Green Jobs in Oregon
We hear lots about “green jobs”, but just what are they exactly? It turns out that Oregon has an official definition:
A green job is one that provides a service or produces a product in any of the following categories:
- Increasing energy efficiency
- Producing renewable energy
- Preventing, reducing, or mitigating environmental degradation
- Cleaning up and restoring the natural environment
- Providing education, consulting, policy promotion, accreditation, trading and offsets, or similar services supporting any of the other categories
Using this definition an Oregon Employment Department survey found
- In 2008 there were over 51,400 green jobs in 226 different occupations
- Many green jobs are in blue collar occupations
- On average green jobs tend toward slightly higher wages than jobs across the entire economy
- Two-thirds of green jobs require no education beyond high school
- About one-third of green jobs require some kind of special license/certificate.
These details and many more survey findings can be found in The Greening of Oregon’s Workforce: Jobs, Wages and Training report, issued in June 2009. The Oregon Employment Dept. is now conducting a much more detailed study running from December 2009 to May 2011, which will add to our understanding of the green jobs sector.
Jobs Performed Sustainably
It’s important to note that the above definition for green jobs is not synonymous with jobs that are performed sustainably.
- EVERY job needs to be done sustainably, with a goal of minimizing or eliminating negative impacts to sustainability. Forward thinking businesses in all sectors are seeking employees who not only meet the typical requirements of the job, but who also can demonstrate knowledge of sustainability concepts. That may be what is necessary to be competitive in their job market.
- Not all jobs meeting the green job definition are being done sustainably. In some cases they even cause negative sustainability impacts while providing the service or product described in the green jobs definition. Example: the job of transporting equipment for a green job would qualify even if it is performed with a low-efficiency, polluting truck.
The Greening of Oregon’s Workforce: Jobs, Wages and Training report issued in June 2009
For general information, see Sustainability and Jobs