Posts tagged ‘efficiency’

Update: Waxman-Markey, Stimulus Dollars, and Green Jobs Training

Carolyn ThumbnailPenned by Carolyn

Watching this one minute video review of the energy bill in the House, one word resonates again and again: jobs. The potential for job creation in moving towards a clean energy future has become a rallying cry for proponents of the Waxman-Markey Bill — because who can argue with job creation when unemployment has officially hit 9.5% nationally?

In the past couple weeks, the Labor Department announced $500 million in grants for green jobs training programs. States and cities have also started to distribute stimulus dollars for training programs. If you’re interested in who’s getting funding and how, sign up for updates from Green for All — they’ve been giving a number of conference calls to keep folks in the loop and share information nationally about training programs. Most of the money that’s being doled out focuses on helping blue-collar workers transition into the green economy — providing “pathways out of poverty” as the nation undergoes energy retrofits, solar system installation, and more.

But some concerns remain. Yesterday, the New York Times brought into question the effectiveness of retraining programs in giving trainees a leg up in the job search. As the Times wrote, “a little-noticed study the Labor Department released several months ago found that the benefits of the biggest federal job training program were ‘small or nonexistent’ for laid-off workers. It showed little difference in earnings and the chances of being rehired between laid-off people who had been retrained and those who had not.”

Hopefully, the green jobs training programs will avoid the pitfalls that have led to the concerns raised by the NYT article, and will lend a hand to folks from all backgrounds and work histories — we hear from a lot of people who are looking to transfer technical skill sets and haven’t yet found a clear pathway in helping them do so. We have to believe that, with all the energy and enthusiasm focused on the green sector right now, there couldn’t be a better moment for these programs to succeed in training the next generation of environmental leaders.

To that end, we’ll continue to provide advice and resources to our jobseekers (keep an eye out for Bright Green Seminars starting in the next couple months), and we’ll support our partner Solar Richmond as they seek stimulus funding to support their amazing solar installation training program.

Stay tuned… more exciting developments are surely on the way.

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July 6, 2009 at 6:49 pm 1 comment

Bright Green Survey Results: Jobseekers Willing, Waiting, Wondering

Carolyn ThumbnailPenned by Carolyn

We recently surveyed 430 jobseekers who are interested in moving into the green sector. A couple of the statistics from our results stand out:

  • 50% of respondents are currently unemployed
  • 61% have a Master’s or PhD
  • 40% have an annual income higher than $80k; 24% have an annual income higher than $101k
  • 83% have previous experience or some training/experience that would be relevant to a green company
  • 69% say one of the strongest barriers to getting into the green sector is the lack of available jobs
  • 41% say lack of proper training is a barrier to entry

With all the talk about green collar workers (blue collar jobs in the green economy) and the stimulus money that has been allocated to green workforce development, little attention has been paid to the demographic in this survey: highly-qualified, well-educated people that are willing and ready to move into the green sector.

So what’s the hold up? What are the challenges they’re facing as they try to channel their skills and background towards the green sector? Beyond the 69% who say there just aren’t enough green jobs (because, realistically, there aren’t enough of any kind of job right now, with unemployment rates at over 9% nationally), 41% of our respondents said they don’t have the proper training and 33% said they just don’t know where to look.

What this illuminates is a basic need for training programs and clear direction for jobseekers on how and where to find green jobs. In fact, this only reinforces our own anecdotal understanding of the state of affairs — people come to us every day just wondering how they can get into a sector that’s seeming daily more and more like a mirage. Of late, there’s more frustration in their voices, and people are wondering if all these green jobs evangelists are really just snakeoil salesmen.

But after two years in this space, we remain confident that the jobs are not an illusion — if they were, we’d pack up shop and head elsewhere rather than leading people on. The immense sense of hope and optimism hung upon green jobs was multiplied exponentially by the state of the economy and soaring unemployment rates. Yes, the sector is still growing even despite the economy (confirmed by a recent Pew report) and green companies are hiring, but not at a rate that can keep pace with the demand created from hundreds of thousands of people that have suddenly flooded into the sector.

The take-aways? Our same old line: there might not be a green job for you right now, but in 6 months or a year, when the dust settles from the economic collapse, there will be. The stepping stone in between, and how you’ll succeed in separating yourself from the crowd when that time comes, is training and preparation.

