Energy (ATTE) initiative, funded through the California Community Colleges Economic and Workforce Development Program, has been on the forefront of hybrid technology development and delivery of passenger car, transit and heavy-duty hybrid training.

The ATTE initiative has risen to meet the increased demand of qualified maintenance technicians through partnerships with business and industry. Their cooperation and participation in the development of training modules and labs has assisted end-users of hybrid technologies.

As an example, in cooperation with the Southern California Region Transit Training Consortium (SCRTTC), a federally funded organization, the ATTE initiative has upgraded the skill sets of new and incumbent heavy-duty industrial and transit maintenance technicians. These technicians received 17,000 training hours of advanced training, in the transportation technology field, through ATTE programs. The training has taken place in such locations as Long Beach City College, Cypress College, Miramar College and on-site for many transit and private organizations throughout the State.

Partnering with engine manufacturers and transit operators, such as ISE Corporation, Los Angeles Metropolitan Authority and Long Beach Transit, the ATTE initiative has ensured that the quality training is on the cutting edge of emerging hybrid technology. This continuing relationship with industry and the end-users allow ATTE‘s curriculum to be used as the standard for heavy maintenance technician training programs throughout the state of California.

For more information please visit California Community Colleges  or Advanced Transportation Technology & Energy.

To our community members, are there other examples of community colleges impacting hybrid vehicle training?

Katie Gilks works for the CA Community Colleges in the Economic & Workforce Development Program.

This is the fifth in a series of blogs, which be posted on Fridays over the next few months on the Green Jobs Community of Practice. The series will focus on the definition of green jobs and will highlight green jobs reports from various states. This blog features California and its lessons learned.

 

Bonnie Graybill has been a manager in the California Labor Market Information Division since 1991, currently serving as Deputy Division Chief for Programs and Local Information.  Beginning in Spring 2008, Bonnie and her staff have been studying the green economy.  Bonnie’s career in State government began in 1973, in Employment Development Department’s (EDD) Personnel Office.  In ensuing years, she managed various programs at the State Personnel Board and EDD, including serving as Planning Chief for EDD’s Director. 

 

California’s LMI staff has been studying the green economy, and recently completed a survey of green jobs and green practices for the state, surveying over 50,000 businesses across the economy—all industries, all geographies and all size classes. Results from the can be viewed in a presentation entitled California's Green Economy.

 

 

California’s Lessons Learned from Conducting a Green Economy Survey of Employers

1. What are the top three or essential things to consider and resolve before you begin to develop your plan to conduct a survey of green jobs, occupations and/or industries?

  • Define “green” with partners Work with stakeholders to explore possible definitions of green for you survey.  It is critical to have definition that will allow employers to provide responses that unambiguously describe their situation. Consider definitions used by other organizations in your state and outside your state. Discuss how these potential definitions will address questions raised in your state. Building the definition with partners will contribute to the buy-in you will get once the survey is complete.
  • Decide what questions you need to ask and design survey instrument Limit your survey to the absolute minimum number of questions needed to address the most important questions for your stakeholders. This may require a great deal of work to achieve agreement among your partners as to the most important items but will promote a higher response rate from employers. Be sure the questions are clear and will elicit the desired response.  If you develop an online version of the questionnaire, make sure the questions are completed in the same manner as the paper version.
  • Pretest the survey instrument Do an adequate amount of outreach with employers to pretest the survey questionnaire.  Introduce the survey and the goals/purpose of the research to a subset of the sample (about 100 employers) and ask them to complete the questionnaire.  Follow-up by interviewing individual employers about anything they thought was confusing, misleading, poorly worded, etc.  Review employer responses and concerns with the survey team to identify potential clarifications and improvements to the questionnaire. Retest the edited survey with a subset of the pretest group to ensure that the edits corrected the issues they may have identified.  
  • Select your sample and verify addresses and phone numbers Determine how you are going to select your sample; all industry vs. particular industries, private industry only vs. including public firms, site selection vs. firm selection. Allow adequate time for address refinement after the sample is drawn.  Look up/confirm telephone numbers at the same time you are refining addresses because there is a good chance you will be making follow-up calls to employers.  Build in sufficient time to send introductory post cards to the sampled employers to announce the survey and help with address verification. If the post cards come back as undeliverable, you know you have address research to do.  Tracking down correct addresses for employers, particularly in a declining economy, was troublesome for us.  Even after three rounds of address refinement we had thousands of undeliverable surveys returned by the post office.
  • Prepare for survey data collection by phone If you plan to collect survey data by phone, develop the training early and spend a sufficient amount of time training the phone staff.  Two-to-four hours of training is not sufficient.  Train the phone staff in how to overcome objections gracefully, tactfully, and with enthusiasm so employers are willing to stay on the phone long enough to complete the survey. Have the phone staff role play with each other until they are all comfortable with any potential scenarios.  Train phone staff not to adlib on the questions and not to bail out halfway through the survey.  Plan on supervising the phone staff at unannounced times (e.g. frequent physical “management by walking around” type monitoring.)
  • Develop a survey transmittal letter The letter that accompanies the survey when sent to employers should be signed by someone who is respected in the field of research and not subject to political influence.  California’s survey was sent under Governor Schwarzenegger’s signature at a time when trust/respect for the Governor was less than favorable  If disenfranchised employers viewed the green survey as the Governor’s pet project they were less likely to respond to the survey except to voice their (strong) disapproval. In fact, our response rate doubled when we sent out a humble “last chance” letter signed by our division chief.
  • Announce the survey in one or more press releases Prior to the first mailing of surveys, work with the media to post press releases regarding the coming survey and the importance of employers’ prompt, accurate response.  Take a lesson from the Census media blitz that has been in the media for the past couple of months.
  • Review completed surveys as they are received Review not only the questionnaire but compare industry and employment to QCEW. We did not review surveys completed online until we were into data analysis.


