Today, we have the new concept of a “green-collar” worker, or pretty much anyone employed in environmentally friendly companies or industries. Green development is impossible without green workers. These are the people implementing green designs and technologies. And the benefits to this growing sector of the economy may be the key to sustaining green initiatives.

Where Green-Collar Jobs Come From

As the demand for environmentally friendly practices increases, so will the need for green collar workers. In 2014, 15,000 new jobs were added in California’s solar power industry. Anyone at work in solar energy, wind farms, or electric or hybrid vehicles is already a green worker. As green technologies become more common in construction, manufacturing, and public utilities and transportation, more jobs are becoming green collar jobs.

Greener Industries

There is pressure on businesses to reduce their carbon footprint. The public still views large commercial interests as the chief cause of pollution and global warming. There is certainly no other sector in a better position to develop alternative power sources, increase product efficiency, and reduce waste. Solar power or improved batteries aren’t the only industries that contribute to this. Tax credits, funding, and other government incentives are motivating companies across the board to incorporate green technologies. So is the need to satisfy environmentally-conscious consumer expectations.

Growing Labor Needs

Part of the risk is that as the demand for green jobs increases, there is likely, at least over the short term, to be a lack of workers with the right skills to support this growth. There could be a serious labor shortage in those qualified to plan and construct civil engineering projects related to alternative energy. While this may slow development in the early stages, higher demand will mean higher rewards for those planning a green collar career through advanced studies such as in an online civil engineering master’s program.

A Green Future

Essential to plans for adding more green jobs to the workforce is the idea that environmentalism will remain a vital issue well into the future. There are still those who dismiss the threat of global warming and the need for green technologies as so much hype. However, basic supply and demand should drive the growth of green industries. Along with support from government and demand from consumers, monetary advantages in green industries will be enough to encourage participation.

Employment opportunities are always a critical factor in driving the acceptance of new technologies. By providing more green jobs, green industries become an increasingly vital element of our economy and society.