by Rachel Vilsack
Recently, newspaper and television stories have been discussing what seems to be a growing trend towards the “greening” of Minnesota businesses. And, no, we’re not talking about summer here! Green businesses are those that have environmentally-friendly operations or provide products and services that are beneficial to the environment in some cases by minimizing their impact on the environment. This include businesses as diverse as a manufacturing firm that makes a biodegradable cleaning product, an architectural firm that promotes energy and water efficiency through its design, or a utility plant which turns wind power into electricity for its customers.
For job seekers interested in these types of positions, a good question might be: where are the jobs? In terms of location, slightly more green opportunities are found in Greater Minnesota (52 percent) than in the Twin Cities (48 percent). This is a somewhat surprising statistic, since the majority of job openings are located in the Twin Cities.
Green jobs can be found in a variety of industries too. Recent survey work by Minnesota’s Labor Market Information Office found the most green job openings in the following sectors:
- Administrative of conservation programs
- Engineering services
- Residential and non-residential plumbing/HVAC contractors
- Automatic environmental control manufacturing
- Air, water, and waste program administration
- Solid waste collection
- Remediation services
- Electrical power distribution
- Environmental and conservation organizations
And while some of the job opportunities in these fields are in occupations you’ve probably heard of before, like industrial engineers or HVAC mechanics, there are some new and emerging green job titles you may not be aware of, including:
- Energy engineer
- Weatherization/retrofit installer or technician
- Waste water engineer
- Water resource engineer
- Remediation project manager
- Sustainability coordinator
- Building systems technician
The training necessary for many of the jobs listed above requires a postsecondary degree or certificate. In fact, 70 percent of green job openings in Minnesota require education or training beyond high school. Additional skills may be needed too around green technologies or processes.
Finding green jobs might be as easy as checking your favorite job search website, like MinnesotaWorks or LinkedIn. Also check out the Minnesota Communities Sustainability Network which lists job openings in green firms and has a good list of other local job boards.
Check out www.MnGreenCareers.org to learn more about your green job options in Minnesota.
Rachel Vilsack (Rachel.Vilsack@state.mn.us) is a regional labor market analyst with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.