Posts tagged ‘solar’

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

A Bright Green Refresher: Categorized Advice for Green Jobseekers

Since February, we’ve been putting out daily advice for green jobseekers. If you’re new to our blog or want to poke around in a specific topic, here’s a nearly-complete list of our advice posts. Have a look around!

General:
Bright Green Talent’s 5 Ways to Ramp up your Job Search
Getting Oriented to Go Green
Getting Radically Tempered: Creating Change from the Inside
Paying it Forward
To School or Not to School?
Job Search Tip: Quality over Quantity to Keep Your Sanity
Linking People and Planet: Our Partnership with Solar Richmond
“Oh no, please don’t make me NETWORK!”

Sustainability Consulting:
Sustainability Consulting: What is it, and am I qualified? Part I
Sustainability Consulting: What is it, and am I qualified? Part II

Career Transitioning:
Perspectives from a Green Career Transition-er
To School or Not to School?
Getting Oriented to Go Green
Getting Radically Tempered: Creating Change from the Inside

Engineering:
Renewable Energy Inroads
Solar Opportunities to Match your Skill Set
Solar Classes and Certifications

Students and Recent Grads:
The Real Deal on Green Jobs for Students and Recent Grads
Get Skills; Get Savvy Part I
Get Connected (Networking 101)
How Not to Be a Jobseeker Horror Story
Resume Boot Camp I
Resume Boot Camp II
Resume Boot Camp III
Get Linked(In)

Networking:
“Oh no, please don’t make me NETWORK!”
Get Connected (Networking 101)
Get Linked(In)

Career Coaching:
Here to Help: BGT Launches Career Coaching
Career Coaching: Launch is a Success!
Kudos to Christina: Career Coaching Feedback

Tom’s (Rules of) Thumb
Green Jobs: The Definitive Article
Top Skills for Getting a Green Job
What’s the Best Way to Find a Green Job?
Twit Your Way to a Green Job
On Eco-preneurship

April 10, 2009 at 2:40 pm 1 comment

Lending a Hand to Jobseekers

img_0153Penned by Nick

It’s been a peripatetic week. I’ve got just a few short observations to offer, all with one general theme: there’s a lot going on around us that we aren’t paying attention to. Most good, some bad.

Despite the fact I feel like I have few hours to myself every day, I still manage to parse the NY Times daily. Their article on things anyone can do to help be part of the solution to unemployment is refreshing, insightful, challenging, and inspiring all at once. Give it a read–it could change your whole frame of thinking.

My own frame of reference took a big step this week when I observed a few Everyday Heroes installing PV panels in Richmond. Solar Richmond inspired me in a new way this past week, and reaffirmed my belief that green jobs are more than just a pathway out of poverty–they are the path to the future.

Despite that, unemployment continues to climb towards double digits in states nationwide (North Carolina and Oregon now both in double digits). Bright Green Talent itself is feeling the squeeze, though still able to catch a few rays of sun. Our in-house Everyday Hero, Squire Tom, continues to champion and inspire. We’re chasing rainbows and believe we’re near the pot of green gold. Stay tuned…we’re running into new fields. More to come.

April 2, 2009 at 4:49 pm Leave a comment

Reflections from the East Coast Tour

dsc_1294-1Penned by Nick

I just returned from a week on the East coast — Boston, New Haven, and New York — where I spoke with graduate students, local officials, and the NY Times about green jobs. The conversations were varied, but a few common themes emerged:

  • There’s a paucity of good information out there for those who want green jobs;
  • Strong federal support for green jobs has generated immense interest, but with few jobs available, many job seekers are starting to view this movement as a “shooting star”; and
  • Educational institutions are slow to evolve their curriculum to meet our environmental challenges.

Indeed, despite the warm reception we enjoyed on the East coast, the experience was slightly troubling. Nearly everyone I spoke with is just trying to “figure it out” — “it” being green jobs. How do we create them? How do we train people for them? And what will be their impact in the years ahead?

