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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Greensource: It pays – literally – to ‘go green’ as you consider career options now, in future

By Ashley Bryant Cheney
KyForward columnist
 

When I was in high school in rural Alabama, I thought that I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I had everything figured out. I was going to go to college, major in nutrition, go to medical school and become a doctor.
 

Upon arriving at college, I was bombarded by new career options; job opportunities that were completely foreign to me. I changed my major twice while in college (most students change majors four times), and I am very happy with my education and career choices.
 

This makes me wonder about all the high school and college students who don’t know about these opportunities. I only discovered “green-collar” jobs my senior year of college by reading an article online, and now my job is to connect high school students with green careers.
 

You may be asking……what exactly is a green job?
 

A green job is any position in agriculture, manufacturing, construction, installation and maintenance, as well as scientific and technical, administrative, and service-related activities that contribute substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality (International Labor Organization).
 

And why should you care about green jobs?
 

Well, there are a lot of reasons to consider a green job. In a time when good jobs are hard to find, green jobs are and will continue to be plentiful. Also, green jobs pay up to 20 percent more than other jobs, and becoming trained in a green-collar vocation provides advantages over those people who are already in the workforce.
 

Green jobs are often found close to home. Green jobs are for everyone Finally, green jobs help to protect and improve our environment.
 

Even if you’re not interested in installing solar panels or becoming an environmental educator, knowing what “green” is and using it to your advantage when applying for a job is a worthwhile plan. Whether you are straight out of school, middle-aged or looking for a new career, you should plan to stay on top of “green” trends and opportunities. You could be a plumber working in the community and still need to know how to save homeowners money on materials or energy conservation, or how to save a business money with a conservation plan if you repair and install sprinklers systems.
 

Whatever you decide to do regarding employment, re-employment, training or education, now is the time. Green opportunities are out there in Kentucky. You can get involved in the “green economy” and be proactive to make sure you’re not left behind saying, “I wish I had known about that” or “I didn’t know that job existed.”
 

To learn more about Green Jobs or the Green Jobs Program at Bluegrass Greensource, contact Ashley Bryant Cheney, Green Jobs Coordinator at vista@bggreensource.org or call 859-266-1752.

 
Ashley photo

Ashley Bryant Cheney is the green jobs coordinator for Bluegrass Greensource, connecting green businesses with a young workforce and preparing students for green careers in the Bluegrass. From Knoxville, she’s worked in volunteer and program management at various nonprofits. She has a bachelor’s in Psychology from Carson-Newman University and a master’s in Urban Studies and Community Development from Eastern University.

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