More Than 2.5 Million Americans Work in Clean Energy; Strong Federal, State Clean Energy Policies Could Create Even More Jobs for Millennials, Others; Videos Show Workers in Action
CHICAGO (April 15, 2016) – What do college students and millennials need to know in order to land a job in the rapidly expanding clean energy economy?
A new, first-of-its-kind guidebook unveiled today by the national nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) offers practical, how-to advice for young people seeking careers in clean energy.
“Clean Power Players” – available hereand at www.e2.org – provides job seekers with an overview of clean energy industries like wind, solar and energy efficiency. The guidebook highlights the value of networking, encourages political engagement, and profiles 10 young clean energy business leaders – the namesake “Clean Power Players” – who hail from states including Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
“I’m excited to be working in the clean energy industry because of the innovative technology and the clear benefits that it is having and will continue to have on peoples’ lives,” said Cory Connolly, 27, a project manager at Detroit-based Levin Energy Partners.“Whether it’s learning about new technologies or seeing disruptive business models take hold around clean energy, it’s a fascinating field to work in.
“I met a lot of my peers in the clean energy industry working on climate change in previous roles. For many of us, what makes working on clean energy satisfying is that we are making real projects happen that benefit people and the planet,” Connolly said.
The guidebook was released Friday afternoon at a panel at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. It arrives as colleges and universities prepare to graduate the Class of 2016 later this spring.
The guidebook also arrives as workers in the fossil fuel sector suffer through recent layoffs in industries like coal mining. These layoffs underscore the urgent national need to support and re-train laid-off fossil fuel industry workers to help build out America’s clean energy infrastructure. For an E2 video showing how a young laid-off Illinois coal miner recently transitioned to a career in solar energy in Missouri, please see here.
New studies based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data illustrate just how compelling a career choice clean energy can be. In late March, E2 released a pair of clean energy jobs reports – “Clean Jobs America,” which counted more than 2.5 million clean energy jobs nationwide, and “Clean Jobs Midwest,” which tallied 569,000 clean energy jobs in the 12-state Midwestern region and predicted a 4.4 percent growth rate over the next year. To compare these clean energy jobs numbers to BLS employment data for the fossil fuel industry and other sectors, see here and here.
“We need to set the stage for the next generation of American workers to succeed,” said Gail Parson, E2’s Midwest advocate and a contributor to the report. “Stronger policies at both the state and federal levels can help make that happen.”
State energy efficiency and renewable standards, federal tax incentives and other policies have helped drive exponential growth in clean energy jobs in recent years, Parson said. To keep these jobs growing, lawmakers should continue to support the policies that are driving the clean energy sector – ranging from the recent international climate agreement reached in Paris, to the federal Clean Power Plan, to state and regional clean energy standards.
“We can and must solve climate change – it’s the most urgent challenge of our time,” Connolly said. “To build a future with abundant clean, renewable energy, it’s going to take effort and coordination from policymakers, business leaders, universities, and philanthropists. And millennials like the Clean Power Players and many more working across various fields are going to be crucial,” he said.
Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital. For more information, see www.e2.org, or follow us on Twitter at @e2org.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us atwww.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter@NRDC.