All good questions. And it’s important to think through the implications of pushing wind versus solar jobs, or a cap-and-trade system versus a carbon tax.
As I recently wrote, we’re nearing an inflection point in the environmental movement. Thomas Friedman observed that 2008 was, indeed, the year of change for the environment.

But these observations about the enormous opportunity in front of us run the risk of falling on deaf ears if people do not translate theory and talk into decisive action.

At a time when people are searching for meaningful careers, one of the most meaningful things people can do is act in the interest of the environment. Where there are no jobs, create them by becoming an entrepreneur.

March 12, 2009 at 10:46 pm 1 comment

Bright Green Speaks Out

With so much buzz around green jobs, journalists have been reaching out to us at Bright Green Talent to learn more about green jobs. Here are a couple recent hits:

Nick’s speaking today at Tufts’ Fletcher School and MIT Sloan; tomorrow he’s headed to Yale to speak with School of Management and School of Forestry and Environmental Studies students. Hope you can join him!

March 3, 2009 at 10:15 pm Leave a comment

Tom’s (Rules of) Thumb: Top Skills for Getting a Green Job

tom_green_face_biggerPenned by Tom

A few weeks ago, we asked you to send in your questions… and you did, they poured in – thank you! Over the coming weeks, I’ll be trying to respond to some of these. 

What are the top skills required to work in the green economy?

Obviously the skills required vary according to the jobs you’re hunting for – yet there are some interesting constants within the green movement. We hear certain trends over-and-over from organizations hiring in this sector. These are not exhaustive, nor exclusive, but they’ll give you an idea of the themes out there:

  • Experience is often as important as skills, unless you are applying for a highly skills-based position (i.e. solar engineer).
  • Experience is almost always more important than education.
  • Organizations want people who’ve got business experience, as well as environmental experience; thereby demonstrating a wider skill set.
  • The ‘ideal’ candidate is often someone who combines the two of these.
  • You can be too green. Organizations (including the non-profits) need people who understand how a business functions and is practical and realistic. If you refuse to use computers, fly or travel to work by car, for environmental reasons, you’re going to reduce the chances of getting many positions.
  • General environmental degrees are useful, but won’t distinguish you from the best people out there without these degrees. i.e. someone with a masters in environmental studies won’t always trump someone with a top degree from a good school – although obviously every little bit helps.
  • The top skills at the moment are generally specific to specialist roles, such as; engineering, solar technicians, energy assessors, planners.
  • You can determine which of these are ‘hot’ or not by glancing over green job boards.
  • Look through the recent moves by governments to stimulate interest in the green economy, there are clear trends that indicate which skills are in demand.
  • Check Carolyn’s previous post about skills for students
  • Also, see Raj’s post on technical (specifically solar) skills

Until next week!

February 27, 2009 at 11:14 pm 1 comment

Getting Technical: Solar Classes and Certifications

dsc_12741Penned by Raj

After going through last week’s exercise and having decided solar is right for you, it’s time to start realigning your skill set.

There are lots of programs that you can go through to get solar credentials on your resume. The American Solar Energy Society suggests a couple organizations that host workshops: Solar Energy International, the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the Solar Living Institute here in the Bay Area. You’ll find a range of classes for whatever your skill set is — for instance, Solar Living Institute is currently hosting “Solar Careers and Industry Opportunities,” “Intro to Photovoltaics,” “PV Design and Installation Intensive” and more. Not only will you gain skills and knowledge, but courses are a good opportunity to network with people in the solar space.

You can also go through a community college or local university — for example, UC Berkeley’s Extension school offers a whole set of courses in Environmental and Sustainability Management, including some solar specific classes: “Investment Grade Solar System Feasibility Studies,” “Solar Industry Orientation” and others. Check out schools around you.

Last, you can go get your hands dirty — GRID Alternatives is a great organization that gives you basic solar panel installation training and you’ll help install panels on low-income housing.

Stay tuned for more information on how to get into renewable energy!

February 25, 2009 at 5:42 pm Leave a comment

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