February 22, 2010

Florida Green Jobs 101

February 22, 2010
Vestina F. Crayton, Extension Specialist, Pinellas County Extension

In June 2009, Workforce Florida, Inc assembled a team of experts from various sectors of the business, academic, and government communities to develop a working definition of a ‘green’ job. Input from the general public was included in these discussions. This meeting led to the creation of a report Defining Green Jobs for Florida- A Report of the Sustainability Infrastructure Committee of Workforce Florida, Inc., which defines a ‘green’ job as a job that “ increases the conservation and sustainability of natural resources for the benefit of Floridians. This includes jobs that reduce energy usage or lower carbon emissions, and protect Florida’s natural resources. Green jobs should provide worker-friendly conditions, pay sustainable wages and offer opportunities for continued skill training and career growth.”

Who Is Assessing the Issues in Florida?
Workforce Florida Inc. is comprised of 47 leaders from the business community many of whom are appointed by Governor Charlie Crist. Others are appointed by the House Speaker and Senate President. This group develops policies that help businesses recruit and maintain qualified and skilled laborers for today and years to come. Addressing the needs of the employee is also a major factor in devising the appropriate strategy.

Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI) is the state level organization that implements the policies created by Workforce Florida, manages federal and state workforce funds and provide technical support to the 24 regional workforce boards across the state.

Regional Workforce Boards act as a facilitator and liaison to businesses and job seekers to receive the applicable services for their specific needs. These local one-stop centers connect businesses with skilled employees. In addition, these centers provide training for unskilled labor to meet the businesses need.

What are the benefits of understanding the definition of a green job?
For individuals- College freshmen, doctoral students, career changers and the unemployed who want to take advantage of the opportunities this green economy will provide, will benefit from understanding what is considered a green job because it will assist with focusing their efforts towards the appropriate resources for training, academic requirements and certifications.

For Business Leaders- Business owners will benefit by being more competitive for available green job training grant funds and bank loans to provide additional skills for existing staff and possibly expand their business thereby creating new job opportunities.

For Academia – Academic and technical institutions must provide the necessary educational programs from certifications to doctoral degrees to ensure that as businesses begin to expand and/or require existing staff to acquire these special skills, they are positioned and equipped to provide the training.

At the time that this article is being written, green jobs are evolving and there are still many unanswered questions and much debate happening. Researchers, business, community and government leaders are among some of the experts diligently working to answer these questions. The green economy is not a trend or a fad; it will become a way of life. From design conception to a consumer-ready product, all aspects of energy efficiency, weatherization, and creating renewable energy sources are some of the industries that will blossom and yield endless opportunities.

How do I prepare for the green economy?
While the green economy is in the process of defining itself, this is the time to stay tuned-in to what is happening at the federal, state and local levels of government. Pay close attention to what types of policies are being created and implemented, what types of funds are being made available and where are they being distributed. By following these simple steps, you will be in a better position to accept the challenges and prosper in this green economy.

To learn more about the green job market, visit and register for the next Green Job Market in Pinellas County Webinar. For the latest in sustainability news and information, subscribe to our Thinking Green Blog.

Cornelius. Andra S. & McMullan. Deborah 2009 DEFINING GREEN JOBS FOR FLORIDA – A Report of the Sustainability/Infrastructure Committee of Workforce Florida, Inc.

Workforce Florida inc. Workforce Florida, Inc

Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI) Agency for Workforce Innovation (AWI)

Worknet Pinellas Worknet Pinellas

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