Blue Collar Jobs, White Collar Jobs
… Green Collar Jobs?
Coordinator of Career Information Systems
On the covers of magazines,
in newspapers, on the web and
in the coffee shop, we are hearing
the words “green”, “green-collar jobs”
or just “green jobs.”
• What are green jobs?
• Where do we find them?
• How much do they pay?
• What training is needed to get one?
Today’s Job Market
Blue collar, White collar and Green collar?
68% 12% Skilled
Who are “blue collar” workers?
Blue Collar Employment
• Job involves manual labor
• A member of the working class
• Earns an hourly wage
• May be skilled or unskilled
• Works in manufacturing, mining, building
and construction trades, mechanical work,
maintenance, repair and operations
maintenance, technical installations
automotive technician, carpenter,
electrician, HVAC, aviation mechanic,
plumber, pipefitter and welder
Who are “white collar” workers?
White Collar Employment
• Salaried professionals and clerical workers
• Educated workers who performs semi-
professional office, administrative, and
sales coordination tasks.
• Workers who commonly work in well- kept
air conditioned office buildings
• Business men and women
• Perform non-manual labor often in an office
• Service industry worker-customer interaction,
entertainment, retail and outside sales
Who then, are the
“green collar” workers?
Let’s see if we know
where jobs fit in to
white, blue and green
What Are Green Jobs?
What are green collar jobs?
“Green collar” jobs are “blue collar” jobs
in green businesses – that is, manual labor
jobs in businesses whose products and
services directly improve environmental quality.
Many “green collar” jobs are middle skill jobs
requiring more education than high school but
less than a four year degree.
Other “green collar” jobs are “white collar”
jobs in green businesses.
What makes them green?
“Green” relates to a job’s purpose
• Jobs that conserve energy, expand renewable energy
sources, conserve or improve the environment
• 40% of green jobs expected in making buildings
Many green jobs will be in construction –
similar to traditional construction laborer and skilled
trades. Building retrofit, HVAC. mass transit, Infrastructure
development, e.g. “smart grid,”
And in manufacturing – wind turbines, solar panels, auto
batteries, weatherization materials
What makes investing in
green jobs good for the US?
What makes them good jobs?
“Green-collar jobs tend to be local because
many involve work transforming and upgrading
the immediate built and natural environment—
work such as retrofitting buildings, installing
solar panels, installing and maintaining wind
turbines, constructing transit lines, and
Unlike white collar jobs that are moving
overseas at an alarming rate, these jobs can’t
be outsourced overseas.
RENEWABLE POWER GENERATION
WIND SOLAR HYDROPOWER GEOTHERMAL BIOMASS
ENERGY EFFICIENCY RENEWABLE TRANSPORT FUELS
RESIDENTIAL COMMERCIAL ETHANOL BIODIESEL
Where are these jobs?
Green collar jobs are located in large and
small for-profit businesses, non-profits,
social enterprises, and in the public sector.
They are relatively high quality jobs with
relatively low barriers to entry, in sectors
poised for dramatic growth.
According to Raquel Pinderhughes, PhD (2007)
What skills are needed?
Traditional skills with added 21st century
technical updating and thinking “green,”
understanding more environmental
technologies, and learning how we
can manufacture, install and maintain
Green Industries include…
• Energy efficiency and renewable energy industries
• The energy-efficient building, construction, and
• The renewable electric power industry
• The energy efficient and advanced drive train
• The biofuels industry
• The deconstruction and materials use industries
• The energy efficiency assessment industry serving
the residential, commercial, or industrial sectors
• Manufacturers that produce sustainable products
using environmentally sustainable processes and
Green careers are a high-demand job track for
students from a wide range of academic
disciplines and with a wide variety of interests.
Green jobs exist, and are growing, in a range
of industries and at every skill and wage level.
By becoming stewards of our environment,
young people who choose a green career can
help solve the greatest problems of our time
while finding work that matches their personal
interests and values.
1. Bicycle repair and bike delivery services
2. Car and truck mechanic jobs, production jobs, and
gas-station jobs related to bio-diesel, vegetable oil
and other alternative fuels
3. Food production using organic and/or sustainable
grown agricultural products
4. Green building
5. Green waste composting on a large scale
6. Hauling and reuse of construction and demolition
materials and debris
7. Hazardous materials clean up
8. Green (sustainable) landscaping
9. Manufacturing jobs related to large scale production
of a wide range of technologies (i.e. solar panels,
bike cargo systems, green waste bins, etc.)
---excerpt from Pinderhughes (2007)
10. Materials reuse/producing products made from
recycled, non-toxic materials
11. Non-toxic household cleaning in residential and
12. Parks and open space maintenance and expansion
13. Printing with non-toxic inks and dyes and recycled
14. Public transit jobs
16. Solar installation and maintenance
17. Tree cutting and pruning
18. Urban agriculture
19. Whole home performance (i.e: HVAC, attic
insulation, weatherization, etc.)
---excerpt from Pinderhughes (2007)
In 2006, the U.S. economy had about
750,000 green jobs
RENEWABLE POWER GENERATION 127,246
AGRICULTURE & FORESTRY 57,546
CONSTRUCTION & SYSTEMS INSTALLATION 8,741
EQUIPMENT DEALERS & WHOLESALERS 6,205
ENGINEERING, LEGAL, RESEARCH, & CONSULTING 418,715
GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION 71,900
By 2038, more than 4.2 million green jobs
will be created by the economy— a five-fold
2018 2028 2038
RENEWABLE POWER 407,200 802,000 1,236,800
RESIDENTIAL, COMMERCIAL 81,000 81,000 81,000
RENEWABLE 1,205,700 1,437,700 1,492,000
ENGINEERING, LEGAL, 846,900 1,160,300 1,404,900
RESEARCH, & CONSULTING
TOTAL 2,540,800 3,481,000 4,214,700
4.2 million green jobs forecast is based on
achieving three goals by 2038
40% 35% 30%
of reduction of
electricity in energy gas/diesel
from use demand
alternative (residential and replaced by
sources buildings) ethanol/
Challenges to “green job” success
The major challenges to a more rapid
adoption of renewable energy and
energy efficiency in America are a
shortage of skills and training in our
This labor shortage is only likely to get
more severe as baby-boomers skilled in
current energy technologies retire.
A green job or business can use a triple
Safe, healthy, minimizes waste, energy
Innovative, family-friendly, diverse,
living wage, fair labor
The other green…
Build the brick road…
…To get to the City
Connect jobseekers sustainability info and
career training programs employers
local talent and green business models
green market share and market for renewable
technologies consumers and municipalities
culture of sustainability and demand for
clean/green technology job growth and
…To get to the City