2. What was the most important lesson learned that will save time and grief?

  • Build a database! Create the necessary technical infrastructure to house the complete sample and all related employer-specific data and all survey response data.  Make sure you have the technical staff skills needed to process and analyze the data. It has been problematic for California to maintain all survey data in Excel spreadsheets because of the size of the spreadsheets, insufficient memory and/or processing power to work with such large files, and the limitation of only one person being able to work on a file at a time.  Also, cleansing the response data; developing the weighting, non-response adjustment factors, benchmarks, and variances when working with five or six or more different files is extremely cumbersome and opens the door to potential errors. The process was laborious and time consuming, at a time when we wanted to move forward more quickly with our analysis.

 

What are some lessons that YOU learned from Green Jobs Surveys?

This is the first in a series of blogs, which be posted on Fridays over the next few months on the Green Jobs Community of Practice. The series will focus on the definition of green jobs and will highlight green jobs reports from various states. The first blog in the series is a description of the Workforce Information Council's report: Measurement and Analysis of Employment in the Green Economy, which analyzed several existing state green jobs surveys and reports.

The Workforce Information Council (WIC) published a report: Measurement and Analysis of Employment in the Green Economy,  in October 2009 to provide information to the WIC, LMI units and other interested parties on working definitions and methods to estimate and analyze green job employment. The material is designed to serve as a starting point to inform states that plan to undertake green jobs studies.

In researching existing studies, the WIC looked at state surveys of green jobs and reports, specifically Washington, Michigan, Oregon and California with two LMI analytical reviews from Connecticut and New York. These states already developed and used measurable definitions of green jobs and green activities and served as a learning laboratory. Based on their work, a combination of a measurable definition of green jobs, survey-based green job data, and existing LMI will provide a strong base on which to develop and provide information on green jobs.

The report covered the following topics: Measuring Green Jobs-Objectives and Guiding Principles, Defining Green Jobs and Related Concepts, Survey Approaches to Estimating Green-Related Employment,  Analytical and Qualitative Methods to Study Green-Related Employment, Labor Market Information for a Green Economy, and Action Plan.

From the analysis, the WIC identified a working definition of a green job and provided recommendations. 

For more information, please see the report.

This is the fourth in a series of blogs, which be posted on Fridays over the next few months on the Green Jobs Community of Practice. The series will focus on the definition of green jobs and will highlight green jobs reports from various states. This blog features California.

 

Bonnie Graybill has been a manager in the California Labor Market Information Division since 1991, currently serving as Deputy Division Chief for Programs and Local Information.  Beginning in Spring 2008, Bonnie and her staff have been studying the green economy.  Bonnie’s career in State government began in 1973, in Employment Development Department’s (EDD) Personnel Office.  In ensuing years, she managed various programs at the State Personnel Board and EDD, including serving as Planning Chief for EDD’s Director. 