We’re not saying you’re not willing — over 30% of respondents said they’d take a week for training in greenhouse gas accounting or energy audits, and another 30% said they’d take a month. Most were ready to put up somewhere between $100-$1000 for the training.

Bright Green Talent and some of our partners are working on creating and facilitating training to help you get on the right path. In the meantime, there are lots of great resources to help you learn and network as we all ride out the storm. Hang in there — opportunity and a clean, prosperous future are waiting on the other side.

June 18, 2009 at 5:07 pm 4 comments

Smart Grid 101: Definitions and Opportunities

Carolyn ThumbnailPenned by Carolyn

Smart Grid is one of those terms being thrown around the media and the green business sector – and for good reason, as it’s one of the most promising areas for growth even in this economy. In terms of being able to talk the talk in the green sphere, this is a concept you should be able to discuss with some level of intelligence and awareness.

Though there’s no singular definition attached to smart grid, it’s basically the concept of combining a power delivery system with a digital technology/metering system that allows utilities and consumers to adjust their electricity use with an end goal of increasing the efficiency of power usage nationally and globally.

Get familiar with some of the issues around implementing smart grid technologies, and why there’s so much buzz and hope for this growing green sector. Here are some resources to kick off your investigation:
  • The Department of Energy published a 48-page e-book called “Smart Grid: An Introduction,” which explores in layman’s terms the nature, challenges, opportunities and necessity of Smart Grid implementation in the U.S. and beyond. There’s a great glossary of terms in the back.
  • The Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition has information on the companies in the sector. Its member list (copied below) will give you a sense of some of the big players in the field.
  • This map of 101 Cleantech Startups shows several Smart Grid companies.
  • Smart Grid News gives information on companies in the sector, deals and transactions and trends in the industry.
  • Wikipedia has some basic background and interesting links.

And now, dive in to these companies and see where you might be interested in fitting in. Our usual thoughts on networking apply – run a search through LinkedIn to see who you know there; join some groups that the company’s employees are a member of to get exposed to the industry dialogue; read through the company bios; and check out job openings.

Aclara
Ambient
Amplex
CalAmp
Comverge
Conservation Services Group
Corporate Systems Engineering
CPower
Direct Energy
Echelon
Eka Systems
eMeter
Energy Capital Partners
Energy Curtailment Specialists
EnergySolve
EnerNOC
Enfora
Enspiria Solutions
General Electric
Google
Honeywell
IBM
Ice Energy
Itron
KMC Controls
Landis + Gyr
Lutron Electronics
Oracle
PCN Technology
Sensus
Silver Spring Networks
SmartSynch
Steffes
Tendril
Trilliant Networks
Ziphany

June 2, 2009 at 12:59 am Leave a comment

Proof in the Pudding: Environmental Initiatives and the Bottom Line

tom_green_face_biggerPenned by Tom

It’s always good to look at the bottom-line when assessing the environmental movement. There are a plethora of interesting success stories which demonstrate to executives the importance and benefits of going green, even if you’re a climate-change denier. Here are a few examples from Sustainable Business Consulting:

  • A Global cleaning products company maximized natural lighting, installed occupancy sensors and enabled employees to control heating and cooling at their work stations. The ROI: Saved nearly $100,000 a year.
  • A Fortune 500 global technology company gave employees the option to telecommute from home. The ROI: Saved $67.8 million in real estate costs in just one year and reduced 29,000 tons of CO2 emissions, and increased worker productivity by 34 percent.
  • A 41-story, Class A+ office building with 1,000,000 square feet of office space located in the US reduced unnecessary after-hours and weekend lighting and initiated a high efficiency lighting retrofit. The ROI: Saved $386,000 in annual operating expenses.
  • A Global cleaning products company restored native and drought tolerant plants, such as prairie grass and wild flowers, to the site. ROI: Saved $2,000 per acre in annual maintenance costs.
  • A Global forest products company encouraged employees to commute using vanpools, carpools, walking or biking. ROI: Reduced total vehicle miles driven by 1.2 million and reduced emissions by 66,884 pounds of CO2 in one year.
  • A US-based independent federal agency developed an advanced preventative maintenance inspection process for its delivery fleet. The ROI: Saved $3 million and 330,000 quarts of oil to date.
  • A Cancer research center utilized off-hour lighting, fan shutoffs, occupancy sensors, high-efficiency chillers, L.E.D. exit signs, heat recovery from washers and efficient lighting. The ROI: Saved $317,000 annually, which is enough electricity to power 1,200 homes annually.
  • A Medical center sent used toner cartridges to a recycling company that refurbishes and refills them. The ROI: Saved $20,000 annually.
  • A Healthcare company recycled more than 6,000 tons of paper, plastic, glass and aluminum waste. The ROI: Saved more than $300,000 in disposal costs, diverted more than 18,000 cubic yards form landfills.
  • A Major US-based retailer changed the specifications for individual item packaging and reduced the quantity of excess pins clips, bags, paperboard inserts, tape and tissue paper in its items. The ROI: Saved an estimated $4.5 million in labor costs and eliminated approximately 1.5 million pounds of waste.

