There's no doubt about it: Green is the new black. It's hip, cool, and sexy to work an environmentally friendly position that allows you to "do good." (Apologies to my mom, the former English teacher, who will scold gently remind me that the phrase "doing good" violates all rules of good grammar. But I digress.)
Virtually every article I've seen about bright spots in the job market recently highlights the increasing demand for green jobs. So does my own homegrown research. Anyway you slice it, green jobs are in vogue--and there are more openings for workers in other field.
But, even with all of the employer demand, there's a slight wrinkle: Many green jobs require technical training and an area of expertise in order to get hired. In many cases, you may find it very difficult to get an interview for a green job if you don't have knowledge of the field or industry in which you'd like to work. Unless you are a technical sales rockstar, and want to work in "green sales" related to a project you've worked on before, you may find that you need additional training--even to get to the interview.
Many colleges and universities are rapidly expanding their environmental science and curricular offerings in order to meet student interest and employer demand for green jobs. But college can be expensive. Which is why I really loved this article from CNN Money on how you can train for a green job in two years.
The secret (according to the article) is to attend community college. Many community colleges are offering innovative two year programs designed specifically to meet regional industry needs: it's a great way to hedge your bets for employment security. So check it out, if you are so inclined.
I'm going to digress (again), and close with a bit of a love letter three reasons why community colleges can be terrific places to boost your credentials:
1. They cost less than many other colleges and universities.
2. In general, the academic job market is very tough for individuals who want to teach at the college and university level. And frequently, positions go to people based on their scholarly and research work--not just based on their love of teaching.
So frequently, you can find devoted and --outstanding teachers--at the community college level. People who want to teach--not to publish the definitive last word on ____________.
3. Community colleges often have great feeder relationships with other schools--and you can still get a four year degree by transferring if that's what you want. Some states have stellar linkage programs between community colleges and state universities (The University of Virginia, for example, has great relationships and linkage programs with community colleges in Virginia.) If this is something you are interested in learning about, research this.
Over the 8 years I worked at Ivy League schools, I met with several individuals who went to community college before "getting into an Ivy." All of these students had a great experience at the community college level. They credited their Ivy League admission in part to great teachers and mentors who believed in them and encouraged them. One of these students, a Philosophy major who had earned a 4.0 GPA at her new school, said that she missed her community college professors because they spent more time with her.
I'm not saying that community colleges are better than Ivies, or that Ivy League professors don't care about their students. I'm just shedding light on the options--and a potentially hot one for this economy. Take a look--especially if you are thinking about going green!
To your success,