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Thursday, January 26, 2012
In Anoka, manufacturers like Olympic Steel, Firestone, Pentair and Micron Metalworks are hiring people who’ve graduated from a precision sheet metal class that incorporates the principles of “green manufacturing” — aimed at reducing waste and energy use on the shop floor. These companies report that improving sustainability means more money on their bottom lines, in addition to its being the right thing to do.
Recently, the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) released a report showing that 2.5 percent of the overall hiring demand in Minnesota between 2009 and 2011 was for “green jobs.” Stories like the one in Anoka, where companies are actively hiring people who have training to improve sustainability, are a great example of the kind of jobs that are now driving our economy.
The study defines a green job as “one that is directly related and/or essential to a green product, green service, or green process.” It found that green job openings tend to be of better quality than other job openings, being predominately full-time, permanent positions that offer high wages. And, while green job vacancies grew on par with the rest of the economy over that time span, 54 percent of the positions were new, not the result of attrition. The highest share of these job opportunities could be found in small or very small firms.
One thing is made clear by the report: Going green is growing new, good jobs in our state. Workers from every walk of life, in every industry and in every part of Minnesota, are finding out they too can be part of an economy that values sustainability and reducing waste.
But what the report doesn’t count are all the jobs created throughout the supply chain for the industries that will drive a cleaner, more energy-efficient and more competitive American economy:
Expanding the market for wind creates demand for steel and the more than 8,000 parts that go into a wind turbine.
Producing advanced vehicle technology creates new jobs for American workers in the assembly plant and throughout auto-supply companies.
Expanding high-speed Internet will create jobs across many industries building the information superhighway.
And improving our water, electric and transmission infrastructure will create jobs for utility workers and more.
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