Best American Cities for Green-Collar Jobs and Top 25 Green Job Titles
What Is "Green Collar"?
A green-collar job is understood as one that is connected to eco-friendly or sustainable products and services. Examples include recycling operations, alternate/renewable/sustainable energy sources and products, clean technologies, construction via green building (LEED), organic farming, solar panel production and installation, bicycle repair, green algae oil production, and many other emerging endeavors.
There exits an abundance of economic opportunity in green industries. From 2010 - 2020, the green industry cluster has comprised the fifth largest market sector in America and looks to be moving up the ranks of the top five industries.
US agencies and contractors, citizens, large corporations, and small businesses have all begun to implement initiatives for "going green" toward sustainable energy to conserve resources.
Green Collar Industry
The green industry cluster comprises the fifth largest market sector in the United States of America.
Going Green for a Growing Economy
For-profit and non-profit companies are implementing recycling and community effort programs to clean up their cities and metropolitan areas. Employers are offering reimbursements for purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles or finding other means of commuting. Recyclable materials are more frequently used in business. Finding eco-friendly employment should become easier and easier at this movement continues.
By definition and nature, green jobs are local market area positions and because of this, these jobs can create employment opportunities for previously unemployed or underemployed people. They boost local economies by keeping dollars spent at home, rather than shipping jobs overseas and placing Americans on public assistance.
Green Enterprise Zones are proposed for a local and federal government efforts in targeting economic growth in specified neighborhoods. This concept will put thousands of Jobs Corps and vocational school graduates to work and remove citizens from the public assistance rolls.
Some Successful Green Enterprise Zones
The Buckeye State has formed GEZs in Wilmington in the Ohio Space Corridor, and Vancouver BC transformed a large downtown industrial zone into the GEZ. The Green Metropolis Opportunity Project is creating these zones in the port cities of San Francisco, Oakland, and Richmond, California. The GEZ is becoming a well known character in cities across North America.
America's First Green Job Corps Began in Oakland
The Oakland, California Green Platform
In September 2006, city leaders initiated the "Apollo Challenge," to encourage the public and private sectors to adopt a green jobs platform across the board.
The first signers of this petition were an eclectic group that included an electrician, a poet, a city council member, an activist, and a job counselor. They were successful with their petition.
Oakland, California's Model "Global Green City"
Oakland's constituency asked retired Congressman Ron Dellums to run for mayor and he agreed to run on the platform of making Oakland a "model city" with a green vision, universal health care aims, and better education. He decreed that Oakland would become the "Silicon Valley of Green Capitals" because:
- Oakland is a sunny, windy city, able to lead the industry in solar and wind power.
- The "green wave" of investment is active and alive in the Bay Area in the 2010s.
- An advantageous court settlement in an energy lawsuit provided millions of dollars for the city to spend on sustainability. Further, a recent bond issue provided community colleges with investment dollars for green collar job programming and the greening of campus operations.
The Oakland Apollo Alliance Chapter of the National Apollo Alliance met to create 3,000,000 clean-energy jobs through 2016, offering hope to low-income people and persons of color in green industries. This included:
- People's Grocery deliveries of fresh organic food to low-income families.
- California Youth Energy Services training and paying youth to complete energy audits.
- Developers via Apollo Alliance are still building Red Star Homes, a system of green buildings constructed by individuals released form prison. The system is transforming a previously toxic brown-field (polluted area) into a clean, green living space.
Three Overall Goals of the Model:
- Creating the nation's first "Green Jobs Corps" for a new green economy. In fact, Oakland successfully transformed an area into this first corps, followed by GEZs.
- Creating "Green Enterprise Zones" (GEZs) in Oakland and other cities where green businesses and green-collar employers receive incentives and tax benefits to build green buildings and to hire locals. This Green Economic Development Plan identifies ways to enable sustainable enterprises that hire locals, bring in money, and keep it at home.
- Pursuing the "Green the Port" movement inspired by Los Angeles, city leaders help to refit the Oakland port to biodiesel to reduce toxic emissions. An infamous public health threat will be defeated by this green model for sustainability.
Global Green City: The District of Columbia's Green Job Corps helped the nation's capital to enter the sustainability industry sector strongly.
Washington DC is one of many American cities to implement a "Green Jobs Corps" effort. This project puts older teens and young twenty-somethings to work in creating urban green infrastructures for healthier environments and healthier economies.
Good urban ecosystem management will create tens of thousands of new jobs nationally and save billions of dollars by 2025. Green collar training provides skills in urban landscape management and a reliable, well-educated labor force to make that possible.
