Business Pioneers are Cultivating a New Green Workforce
Rapid social change, and an educated general public armed with information on environmental conditions have established the roots of a paradigm shift in the business world. With those finishing college and entering the job market (or even with those interested in changing careers), attention is being paid to “green careers.” To make green careers a reality, business pioneers are cultivating a new workforce. This slice of the green job market shows how interrelated networks, groups and programs can work together to innovate business in a region. The following examples are primarily based in the southeast US, although similar groups and networks exist nationally and internationally as well.
In the building industry, the main driver in cultivating a new green workforce has been the creation of the LEED green building program, which was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and industry members. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, provides a set of green building standards for the design and construction industry as well as for building owners and operators. An affiliated organization, the Green Building Certification Institute, provides third-party certification services and manages the professional credentialing program, which signifies leadership in the green building movement.
The national U.S. Green Building Council organization is a coalition of building industry members, which is comprised of approx. 20,0000 member organizations and approx. 80 local chapters whose strategy includes promoting and educating LEED as an industry standard. In addition to fostering the LEED program, the USGBC promotes green building advocacy in support of public policy as well as hosts an annual conference and expo. USGBC’s network of chapters throughout the United States and across the globe make its advocacy extremely effective.
Southface is a resource to forge market-based solutions for creating green jobs, clean energy solutions and sustainable communities. Southface’s campus includes a Green Jobs Training Center, based in Atlanta, which is revolutionizing the training of the local weatherization and energy-efficiency workforce. In addition to education and job training, Southface is engaged in an array of programs, which put their green building education into practice – developing programs for residential and commercial builders through the creation of their EarthCraft House and EarthCraft Light Commercial programs
Green Chamber of the South is another resource for green workers; the group’s strength lies in its unique mission to bring together businesses and organizations across the Southeast that promote the growth, innovation and success of sustainability and clean technology. Member organizations gain access to resources such as businesses exposure, networking opportunities, collaborative projects, workshops, roundtables, mixers and seminars as well as a Greenhouse Accelerator that helps startups with networking, services and funding.
USGBC’s advocacy and chapters establish a powerful network for green building and green jobs in the southeast and beyond. Southface’s learning center establishes a hub for the new green workforce in the southeast. Green Chamber of the South centralizes the network of green businesses across the south into an interwoven network of like-minded professionals and business owners.
Finally, another Atlanta based green company; Sustainable Investment Group (SIG) has established itself as a robust educational force. SIG is a major center of learning for green professionals. SIG’s LEED Exam Prep Training, for example, provides educational and credentialing opportunities for the green business workforce and green building industry. If you would like to learn more about SIG’s services or upcoming LEED Exam Prep classes visit our website at www.sigearth.com
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