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Bureau of Labor Statistics Publishes Green Jobs Guide

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As another school year comes to a close and both high school and college students look for careers with long-term growth, a new career handbook called “The Occupational Outlook Handbook” has just been released for download and print at (bls.gov/oco/) to help the newly minted and the displaced navigate the wilderness of current high unemployment in the U.S. This biannual handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) features insights into the job market through 2018, projections of long-term job growth, and employment prospects for nearly 300 occupations.

“Although it’s impossible to predict the future, we can predict employment growth or decline by analyzing trends in population growth, technological advances and business practices. And this insight is very helpful in planning a career,” said Paul LaPorte, manager of economic analysis and information in the Chicago office of the BLS. According to LaPorte, the latest Outlook spotlights the fastest-growing green occupations in areas such as management, business and financial operations, computer sciences and health care. Employment in these fields is projected to increase 20 percent or more by 2018.

Green Careers Becomes Big Business As Firms Focus On Environmental Sustainability

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics handbook, jobs in environmental sustainability or green careers are becoming big business; especially, as the global market expands and more companies expand their commitment to environmental sustainability. Indeed, careers in environmental sustainability are expected to grow much faster than the average job market as a whole, translating to about a 20 percent increase per year, at least until 2018.

Today, with computers used in almost all industries and in practically every career function from manufacturing and production to office finance and retail operations most of the demand for environmental sustainability jobs will be for green collar professionals with backgrounds in information systems to oversee software and hardware installation, system management and upgrades, programming and network and security management. Other green collar careers, which might not come to mind, also include fulfilling the global demand for interpreters, translators and instructors in other languages, such as Arabic and Mandarin; particularly, as environmental sustainability initiatives become more competitive and interconnected among competing multinationals and countries. The handbook also suggests a majority of green jobs will require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. But training for many other support or technician positions can be completed with a two-year associate degree or certificate from a community college.

In early 2010 in recognition of the growing importance of the environmental sustainability movement, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced its intention to begin measuring and reporting data on green jobs in future editions of The Occupational Outlook Handbook. Growth areas in environmental sustainability can be found in fields of environmental law, green building and construction, renewable energy, hydrology and organic agriculture to name just a few.

By John Courtney

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