May 15, 2009 at 6:51 pm Leave a comment

Green Job Search Tip: Quality over Quantity to Keep your Sanity

Christina headshotPenned by Christina

As applicants feel more and more desperate in applying to jobs, the old adage about quality over quantity holds truer than ever.  As you job search, consider that it is better to narrow your search to those positions that you are really interested AND those that you are actually qualified for.

These days, most positions are being filled with those that hit all the requirements and then some. I most certainly believe in aiming high and definitely don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but being realistic about positions in the current job market will save you effort and should better your chances of getting the positions that you do apply for.

Consider a couple points to keep in mind as you’re searching:

  • Do you fit the job description? If the job description lists 3-5 years experience of Smart Grid technology as a requirement and you are just graduating from undergrad, that is likely not a good match for you and by applying you may come across as lacking judgment. (Certainly, an unfortunate biproduct.)
  • If you do fit, make it obvious!  Trying to match your background to the requirements shouldn’t be a game of memory for the hiring manager.  The less work you create for him, the better the chances that your resume will be read closely.  Mapping your skills to the job requirements is important – see Raj’s previous post.  You can do this well by really understanding what the position entails which yes, will require research, networking, etc.
  • Keep cover letters short and applicable.  Again, this is a great place to highlight specifically how your background matches the requirements to be successful in the position, but if it’s too long, the reader will skim and value will be lost.

Next week: how to narrow and maximize your networking.

If you want to learn more about this in a personalized career coaching session, let us know – we’d be happy to help!

3Happy St. Patty’s Day – our favorite Bright Green holiday.  If you’re celebrating, follow Tom’s example and be safe and be green!

March 17, 2009 at 4:59 pm Leave a comment

Making Time

Part of our commitment to growing (see value 2) is refining the ways we work to ensure we’re making the most of our time and maximising our output. And as any entrepreneur/manager will tell you, this requires sometimes making tough choices (see value 4 – go the values!)

Here is a great article (with some good links to further articles) which might help and here are my additional thoughts:

1) Taming emails

Increasingly, I am unable to respond to all the emails I receive, resulting in some tough ‘delete’ decisions for emails I’d like to respond to. If you receive 150 emails a day, and can only write 100, you have to get a PA, or learn to delete, cut back and write shorter replies. Sorry to those of you who don’t get replies from me, but it’s not physically possible to reply to everyone! This article is a great starting point for solving your email-blues.

2) Eliminate unnecessary meetings

It makes sense, but is difficult to do. I always try to call people first as opposed to meet with them, saving time and carbon! Yes, a meeting is very valuable and 10 mins in a meeting is worth 30 on the phone, but you need to work out which meetings to attend.

A couple of extras from me:

3) Let people leave you a message

Don’t pick up your mobile if you don’t recognise the number. Ring them back when you’re ready for the call!

4) Plan your day

15 mins spent planning at the beginning of the day will be worth at least that by the time you finish. It also helps you compartmentalise your mind so you’re not juggling 15 thins at once.

5) Taking time with important things

Alongside all of this time-saving, there must be the understanding and commitment to spending time with the things that are important, whether exercising, talking to colleagues or getting some R&R. A hero of mine (Leonard Cheshire) said ‘When you have a pile of work to get through, pick up each piece as if it’s the only thing you’re doing to do that day’. Which I translate to mean, do 5 things well, not 10 things badly, because in the end, it’ll be worth it.

Oh and 6) Enjoy the extra time you create!

December 17, 2007 at 3:53 pm Leave a comment


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