 

California’s LMI staff has been studying the green economy, and recently completed a survey of green jobs and green practices for the state, surveying over 50,000 businesses across the economy—all industries, all geographies and all size classes. Results from the can be viewed in a presentation entitled California's Green Economy.

 

 

Our working definition of “green” jobs is:

Green jobs produce (“supply”) goods or services that result in:

  • Generating and storing renewable energy
  • Recycling existing materials
  • Energy efficient product manufacturing, distribution, construction, installation, and maintenance
  • Education, compliance and awareness
  • Natural and sustainable product manufacturing

Preliminary findings from our survey include:

  • Nearly 15,200 employers responded
  • 8.6 percent of employers report employees working on green products and services
  • About 3.8 percent of all workers are working on green products and services
  • About two-thirds of green workers spend more than half time on green aspects of job
  • 63 percent of employers report using at least one green business practice
  • Three-quarters of current green workers were trained on the job
  • About 15 percent of employers in our sample went out of business during this difficult time in our economy

There is a lot of interest in our findings.  We gave a presentation on our preliminary findings on April 7, 2010 that can be viewed here.

We will be publishing a report on our findings in early May, and follow with a series of reports focusing on industry and geographic details.  We are gathering additional information on green occupations and skills in the year to come.

We are happy to hear what other states are doing, and answer questions if we can! 

Wind Energy
Posted on April 07, 2010 by Green Jobs
0 Comments   Add Comments

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

Subsequent postings will be from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) describing its efforts to identify the skill sets required for wind technicians, and Columbia Gorge Community College discussing its wind program.

Green Profile: Wind Energy Industry

 

This is the third in a series of blogs, which be posted on Fridays over the next few months on the Green Jobs Community of Practice. The series will focus on the definition of green jobs and will highlight green jobs reports from various states. This blog features Missouri.

 

Mary Bruton is the Workforce Analysis Manager at the Missouri Research and Information Center (MERIC), the research arm of the Missouri Department of Economic Development and Missouri’s Labor Market Information office.  Mary’s expertise is in occupational and workforce research, analysis of talent development systems, competency analysis, policy evaluation, and coordination of public and private organizations for business retention research and planning.

 

 

In 2009, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center completed a survey for the Missouri Division of Workforce Development in the Missouri Department of Economic Development. This report constitutes Missouri’s first survey of green-identified industry sectors and quantifies the number of green jobs in the state. In addition, the report focuses on the number and characteristics of green occupations in Missouri including the in-demand skill sets required for maintaining a just-in-time talent pipeline for green industry sectors. Results from the survey were published in a report titled The Missouri Green Jobs Report.

 

Survey Findings

  • Missouri boasts 131,103 total green jobs—both primary and support positions—among employers. There are 28,720 primary green jobs and 102,383 green supporting jobs.
  • A majority (71%) of employers surveyed stated that current economic conditions were the largest barrier toward hiring additional green workers. This finding highlights the potential for growth in Missouri’s green economy as national recovery efforts help to mitigate the downward spiral of employment in the next few years.
  • Almost 80% of employers in the survey stated that they utilize in-house classrooms or on-the-job training to train workers in green jobs. Surveyed employers also indicated that the top three skill sets needed for future green workers are waste minimization, pollution reduction control, and principles of energy conservation.
  • The survey estimated green employment for 160 detailed occupations. Occupations that represented the largest share of primary green employment include: refuse and recyclable material collectors, chemical technicians, plumbers, refrigeration mechanics and installers, and architects.
  • Primary green occupations with the most opportunity for growth through 2016 include construction managers, environmental engineering technicians, operating engineers, electricians, environmental engineers, and pipe layers. The occupations cited span a variety of education and skill levels.

Lessons Learned: It is hard to get valuable employment trend information from employers in a survey so we had to validate base employment information from our QCEW database. We were not able to use the self-reported projected employment figures due to large standard errors in the estimates. We instead relied on existing employment projections methods to determine green demand.

Next Steps: We plan to conduct a follow-up green industry employer survey under our LMI Improvement Grant to investigate supply/demand issues in green economy including demand and distribution issues.

For more information, please see the report: The Missouri Green Jobs Report.

I would be curious to hear how other states have handled “projected demand” for green jobs!

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