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White Collar, Blue Collar, Green Collar?, posted in Economy, Industry.

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White Collar, Blue Collar, Green Collar?

News » Energy | Biofuels | Environment | Hydrogen | Solar | Transportation | Wind
October 17th, 2007 - View Comments

Green Collar We are all quite familiar with the colorful distinction of the different employment sectors. White collar employment includes salaried professionals and clerical workers. Blue collar employment involves manual labor. Now a third sector is emerging and is growing in both popularity and support: the green collar workers.


Green collar jobs involve products and services that are environment-friendly. Any organization that seeks to improve upon the environment is considered “green”; and if it employs individuals to that affect, then it has created green collar jobs. Green collar jobs include any that involve the design, manufacture, installation, operation, and/or maintenance of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. And the green collar sector is booming; it is currently the fifth largest market sector in the US.

Not only are most of us surprised by this ‘green’ addition to the collared-employment designation, but we may be equally surprised by how prevalent this topic is being debated at the federal level. Global warming is an en vogue topic of discussion for the government, and the economy is a traditional favorite. Put the two items together and you have a win-win situation for intense congressional debate. Energy bills aside, congress is now even promoting energy efficiency through workforce programs and incentives. They are advocating the creation of green collar jobs.

Spearheaded by Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), many believe that environmental consciousness can be furthered by the creation of green collar jobs in renewable energy. They are proposing millions of dollars in competitive grant monies to states that exhibit labor exchange and training programs in the green sector. Those organizations that demonstrate leadership in such programs, and in their promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency, will be given preference for these grants.

Now although such green-collar federal grants haven’t yet made it off the congressional floor, the push for such jobs in renewable energy is already alive in many cities across the nation. San Francisco, California is one of those cities whose residents patron the businesses and organizations that actively promote renewable energy in their business practices or through the creation of green collar jobs. In similar support, Washington D.C. just launched a ‘green jobs’ initiative that invests in its workforce through environmentally conscious programs, such as renewable energy solutions.

This, of course, is just a taste of the green collar revolution. If cities, companies and organizations endeavor to incorporate environmental quality into their mission and goals, the potential for green collar jobs over the next decade could be profound. And if the federal government succeeds in combining the benefits of renewable energy efforts with the national employment sector, we could see green collar jobs exploding into a billion-dollar industry in no time at all.

What do you think?

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  • Wayne Smallman

    What about tax incentives? If the government wants a greater up-take, offer people tax breaks…

  • Birney Summers

    What color of green is your collar?

    I am not green in the way that people think of that color as meaning environmentalist.

    I am green as in the Forest Green of the Marine Corps winter uniform.

    I am not green as in in-experienced.

    I am green as in the Green and White of Michigan State University.

    I am green in terms of saving Green Backs by conserving energy.

    I work as an Energy Conservation Engineer, Does that mean I am green collar worker?

    Then why does my wife say I have a black collar when she washes my shirts?

    Energy Boomer

  • lori

    Do you know of any studies that have been conducted on the growth of the green industry and/or the need for green collar job workers?

  • Stephen

    Does anyone have resources to provide a list of contractors which may be providing blue/green collar training?

    Everyone seems to keep saying to build green, but I can’t find a list of contractors who actually do the “Green building”?

    Sick of building inefficient boxes,

  • admin

    Have you checked out the TreeHugger Job Board?

  • Marck

    What I think green collar workers is starting today, because they pretend to replace white and blue collar workers with green collar experience and less payments on them. Green collar workers is going to be the most popular in the future. What is going to be our next step for white collars like us?

  • Sean Keller

    White collar workers will have to play key roles in the green economy, they would still be needed for accounting, architecture, and legal to name a few. read this post, Marck, it will make you feel better:
    “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.”

  • greenguy

    Hi. I recently finished college in NJ, and am considering a “green” career. Aside from, greenbiz, and, what are some other about green collar jobs?

  • almost summer!

    I’m writing a paper on Green collar jobs for my final exam and I was wondering what else I need to know, or something else that would be a good thing to know?

  • spree

    This article is amazing. I’m doing an essay for economics, and it saved me!
    Thank you soo much (:

  • Michael Clark

    My Electric Car group is making a presentation to the City of sarasota in Florida about the impact of going green to benefit the city of sarasota. One topic will be the growth of green collar jobs as may realize that we can no longer just dump our waste into the environment.

  • Dan

    There is now a grant in Chicago for placing green collar workers in the Green Exchange. Here is the article:

    While we likely won’t see any federal funding until a new administration is elected, it’s nice to see some funding at the local level!

  • Jeanette Tellez

    I believe whatever people can do to help the environment will ALWAYS make a difference. I am not to experienced in this field, but love learning about new things. I love how my dream career is also needed in this field. Leadership and teamwork is so important.

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