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July 6th, 2009

Update: Waxman-Markey, Stimulus Dollars, and Green Jobs Training

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Carolyn ThumbnailPenned by Carolyn

Watching this one minute video review of the energy bill in the House, one word resonates again and again: jobs. The potential for job creation in moving towards a clean energy future has become a rallying cry for proponents of the Waxman-Markey Bill — because who can argue with job creation when unemployment has officially hit 9.5% nationally?

In the past couple weeks, the Labor Department announced $500 million in grants for green jobs training programs. States and cities have also started to distribute stimulus dollars for training programs. If you’re interested in who’s getting funding and how, sign up for updates from Green for All — they’ve been giving a number of conference calls to keep folks in the loop and share information nationally about training programs. Most of the money that’s being doled out focuses on helping blue-collar workers transition into the green economy — providing “pathways out of poverty” as the nation undergoes energy retrofits, solar system installation, and more.

But some concerns remain. Yesterday, the New York Times brought into question the effectiveness of retraining programs in giving trainees a leg up in the job search. As the Times wrote, “a little-noticed study the Labor Department released several months ago found that the benefits of the biggest federal job training program were ‘small or nonexistent’ for laid-off workers. It showed little difference in earnings and the chances of being rehired between laid-off people who had been retrained and those who had not.”

Hopefully, the green jobs training programs will avoid the pitfalls that have led to the concerns raised by the NYT article, and will lend a hand to folks from all backgrounds and work histories — we hear from a lot of people who are looking to transfer technical skill sets and haven’t yet found a clear pathway in helping them do so. We have to believe that, with all the energy and enthusiasm focused on the green sector right now, there couldn’t be a better moment for these programs to succeed in training the next generation of environmental leaders.

To that end, we’ll continue to provide advice and resources to our jobseekers (keep an eye out for Bright Green Seminars starting in the next couple months), and we’ll support our partner Solar Richmond as they seek stimulus funding to support their amazing solar installation training program.

Stay tuned… more exciting developments are surely on the way.

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April 10th, 2009

A Bright Green Refresher: Categorized Advice for Green Jobseekers

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Since February, we’ve been putting out daily advice for green jobseekers. If you’re new to our blog or want to poke around in a specific topic, here’s a nearly-complete list of our advice posts. Have a look around!

General:
Bright Green Talent’s 5 Ways to Ramp up your Job Search
Getting Oriented to Go Green
Getting Radically Tempered: Creating Change from the Inside
Paying it Forward
To School or Not to School?
Job Search Tip: Quality over Quantity to Keep Your Sanity
Linking People and Planet: Our Partnership with Solar Richmond
“Oh no, please don’t make me NETWORK!”

Sustainability Consulting:
Sustainability Consulting: What is it, and am I qualified? Part I
Sustainability Consulting: What is it, and am I qualified? Part II

Career Transitioning:
Perspectives from a Green Career Transition-er
To School or Not to School?
Getting Oriented to Go Green
Getting Radically Tempered: Creating Change from the Inside

Engineering:
Renewable Energy Inroads
Solar Opportunities to Match your Skill Set
Solar Classes and Certifications

Students and Recent Grads:
The Real Deal on Green Jobs for Students and Recent Grads
Get Skills; Get Savvy Part I
Get Connected (Networking 101)
How Not to Be a Jobseeker Horror Story
Resume Boot Camp I
Resume Boot Camp II
Resume Boot Camp III
Get Linked(In)

Networking:
“Oh no, please don’t make me NETWORK!”
Get Connected (Networking 101)
Get Linked(In)

Career Coaching:
Here to Help: BGT Launches Career Coaching
Career Coaching: Launch is a Success!
Kudos to Christina: Career Coaching Feedback

Tom’s (Rules of) Thumb
Green Jobs: The Definitive Article
Top Skills for Getting a Green Job
What’s the Best Way to Find a Green Job?
Twit Your Way to a Green Job
On Eco-preneurship

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April 2nd, 2009

Lending a Hand to Jobseekers

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img_0153Penned by Nick

It’s been a peripatetic week. I’ve got just a few short observations to offer, all with one general theme: there’s a lot going on around us that we aren’t paying attention to. Most good, some bad.

Despite the fact I feel like I have few hours to myself every day, I still manage to parse the NY Times daily. Their article on things anyone can do to help be part of the solution to unemployment is refreshing, insightful, challenging, and inspiring all at once. Give it a read–it could change your whole frame of thinking.

My own frame of reference took a big step this week when I observed a few Everyday Heroes installing PV panels in Richmond. Solar Richmond inspired me in a new way this past week, and reaffirmed my belief that green jobs are more than just a pathway out of poverty–they are the path to the future.

Despite that, unemployment continues to climb towards double digits in states nationwide (North Carolina and Oregon now both in double digits). Bright Green Talent itself is feeling the squeeze, though still able to catch a few rays of sun. Our in-house Everyday Hero, Squire Tom, continues to champion and inspire. We’re chasing rainbows and believe we’re near the pot of green gold. Stay tuned…we’re running into new fields. More to come.

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March 31st, 2009

Linking People and Planet: Our Partnership with Solar Richmond

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Penned by Christina

christina-srYou may have noticed that we recently added a tag line on to our job descriptions, along the lines of “1% of the proceeds from this search will be reinvested in Solar Richmond, our non-profit partner.” While we’re glad to be able to financially support SR’s work (you should check out their site and learn about their amazing model), we are also committed to finding other ways to share our resources and knowledge of the green jobs space with our new partner.

So, on Friday, Nick and I went over to Solar Richmond to do just that.  We conducted and recorded mock interviews with students of the program that will be utilized as training materials for future classes.  Afterward, we also got the chance to see a live installation project where Solar Richmond had partnered with Grid Alternatives.

solar-richmond-logo3Our partnership with Solar Richmond in and of itself represents a sort-of culmination of a lot of concepts for me.  Back in 2005 when I first discovered Van Jones, it felt like he was the only one out there trumpeting the ideas that our social issues are intricately connected to our environmental ones.  I spent three years in grad school trying to connect those ideas in an academic context (which totally worked), but it has always been difficult to find the application of these ideas in a real-world context.  It was amazing for me to actually experience and really feel the dual focus that Solar Richmond places on teaching the technical skills necessary for their students to succeed coupled with “fuzzier” concepts like personal accountability, empowerment, teamwork and community.  Witnessing this model succeed literally brought me to tears.

Being able to apply the work I do through BGT’s green career coaching to this partnership was truly a moving experience and I thank Solar Richmond for letting us be a part of their amazing vision!

Photo: Me with Angie of Solar Richmond at the installation

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