Many of those who found themselves jobless in the national recession and chose to put their job search on hold in order to further their education are finding a new path holds the promise of future jobs-- “green degrees,” or Sustainable Practices Education.
In the past several years, these green programs have emerged at universities all over the United States, including Arizona.
Arizona State University opened the doors to their School of Sustainability in 2007, offering Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in sustainability, as well as degrees in Business, Engineering or Law with a concentration in sustainability.
The School of Sustainability, which has been called "a model of sustainable education," uses a “transdisciplinary approach in its curriculum, addressing a broad spectrum of global challenges, including: energy, materials, and technology; water quality and scarcity; international development; ecosystems; social transformations; food and food systems; and policy and governance.”
Green degrees can also be found at various schools across the country, including North Carolina State University, University of Massachusetts, Old Dominion University and University of Phoenix online.
The question is, with all of these students graduating with green degrees, will there be enough jobs for them? Those graduating from ASU’s School of Sustainability may not have to search far to find one.
First Solar announced recently that they would invest about $300 million in a new U.S. manufacturing center for advanced thin-film photovoltaic modules in Mesa, Arizona. Construction of the factory is scheduled to begin in 2011 and, once completed, the factory will employ over 600 people.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also has its eye on green jobs. Starting in Fiscal Year 2010, BLS received funding to develop and implement the collection of new data on green jobs.
BLS has also undertaken the difficult job of defining “green jobs” and defines the term as follows:
Jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources
Jobs in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources
Do you think that those pursuing a green or sustainable degree will be better equipped for jobs in the future? Would you consider a green or sustainable degree an asset for an applicant for a job in your company?
How would you utilize the skills and information they have gained from a green or sustainable degree program?