The Green-Collar Jobs Revolution – How Environmentally Friendly Industries Can Ease Unemployment

While more and more people find themselves unemployed, the green industry is expanding their workforce and turning a profit. President Obama wants to spend $150 billion over the next ten years to promote renewable energy resources, including providing tax credits and loans to clean-energy companies. The result: the creation of 5 million new jobs.

A recent report from Duke University provided a detailed look at how manufacturing in the U.S. will grow with the implementation of clean-energy industry. Researchers at Duke’s Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness found that five carbon-reducing technologies will produce the most green jobs in the next decade: LED lighting, high-performance windows, auxiliary power units for trucks, solar power, and new methods for treating livestock waste. These technologies will produce the most jobs in states hit hard by the recession, like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, the Carolinas, and the Southwest.

The recent stimulus package provides $20 billion for green industries, $500 million specifically for providing more training opportunities for new green collar workers. Because of this, many community colleges are now offering programs to re-train displaced workers to become wind turbine mechanics, solar panel installers, and fuel-cell engineers. Green jobs pay an average of 10 to 20 percent more than similar work outside the field, which is an exciting prospect to many people who are considering re-training for these jobs.

In Texas, a group of community colleges that provide green jobs training had almost 100 percent of their graduates find jobs.

The hardest-hit states are already seeing the benefits of this “green revolution.” Michigan, which has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 9.6%, is home to Hemlock Semiconductor Corp. Hemlock produces solar energy panels that turn sunlight into electricity. While Michigan’s auto industry is in the midst of a potential collapse, Hemlock is spending $3 billion on an expansion that will create hundreds of jobs.

California has the biggest market for solar energy because of its tougher state mandates to cut carbon emissions. This means that solar energy installers are continuing to hire workers while the rest of California’s industries are laying off their staff. New Mexico is also grooming new workers for the green industry. Mesalands Community College has one of the only wind power technician programs in the country, and a major solar company from Germany is building a $100 million plant in Albuquerque. With unemployment at an all-time high around the country, the green industry could provide growth and stabilization in this era of uncertainty while saving our environment.

The Reason Why Unemployment Destroys Our Economic Potential

During the 1930s, the Great Depression plagued Americans with a 25% jobless society. At that time, nearly one-third of the U.S production capacity was sitting idle. Since then, Americans have faced a number of smaller hits to the economy; the most recent in 2001 (not including 2008!). In that year alone, unemployment increased by about 2 million workers.

Why is unemployment so devastating to an economy?

Certainly the U.S. isn’t the only country that faces these hardships. Since 1995 there have been several larger nations that have faced difficult times of increased unemployment, including Japan, Argentina, South Korea, Mexico, and Germany. Unemployment for economies is a global issue! We should all be concerned.

Have you even wondered as you’ve listened to political debates or new reports why a huge loss in jobs is such a big deal to a nation?

The quick answer might be that you people suffer in financial hardship, or that the economy just plain won’t be as strong. But why?

It all goes back to the production possibilities model that is often spoken about by economists. Typically, it will graphically create a curve that displays the different combinations of goods and services that our society can produce in a fully employed economy. In other words, if everybody has a job, how much can we potentially do, as a whole, to improve the quality of life in a nation by providing more goods and services.

And, again, from an economic standpoint- the more goods and services produced, the lower the cost to us!

Unemployment kills an economy because of the missed opportunity of more output! And that output will make more goods and services available to the average American, which as a whole will bring down the cost of those goods and services!

Does unemployment effect the employed?

Absolutely! Be concerned and be aware of who you put in office for this reason; we want individuals who know and understand economics because that will directly impact our lives.

Unemployment As a Teenager

This post will discuss the negative aspects of being unemployed at my age. Most people would say “I don’t want a job,” or “I will only work 5 hours a week,” or even “why work? My parents buy me everything.” To them I would say, you’re an idiot. If you do not want a job, then you are a nincompoop. This is a short list of things that jobs give you.

The first and most obvious thing is MONEY. The world is run by money, and you need it to do anything at all. To the people who get everything from their parents, that will not last forever. If and when you go to college will your parents be buying all of your food, books, housing, and entertainment? Most likely not. So, when you are sitting in your dorm, broke, wanting to do things, too bad. You have no job, you have no money, you have no things. Because I do not have a job, I have almost no money. What does this mean for me? Not too much, I still live with my family, and the basics are provided. But I want a car! I can’t afford a car, let alone insurance, gas, and anything else that may come up. That is an enormous expense. In addition to that, I would like to go to Germany next summer. Without money, all of these things are impossible.

The second thing, and the one that is fundamentally more important, is that it helps develop one’s responsibility. I have nothing to do with my life, trust me. You would think because I have so much time that I am constantly caught-up with all of my work at school. This is not as true as one would think. I almost never study, and do the least amount of homework possible. On the other hand, some of my friends are in sports every day of the week, AND they have a job. Yet they are in higher level classes than me, study more, and get similar, if not better grades. This makes no sense at all to me, but I would guess all of these things give them better organizational skills or something like that.

The third thing is the stigma related with not having these things. The high school I go to has a broad spectrum of students, come from every economic background imaginable. There are students who are fighting poverty and trying to get something to eat, but there are other students who are given BMW’s for their birthdays. I come from somewhere in the middle. I never have to worry about food, housing, or heat, but my parents don’t buy me cars. I don’t have a job, so guess what else I lack? I’ll give you a hint, it has 4 wheels, and rhymes with bar. A surprising side-effect of this is my embarrassment after the final bell rings. Most people either have a ride home with a friend, or just walks to the parking lot, gets in the car, and drives home. What do I do? I call my mom and wait. Maybe its my near-0 self-esteem, but I feel ashamed every time somebody asks me “Do you have a ride home?” and I have to say “Yeah, my mom is on her way.” That is just one example of things you may feel without a job.

The last thing is your feelings for yourself. For reasons I cannot expand upon, I have been declined from 6 different positions over the past few months. These include: McDonald’s twice, Culver’s, Rocky Rococco’s, Rosatis’s, and Pick and Save. My friends give me shit for this, and truth-be-told, its hilarious. But when you get down to it, and think about your poor, jobless ass, it is not funny at all. One of my favorite things to say is “I am so dumb I got turned down from McDonald’s twice,” until I think about it. Then it just makes me sad. The only thing I can think of is that someone that is older applied for a job, or everyone else got a recommendation from someone who works there. That is just how the world works I suppose, it is all about who you know. Who knows, maybe 7th time is the charm?

As you can tell, unemployment sucks. If anyone sees this and would like to give me tips, or more reasons supporting the conclusion, type it in the comments. Thanks for reading y’all.