The Green Revolution is on and it will be televised. Simply put, green jobs are not just hot, they’re on fire.
Recently, Solve Climate published an article entitled "Clean Tech Jobs Spring Up as Investment Pours In and Factories are Transformed." The article states that despite economic uncertainty, the biggest global corporations are investing 3-5 percent of annual revenues in clean tech solutions. Moreover, according to an Ernst & Young survey, they are poised to invest more. With such private investment increasing, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s (ARRA) infusion of over $80 billion into the clean tech sector, the road ahead is looking green. Especially in the jobs sector.
Still, training is needed. A 2006 study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory identified the shortage of skills and training as a leading barrier to renewable energy and energy efficiency growth. According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), green building creates green jobs, and green jobs will be crucial as we build a new green economy.
A new study by consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton predicts green building will support or create 7.9 million jobs between 2009-2013 and will contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product. USGBC released this report in November at the international green building conference, Greenbuild 2009.
Senior administration officials told the Associated Press the president will probably expand a program that gives homeowners cash incentives to make energy-saving repairs. President Obama went on to say the nation can recover by spending more to upgrade existing roads, bridges and other infrastructure, the nation's electrical grid, and focusing on renewable energy.
"There is no reason why we shouldn't have the corner on wind turbine technology and on solar panel technology," Obama said.
The huge growth in clean energy and green jobs is the reason why I decided to have a two part Q & A with CleanEdison's president Avi Yaschin. To find out more about CleanEdison or to sign up for a training course visit their website.
Here is Part I of my interview:
Robert Gluck: Please tell our readers a little about yourself and CleanEdison.
Avi Yaschin: I am president of CleanEdison and a member of U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). I'm an advocate of green building and renewable energy and apply my expertise in finance to sustainability projects at CleanEdison. Prior to founding CleanEdison, I spent seven years at Lehman Brothers where I served as vice president in the Global Credit Products group and also traded for the firm’s bank loan financing portfolio in the Energy, MLP and Financials sectors. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a BS in Computer Science and received an MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University. I am active in the New York philanthropy circle and started the New York Philanthropy Group which helps bring underprivileged South American business students to New York to jumpstart their careers. I'm a triathlete and frequently compete in races.
RG: Why did you start CleanEdison?
AY: There were two reasons. One, because I'm a strong advocate and believer in green building and renewable sources of energy. If we want to promote sustainability what better way than to educate the professionals that really can make an impact on the way we design and construct building projects? Two, because I wanted to run my own company but it had to be something that would not only be meaningful to me and my employees but to the community.
RG: CleanEdison offers courses in solar, wind, geothermal, energy auditing and many others. Your courses are available in 41 cities across the U.S. Any plans to extend that reach here in America or beyond our borders? If so, where and when?
AY: Yes, we are in the developmental stages of offering virtual courses. This will make our courses more available to those less likely to travel out of their regions and it will lower carbon footprints in the transportation sector.
RG: It looks like the green revolution has started. Why the big upswing in green jobs?
AY: I think the main reason is people have finally realized that they don't want to be dependent on foreign sources of energy. Also, the government showed it realized this as well when it provided funding in the stimulus package. If we can provide jobs as well as increase our use of renewables then we're killing two birds with one stone. This was going on for a while and was somewhat on the fringe but now it's mainstream. A lot of it has to do with necessity. We truly need to go green and the moment of realization is global because leaders have embraced this from an economic as well as an environmental stance.
RG: The Obama Administration has earmarked some funds for green jobs and energy efficiency programs. Do you think more funding is on the way? If so, when and how?
AY: I'm not sure, I hope so. The administration still needs to work out some minor kinks to release monies already earmarked for green jobs and training.
RG: When you first started CleanEdison were there as many people enrolling in your courses as there are now? Why the huge increase?
AY: Heck no. I started with an idea in my head, that was it. Our success is, like I said, being fueled by a global awareness that this is indeed the way we should go, that it's long overdue, and that we are tired of being held subject to foreign governments who control the oil and gas fields as well as price fluctuations for these resources. I think people have answered this question by saying no more. Developing renewable energies, training people to be more efficient with those energies helps us in many ways. It lowers our carbon footprint and this addresses global warming. The U.S. is now second to China in producing the most greenhouse gases. Why shouldn't we do something to lower that? We'll train people to do energy audits which will help homeowners and business owners find out what they need to improve on in terms of their energy usage.
RG: What separates your courses from your competitors' courses?
AY: Lots of things. Our instructors, our prices, and our dedication to providing top notch learning experiences. For example, we're one of the only ones to offer in-field instructor mentoring.
Click here to read Part II of my interview with Clean Edison's Avi Yaschin.
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