Department of Labor Releases Green Jobs Guide for Women

Last week, the United States Department of Labor Women’s Bureau released a guide to jobs in the green sector for women. The guide, called “Why Green Is Your Color: A Woman’s Guide to a Sustainable Career”, was produced to assist women in finding and landing high-paying jobs in the environmental field. The green sector has been rapidly expanding for a few years now, and it’s only reasonable that women should have the same opportunities. Many people looking for green jobs, including women, don’t know where to start, what opportunities are available or how to prepare themselves for their careers, due to the increase of jobs in the environmental sector.

Currently, men occupy many of the environmental and clean energy-related positions, including jobs that require physical labor, such as climbing wind turbines for repair. The Department of Labor said that it published the guide after holding a series of national roundtables, in which participants expressed that they didn’t know much about the jobs that are available in the green sector. The roundtables educated women about green jobs and the training and skills necessary for such positions, and informed them of career opportunities in fields such as alternative energy, green construction and environmental protection.

“Many occupations in the clean energy economy remain virtually untapped by women. This guide is an invaluable resource that workforce professionals can use to help women transition into higher paying jobs that serve as a pathway into the middle class. It is also a tool to help fight job segregation,” said Sara Manzano-Díaz, director of the Women’s Bureau, in a statement by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau. “Green jobs can help women increase their income and we must make sure that women are adequately represented in the ranks of workers in green jobs.”

The guide contains nine chapters and includes information such as advice on overcoming barriers to employment in green jobs, success stories from women currently employed in the field, tips on becoming a green entrepreneur, how to prepare for green jobs and a glossary.

Among the information distributed in the guide is a fact sheet informing women that job openings in the environmental field are abundant, and that companies are looking to hire professionals of any age and skill level, as well as employees with a wide range of interests and qualifications. The guide also explains the qualifications for green jobs, noting that experience in a modern workplace or volunteer work is desirable, as are technical skills, which women can obtain through formal education or on the job. A range of educational opportunities to prepare employees for green jobs include internships, apprenticeships, colleges and universities, certificate programs and programs designed to prepare youth for green careers.

The guide defines the top five skills that employers are seeking as:
– Ability to communicate well verbally and in writing;
– A strong work ethic;
– Ability to work in a team;
– Initiative; and
– Ability to analyze a problem.

Advice on how to find and apply for green jobs, as well as interview tips, is also offered. The guide concludes by profiling seven successful women who hold environmental jobs in a range of capacities, from directing a nonprofit organization, to installing solar panels, to studying soil science and acting as CEO of environmental companies. Female entrepreneurs are also profiled, and the publication presents instruction on how and why to start your own environmentally-friendly company.

The Women’s Bureau was established in 1920, and is the only federal body that speaks for working women and helps them find higher paying jobs, achieve success in their field and earn fair wages.

Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/mdpettitt/2982347456/

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