Green careers are “in,” plentiful and there are more to come. This is about more than just a whole new set of possibilities and opportunities that haven’t existed before; it’s about the transformation of current organizations, functions and jobs to a greener focus, process and outcome.
As the Director of Career Management for The Stuart School of Business at IIT, I regularly coach students about their career options. What I like to remind those who are committed to a green career but still uncertain about where to focus their effort, is to line it up with their interests.
Another thing I try to reinforce is that starting a “green revolution” takes more than just inspiration. It takes perspiration too. I recently invited mechanical engineer Aaron LeMiuex to speak to my class about his passion and perseverance in developing the nPowerPEG. This is a system that transforms kinetic movement into a source of power and energy, also known as kinetic energy harvesting.
An avid hiker, Aaron came up with the idea while backpacking in the woods, when he realized his own body movement was creating energy. He then worked for the next 10 years to create a marketable personal energy generation (PEG) device that can power personal devices when we are far from an outlet.
While a Master’s in Environmental Management or Sciences can give you a leg up in your field, the green jobs of the future are as diverse as the fields that exist.
A recent article in E-magazine identified the following as the top 10 areas where green opportunities abound:
- Travel and tourism where we could be “greener globetrotters”
- Planning and land use where we need to become “sustainability stewards”
- Health and medicine, where “complementary care” could become more mainstream
- Energy and renewable for all of our “power pushers” to look at alternatives to fossil fuel
- Legal careers as better “planet protectors”
- Information technology where regular geeks can take their skill and become “green geeks” applying technology solution to green efforts
- Green learning where we need more “eco educators”
- Design and construction becoming “better builders” and LEED-ing the way to more sustainable structures.
- Corporate social responsibility as a strategy to “improve industry”
- Food and farming for growth in “organic occupations”
As you think about the current career landscape, what areas do you think are most in need of a green makeover? How could you transform your own career into a green job? What skills or training do you think the workforce of tomorrow needs to create a sustainable future?