Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Graduating seniors pursue ‘green-collar’ jobs

The industry of green is rapidly expanding and permeating every sphere of industry. The resulting “green-collar” jobs focus on social responsibility and environmentally conscious design, technology and policy to improve sustainability and conservation.   While green jobs are rising in popularity, they are also becoming increasingly easy to find.

Junior Jessie Conrad worked for the Mayor’s Office of Denver last summer, writing case studies of local sustainable businesses for a company called Greenprint. While she noted the progressive innovations businesses are taking to become more sustainable, she was concerned that the term “green” has become bankrupt.

“I think sadly it has become so much of a trend that now its kind of a marketing ploy, so it’s quite hard to distinguish between what is actually sustainable and what is not,” said Conrad.

To help narrow students’ searches for truly green internships and jobs Web sites such as Greenbiz.com and Ecojobs.com boast of approximately 150,000 new job postings every month, connecting environmentally conscious employees with environmentally savvy businesses. The Career Center makes use of many of these resources and provides a comprehensive list of internships and summer jobs students have done in the past.

Assistant Director of the Career Center Heidi Baldwin has seen a major increase in students who want to find internships over the past two years, about a third of whom are specifically looking for environmental endeavors. Since her two years at Whitman she has not seen an increase in student desire for green jobs; instead, she believes students have always been interested in pursuing environmental and sustainable jobs.

“There’s a new tagline of saying ‘green jobs,’ but I think Whitman students have always been more conscious of those jobs, especially in regard to the atypical student of other colleges,” said Baldwin.

Washington State alone has over 400 companies in the environmental industry, employing 16,000 people. According to the Northwest Environmental Business Council, Washington exports approximately $200 million per year in environmental services. These services include waste management, energy and water conservation, residential solar energy, and strengthening local food systems.

Green businesses have grown five percent annually for the past three years. Jobs to watch for in the coming years are bio-mimicry engineers, using Mother Nature as a model for solving engineering problems, sustainability coordinators, overseeing the economic and environmental components of companies and green architects, increasing the focus on energy-efficient buildings.

Green internships offer opportunities for students to work under seasoned professionals and obtain firsthand experience while simultaneously working to conserve the planet. Senior Katie King did an internship with Opp & Seibold construction company in Walla Walla, assisting with the green building aspect of the forming Water and Environmental Studies Center at the community college.

“Jobs such as mine within the green building sector represent a very exciting, emerging
new area for potential employment,” said King.

While still at Whitman students have a number of options to participate in the growing green industry and do not need to be pursuing a degree in science to obtain a job. According to the Environmental Careers Organization, the next decade will see an increase in green job opportunities in law, conservation and urban planning. Green jobs have begun to reach into every corner of the job market, giving students many opportunities to pursue environmentally conscious careers.

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