Green jobs are now widely touted as the jobs of the future. But what exactly is a green job? It seems obvious that producing solar panels is a green job. What about teaching people to install solar panels? Or how about the accountant who works in the solar panel company, or the janitor that cleans the company’s office space?
What if a company produces standard electrical supply parts, but does so in a way that minimizes pollution and waste? Are those workers part of the green workforce?
In an attempt to nail down a working definition of green jobs, the Department of Labor (DOL) recently released a draft definition of “green jobs” and is soliciting feedback on the proposed definition from workforce professionals, educators, employers, and community organizations. A central theme in the DOL definition is that green jobs fall into two general categories: those jobs that produce green goods and services (like electric cars or environmentally-friendly janitorial services) and those jobs that use green processes.