The new urban-based Green Collar Job Training and Job Placement Program you are likely to hear about soon will:
- Provide employment;
- Build clean and green communities and prioritize the need for green collar jobs;
- Teach fundamental, marketable skills in a hands-on, inquiry-based manner (the most effective way to learn);
- Nurture confidence, social skills, and respect for eco-stewardship;
- Support green businesses in their development;
- Promote green job placement via partnerships with local businesses, green employers, and employment agencies;
- Create partnerships with job-readiness, job placement, AmeriCorps, and many other workforce development efforts; and
- Supply green services and beautification to local facilities of green training courses.
- Graduate apprentices in green our training will be placed in jobs in landscaping, park maintenance, and nurseries. Partners in the DC area include Earth Conservation Corps, the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, Covenant House Washington (see map below), The Coalition for the Homeless, along with other humanitarian and green entities.
Top 25 Green Jobs and Average Salaries Through 2025
These 25 positions will increase most in numbers available, from highest to lowest increases (Salary data for 2010 from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics):
- Hydrologist: The median annual income is $51,080.
- Environmental Engineer: The median annual income is $50,000.
- Pest Control Technician: The median annual income is $30,500.
- Conservation Biologist: The median annual income is $52,480.
- Science Teacher: The median annual income of kindergarten, elementary, middle and secondary school teachers ranges from $41,400 to $45,920.
6. Toxicologist: The median annual income is $79,500.
7. Pollution Control Technician: The median annual income is $32,000.
8. Fund-raising Director: The median annual income is $45,000.
9. Ecologist: The median annual income is $68,950.
10. Camp Counselor: The median annual income is $19,320.
11. Business Manager: The median annual income is $50,000.
12. Economist: The median annual income is $72,780.
13. Forester: The median annual income is $48,230.
14. Environmental Attorney: The median annual income for attorneys specializing in construction, real estate, and land use is $70,000.
15. Community Affairs Manager: The median annual income is $56,000.
16. Environmental Health and Safety Technician: The median annual income is $35,500.
17. Landscape Architect: The median annual income is $53,120. For landscape architects in nonsupervisory, supervisory and managerial positions for the federal government, the average annual income was $74,508.
18. Waste Disposal Manager: The median annual income is $35,000.
19. Environmental Chemist: The median annual income is $51,080.
20. Corporate Waste Compliance Coordinator: The median annual income is $39,000.
21. Urban and Regional Planner: The median annual income is $45,250.
22. Agricultural Inspector: The median annual income is $35,000.
23. Wastewater Water Operator: The median annual income is $35,000.
24. Wildlife Biologist: The median annual income is $42,000.
25. Pollution Control Engineer: The median annual income is $66,000.
Best Practical Green Job Resources
- 1% for The Planet.1percentforplanet.com: Great source of companies making the pledge to environmental practices.
- Co-op America Green Pages: coopamerica.org/pubs/greenpages
- Eco-Employ. ecoemploy.com/ Find environmental job listings.
- ECO JOBS. ecojobs.com/ Subscription based service, but may help you find the green job of your dreams. It features jobs, degree programs, and internships.
- Environmental Career. environmentalcareer.com/
- Enviro-Yellow Pages, The Yellow Pages for Sustainability and Jobs: enviroyellowpages.com/Resources/Jobs/index.html
- Green Business. greenbusiness.net/ This site requires a small monthly fee to participate, but the information, sources, and contacts are priceless.
- Simply Hired job search engine at simplyhired.com/ Type in keywords such as "green, organic, sustainable, renewable" and you can find jobs available in your area.
- Business Incentives in Wilmington, Ohio: ci.wilmington.oh.us/incentives.cfm Retrieved May 6, 2017
- Cranes' Detroit: www.crainsdetroit.com/assets/PPT/CD676961120.PPT Retrieved May 6, 2017.
- Green Metropolis Opportunity Project | César E. Chávez Institute: cci.sfsu.edu/gmop Retrieved May 6, 2017.
- Kaufman, A.C. Democrats Increasingly Support The Idea Of A Green Jobs Plan: Poll. HuffPost; October 23, 2018. www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/democrats-green-jobs_us_5bd215a7e4b0d38b588176be Retrieved November 8, 2018.
- US.gov: US Bureau of Labor, US Census, and US Bureau of Statistics, Retrieved April 13, 2015 and May 5, 2017.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
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© 2007 Patty Inglish MS