California’s Green Occupational Research and Related Internet Publications by Michael Boucher

Posted by Thao Nelson - On May 05, 2011 (EST)

Editor's Note:  Meet our guest blogger this month- Michael Boucher, Research Analyst for EDD/Labor Market Information Division/Occupational Research Unit for the state of California.  He shares what's been going on with green occupational research in California.

Employment Development Department’s Labor Market Information Division (LMID) has accomplished a lot since our now-retired Deputy Division Chief, Bonnie Graybill, blogged in this space 5 ? months ago. Even before the release of California’s Green Economy Summary of Survey Results Report, LMID began conducting research on 34 green occupations identified in the survey. LMID uses the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network (O*NET) as a baseline for green occupational research and augments the information with in-house research by analysts and graduate student assistants. Research consists of literature reviews, phone conversations with green employers, visits to various green companies around the state, contacts with LMI shops around the country, and surveys designed in conjunction with the California Community Colleges Centers of Excellence. One of the end products of this green occupational research is the “greening” of our California Occupational Guides.

As we have begun to go through this process, analysts are adapting themselves to the different challenges posed by occupations that are new and emerging. Chief among these issues is the fact that some of these occupations do not yet have Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes, which precludes the availability of concrete wage and job outlook information. In order to provide this LMI data for emerging green occupations, we have to rely on anecdotal information from reliable external resources to establish wage ranges and job outlook until the occupations can be formally surveyed.

Consequently, we have differing “tiers” of Guides under the green umbrella:

Tier #1) Full Web-based California Occupational Guide with local data:
An occupation in this tier has an assigned SOC code, which means it includes comprehensive information under categories such as What Would I Do, Tools and Technology, Green Economy, Important Tasks and Related Skills. Local and statewide annual and hourly wages, employment projections, and staffing patterns are also available. Green language is dispersed throughout the Guide, especially in the “What Would I Do?” and “How Do I Qualify?” sections. (Example: Soil and Plant Scientists)

Tier #2) Limited Web-based California Occupational Guide
In this tier, occupations do not have a specific SOC code, but, may have an O*NET secondary code that establishes the occupation as a specialty of the main SOC occupation (and will possibly have an SOC code of its own in the future). These occupations have significant change to the work and worker requirements.  The essential purposes of the occupation remain the same, but tasks, skills, knowledge, and other external elements, such as credentials, have been altered.  The wage and employment projection data will be for the occupation with the standard SOC code, not the breakout specialty. (Example: Electricians)

Tier #3) PDF versions of our California Occupational Guides for New and Emerging Green Occupations
Since the occupations in this tier are relatively new and just beginning to emerge in the green economy, they have not been assigned a SOC code.  Consequently, the Guides for these occupations will have limited wage and outlook. The bulk of the research is concentrated on satisfying the labor market information gaps in these burgeoning professions within the green economy. (Example: Recycling Center Operators)

We currently have 24 green California Occupational Guides available on the Web, with many more either in the process of being completed or planned for the immediate future. Of course, due to the fluidity of the green economy, we will continue to update those Guides already posted on the Web as new information becomes available.

Finally, to echo Bonnie’s sentiments from November, I am very excited to be part of the vanguard here at LMID in researching green occupations and helping workers find employment in the green economy.  Furthermore, as a native Californian and a father of two little boys, I am very proud of California for taking advantage of its vast resources and being a worldwide trendsetter in reducing carbon footprints and promoting green innovation, technology, and workforce development.

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Modified On : May 05, 2011
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