Early results from the New York State’s Department of Labor study of the state’s green workforce show green jobs may look a little different than people thought.
Kevin Hannell headed the study, which was funded with federal stimulus dollars. He says people are transitioning to green jobs with their with existing skillsets.
“We were expecting to see a lot of wind turbine technicians coming out of there, more photovoltaic installers, and it’s not the case," Hannell said. "There are a lot of people out there continuing to transition to green, a lot of people doing work in renewable energy and energy efficiency, but it doesn’t require as many new skills as people would think.”
Hannell said he’s optimistic about sector growth but the numbers don’t suggest it will be a cure-all for the state. “It’s not going to be the panacea some people think,” Hannell said. “It’s not going to be able to solve all our problems, and devote all our resource to green, because even if we double the number of green jobs here, we’d still only be increasing the New York State workforce by two percent. However, it is definitely an area that seems to be expanding.”
The study found a total of 180,000 green workers. A third of workers in construction were found to be doing green work, most in energy efficiency. Seven percent of firms without green employees expected to add at least one green job in the coming year.