Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Green Jobs of the Future

Many of us look forward to the day when the “utility” company is a wind-powered farm somewhere on a sunny hilltop, rather than a few smoke spewing coal plants in the middle of America. While that day is actually getting closer and closer, the need for a new workforce is also becoming imperative.

The jobs of the future, particularly where renewable energy is concerned, will be as diverse as the careers available today. There is going to be a large number of well-trained engineers required, there will also be the need for everyone from clerks and managers to field workers who will understand exactly how all of the new technologies will operate.

Renewable resources include sun, water, wind and even Biofuels and this translates to an incredibly diverse range of educational backgrounds and disciplines. While many of the traditional technologies, such as home wiring, will not be radically different. The approach to ensuring that each home’s solar, wind or thermal configuration will be incredibly different from today’s electricians and HVAC careers.

Of course the home application of the renewable energies is not the only area where new careers and jobs will occur. Consider that there will be all kinds of line workers and those who must serve in the same capacity as today’s utility workers. This will also have to become a group with some engineering and background knowledge in the systems they are supporting.

This also means that such areas as wastewater management and even trash collecting will change as well. Clearly tomorrow’s workforce is in for many educational challenges, especially as the transition from many of the current systems is going to occur within the next few decades.

Clearly, every segment of industry is going to see some widespread change as well. Imagine the impact on the farming and agricultural communities, manufacturing sectors and even the health industry when alternative energy begins to be used widely. Many modern materials will become outdated and many forms of equipment will have to accommodate new forms of energy or operational techniques. Solar powered computers, tractors, solar fountains and machinery will radically alter the face of business and commerce.

All of this translates into millions of new opportunities for those interested in the technologies and possibilities of alternative energies. Today is the time and place to begin learning about them, and parents and teachers should be making huge efforts to introduce students to their future world as this will help us all get there faster.

Jonathan Gal is a solar lighting expert and owner of YCA Solar Lights, an organization dedicated to promoting clean, energy efficient solar lighting technology. To find out more about how solar technology is changing the way we live, especially with respect to lighting, you are invited to visit Jonathan's outdoor solar lights site.