I just chatted with Bob Cohen, a spokesman at the D.C.-based Career College Association, an organization made up of about 1,800 accredited, private post-secondary institutions of learning that each year educate more than one million students for jobs in a variety of occupational fields. I called him because a few days ago I got an e-mail from his organization that talked about the availability of "green jobs," those that focus on improving the environment.
Americans are unfamiliar with those jobs, Cohen said.
"I think there is still an education process that needs to take place," he said. "It is an important goal for the country, but it needs to be broken down in more bite-size pieces so people can make the translation from the high level concept to specific jobs."
Green jobs include everything from positions that focus on building more energy-efficient buildings to those that create more ecologically friendly products to those that provide better approaches to using our natural resources, he said.
Check out this e-mail, entitled: Americans in the Dark on Green Jobs, Study Shows
Washington, DC – The vast majority of Americans have yet to understand how to access green job opportunities created by billions of dollars invested in such programs through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. A recent national survey commissioned by the Career College Association and conducted online by Harris Interactive®…indicates that nearly 94 percent of American adults believe people would be at least somewhat likely to consider pursuing green-related education if the federal government were to provide a financial incentive; however, only one percent have already obtained or are obtaining education for green jobs. The national survey found that more than 70 percent of American adults are familiar with the idea of green jobs. However, a much smaller percentage have seized on the numerous opportunities presented in the field today.
Knowledge about green job opportunities and training is much higher among those with greater education. College graduates are almost twice as likely as those with only a high school degree or less to know about the growing availability of green jobs (41 percent versus 22 percent), meaning that those who might benefit the most from green jobs access and training are likely to know the least about it.
"Public understanding of green jobs does not match up with the opportunities, and workers who might form the green jobs workforce of the future lack awareness of the practical steps they can take to prepare today," said CCA President Harris N. Miller. "Green jobs can be the wave of the future, but for our country to achieve that goal, we must educate the workforce about green job prospects and the training needed to break into this field."
The majority of Americans see the benefits associated with green jobs, despite only two percent having or having had a green job: 72 percent strongly or somewhat agree that the expansion of green jobs will help preserve a high quality environment and 63 percent strongly or somewhat agree that more green jobs would have a positive outcome for energy costs.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive, a custom research firm, among 2,099 adults ages 18 and older.