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June 8, 2010 > Counseling Corner: The Tri Cities: a heaven for green jobs

Counseling Corner: The Tri Cities: a heaven for green jobs

By Anne Chan, PhD, MFT

Green is the new "it" color, and not just on St. Patrick's Day. There's been a lot of talk lately about green collar jobs or green jobs, especially with President Obama's recent visit to Solyndra.

There isn't one definition of a green job, so I took the liberty of fashioning my own: a green job is one that is good for the environment or reduces harm to the environment or to people. Based on my definition, I would count all of the following as green jobs: solar panel installer, bicycle repairman, landscapers who use environmentally friendly gardening methods, and organic farmers. Another term that is cropping up regularly is "Clean Tech;" this term usually refers to companies or technology that provides clean energy and environmental solutions, e.g. solar, wind, and alternative fuels.

I'm personally enthused about the green job movement and am all for green jobs. But as a career counselor, I also believe that one should never go for green jobs just because they're all the rage now. If you could care less about energy efficiency or toxic waste clean-up, then don't make a career change that you don't believe in. But if you are passionate about working to help the environment, go for it!

Here are some other local (and beyond) resources to get you started on a green career path:

For those seeking green job training:
Ohlone College in Fremont offers an environmental studies program, as well as specialized training tracks such as the Solar Intensive Training Program (http://www.ohlone.edu/instr/envstudies/solarintensivetraining.html).

California State University East Bay offers an environmental studies major that combines both hard and social sciences, preparing graduates for varied environmental careers such as waste, air quality, and forest management.

Right here in our own backyard is an internship for those interested in working with Mother Nature. Baia Nicchia Farm in Sunol offers a unique organic farming internship that is flexible and teaches various aspects of running an organic farm: http://baianicchia.blogspot.com/2010/05/our-internship-program.html

For those seeking green jobs:
Any job seeker should look at the usual job sites such as monster.com or craigslist.org. But there are job sites devoted specifically to green jobs. Here are some of my favorites:

Three of my favorite websites for green jobs are www.greenforall.org, www.eco.org, and http://jobs.care2.com/a/all-jobs/list. Those looking specifically for environmental jobs can check out http://jobs.treehugger.com/. Clean-tech job seekers can look at http://jobs.cleanedge.com/ and energy job seekers can turn to http://www.energycentraljobs.com/. Last but not least, who can resist the call to "find your dream job in natural resources?" This is the tagline for http://www.cyber-sierra.com/nrjobs/ -- definitely a must for anyone wanting a green job.

There are many wonderful nonprofits that specialize in all aspects of saving and supporting the environment. Many also offer green jobs. Look at http://www.envirolink.org/ for a list of environmental nonprofits where you can start your job search.

The good news is that the Bay Area is THE place for clean and green technology, with Tesla Motors and Solyndra based right here in Fremont, and the SunPower/Flextronics partnership in Milpitas. You can start your search for a green job right here in the Tri Cities!

Anne Chan is a career counselor and licensed psychotherapist in Union City. She specializes in helping people find happiness in their careers, lives, and relationships. She can be reached at 510-744-1781. Her website is www.annechanconsulting.com

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