Green Technology

CalABC California Automotive Business Coalition

Green technology, the continuous development of methods and materials used to decrease environmental impacts, is the driving force that leads the movement of twenty-first century energy innovation. Creating the green workforce and “green-collar jobs” is what makes it all happen. Most green-collar jobs pay a living wage, provide healthy and safe working environments, and offer career advancement opportunities. Green jobs are found in traditional employment sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, installation, fabrication, and operations. Other occupations exist in urban and rural communities, such as renewable energy, energy-efficient auditing, power plant operations, facilities management, engineering, etc. 

From a workforce perspective, green technology spans all levels of education and skill sets including those used for research and development of alternative energies, building new efficient homes and facilities, and operating cleaner and more efficient utilities. According to Nicholas Parker, CEO of Cleantech Network, “For every $100 million of venture capital dollars invested in clean technology, 2,500 jobs are directly created”. Among the factors driving the growth and development of green technology are legislation and government policies which provide incentives and requirements for cleaner development and technology, demand for sustainable energy sources and materials due to advances in technology and increased costs of traditional energy and commodities, and the opportunity for job creation and profit. The solar industry is one of the largest components in energy generation. A recent assessment of solar’s current and future workforce in Silicon Valley revealed that there are currently 1,500 workers in Silicon Valley in Solar Industry and industry growth is currently at about 35% per year. By 2017, Silicon Valley expects another 10,000 to 20,000 solar workers; 60% manufacturing and installation, 20% sales and marketing, and 20% engineering. 

It is generally agreed that the development of green technology is an integral aspect in the building of new infrastructure. Moreover this industry has massive potential for the development of impoverished and crime-ridden communities. One example is a new vocational training program in East Los Angeles sponsored by a non-profit Los Angeles organization, Homeboy Industries, in partnership with the East Los Angeles Skills Center, a public vocational school that offers a hands-on program to teach the design, construction, and installation of solar panels.25 By teaching ex-cons to install solar panels this program allows them to improve their skill set and market themselves for the new green economy.
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