Parts one and two of the Finding Green Jobs series focused on identifying current opportunities. The last article in this series examines strategies for identifying green job opportunities that may become available in the future.
Part 3: Future Green Jobs
1.) Follow the Money
One method to identify potential future green jobs is to identify where investments are being made today. This can be a productive strategy as these investments may lead to the development of new enterprises that have jobs. Specific approaches include:
- Identifying private sector investment. Venture capital firms, private equity firms, and corporations are all making significant investments in existing or new enterprises in the green sector. The recipients of these investment may be sources of future (or even current) job opportunities. Sources to learn about these investments include The Cleantech Group, Earth2Tech, GreenBeat, Greentech Media, and Green VC.
- Identify public sector investment. As with the private sector, the public sector is investing in the green sector and the recipients of these investment may also be sources of current or future job opportunities. Sources to learn about these investments include the ones mentioned above as well as directly reviewing government websites such as the U.S. Department of Energy.
2.) Follow the Law
A second method to identify potential future green jobs is to identify federal, state, or local legislative, judicial, or regulatory changes that impact the green economic sector. Government action can include providing funds for new initiatives (such as the approximately $8 billion in expanded funding for weatherization in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) that can lead to new employment opportunities or rules that may lead to new business opportunities. Sources for identifying these legal developments include those mentioned above as well as organizations such as the Apollo Alliance and Green For All.
3.) Follow the Startups
New enterprises can be a source for potential future job opportunities. Some strategies for identifying these are:
- Green and Social Venture Business Plan Competitions. These programs are organized by business schools and other organizations and are generally geared to ventures that are at an early stage in their development. These include programs such as the Clean Tech Open and the Global Social Venture Competition. Job seekers can review the list of entrants and winners of these competitions as potential future sources of jobs. In addition, job seekers may consider entering a competition or joining the team of an entrant (some of these competitions offer mixers to facilitate team recruitment). A list of some of these competitions is available on Green VC.
- Green and Social Entreprenuership Awards and Fellowships. These program vary and include cash prizes for one-time contests, seed funding for new ventures, and later-stage funding for existing organizations. These include programs such as Echoing Green and the Skoll Award for Social Entreprenuership. As with business plan competitions, job seekers can review the list of winners of these programs as potential future sources of jobs. A list of some of these programs is available on Green VC.