I just want to start off by saying that defining green collar jobs as blue collar jobs done in the environmental sector is too limited. Shouldn’t white collar jobs in this sector be considered green as well? Aren’t the LEED Consultants who manage the design of an energy efficient manufacturing site also ‘green collar workers’? What about the accountants behind the scenes who are making room in their budgets for renewable energy because it can cut costs? Isn’t the person finding out the expected return on investment for green projects also a green collar worker?
That being said, I just read an article by the Philadelphia Inquirer, where they cite a City of Berkeley study that defines green collar in the limited blue tint that I just referred to. This goes along with the present thought that says ‘green collar jobs can revitalize the struggling American middle class’, who work mostly blue collar jobs.
Philadelphia is especially interested in this right now because A. The Greater Philadelphia economy has “only 250,000 manufacturing jobs remaining – a loss of more than 400,000 jobs in fewer than four decades.” and B. Van Jones just made a stop there in February. So where did the people who were doing these jobs go? Some probably got jobs in the service sector and others might have moved away. There is also a higher percentage of college educated workers today than forty years ago, who usually look for employment outside of manufacturing.
Yet on the other side of Green Collar America, Silicon Valley solar companies can’t hire people fast enough. According to The San Jose Business Journal, they are over run with solar start ups and thousands of employees are being trained on the job. Community colleges are looking for more funding to offset the shortage of trained employees at solar manufacturing plants.
So maybe my idea of manufacturing jobs is as limited as City of Berkeley’s idea of green collar jobs.Here’s the list of the new types of green manufacturing jobs that the Inquirer suggests could take hold in Philadelphia:
“biodiesel production and gas station jobs
organic food production
From here on out I will try and include the manufacturing of these types of products as green collar manufacturing jobs as well. I mean they really are manufacturing energy, a healthy environment, and healthy humans.
Again, the scope of green should not be limited by any means, it influences everything around us and that’s why it’s such a bright future to head towards.