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May 26, 2008
Make Way for “Green Collar” Jobs
- Maria Theresa S. Samante Email this article

The need for “green collar” jobs, as tagged by the 2008 US Presidential candidates is rapidly increasing due to the lost of manufacturing and outsourcing jobs. Eyeing to serve as a replacement, green collar jobs includes occupation that has something to do with installing solar panels, weatherizing homes, brewing bio-fuels, building hybrid cars and erecting giant wind turbines.


Green collar jobs are expected to increase in the next few decades due to the call to conserve energy in the homes business and industry. Green collar jobs are the upgraded jobs of blue collar except that it is more concerned with environmental projects as informed by the chief executive of the Apollo Alliance, Lucy Blake.  Apollo Alliance is a coalition of environmental groups, labor unions and politicians seeking to transform the economy into one based on renewable energy Lucy Blake.


Estimatedly there are about 8.5 million jobs in renewable energy or energy efficient industries. According to the President of Apollo Alliance, Jerome Ringo, they expect  US to produce about three to five million green jobs over the next ten years.


Van Jones, president of Oakland-based organization Green for All, green jobs would be helpful in providing jobs and lifting up workers out of poverty since it cannot be outsourced. According to him, if there are jobs, like weatherizing buildings or putting up solar panels, they would have do it in the United States and not in other place.


Advocates say that the job would be good for both the workers and the environment. They also ensure that the wage of green job workers would be enough to afford a decent and comfortable lifestyle. Green jobs require special skills, including technical and physical ability to maintain a giant wind turbine.


Johnson Controls, which handles the heating and cooling systems of buildings all over USA will hire 60,000 workers for green jobs over the next decade according to the director of public sector markets Joy Clark-Holmes.


“We see the market for greening our customers as growing,” Ms. Clark-Holmes said.


Some high caliber people have left their fields and join the campaign to build the green economy. This includes Lois Quam who helped established and managed a $30 billion division of UnitedHealth Group. Likewise, a health insurer joined the renewable energy cause, becoming managing director for alternative investments at Piper Jaffray, an investment bank based in Minneapolis. She is setting up investment funds that focus on renewable energy and clean energy.


“The development of a green economy creates a broad new set of opportunities,” Ms. Quam said.


She also said that many people are asking if green jobs will be as big as the Internet, but according to her it would become even larger than the Internet. The salary for one who assembles parts of the wind turbines is $17 an hour in his job, while other assembly workers earn $13.50 an hour.

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