Today’s employer advice is from Silvio Marcacci, Communications Director at Energy Innovation.
Q: Tell us about your organization.
Energy Innovation is a non-partisan think tank, working with elected officials and government regulators across the United States and other largest-emitting nations, to design and implement policies reducing emissions at the speed and scale required for a safe climate future. We provide customized research and analysis to policymakers, based on scientific assessments of climate change, across the economic sectors with the largest emissions footprints: transportation, power generation, industry, and buildings. Our recommendations are driven by government data modeled by our open-source Energy Policy Simulator, which covers 20 countries and sub-national regions representing 56 percent of global emissions. I serve as communications director leading media relations, communications strategy, and public outreach.
Q: What advice would you give to people in midlife who want to transition to a green job?
The scale of the challenge we face to confront climate change can be truly daunting, but our movement has expanded as more and more people experience extreme weather impacts and want to get involved in the fight. The upshot of this is that we need as many people to join us as possible – and myriad resources are available to help people get involved regardless of where they are in their career. Clean energy jobs offer higher wages than the national average, representing an 8-19 percent increase in income, and are widely available even to workers without college degrees.
My advice would be to first think about what your existing skills are, because they’re needed somewhere in the climate movement. Then identify which aspect of the climate movement most appeals to you, and explore avenues into that job to apply your skills to openings: Do you want to lead grassroots advocacy? Groups like The Climate Reality Project, 350.org, or Sunrise Movement can hone grassroots organizing abilities. Do you already work in construction and want to install wind turbines and solar panels? Non-profits like GRID Alternatives provide volunteers with hands-on experience installing solar panels, and many technical schools or community colleges provide training for the wind energy industry. Are you currently working in research and analysis? Think tanks like mine, as well as many others, welcome people with research experience even if it’s not directly working on climate policy or clean energy issues.
Q: What are the skills that you believe will be required most in the short-medium term in your industry?
The climate crisis is so wide reaching and the action needed to win on climate spans so many aspects of our economy that we need just about every skill imaginable to help organizations grow, install clean energy, and secure emissions reduction policies. The required scale of clean energy transition required to prevent dangerous climate change is one of the largest job creation opportunities in history. Here in the U.S., transitioning to a safe climate pathway could increase gross domestic product $570 billion annually and create more than 3.2 million new job-years, both by 2030 – that’s a lot of job openings! Fossil fuel industry workers often transition to jobs installing clean energy, every climate organization needs skilled workers like accountants and human resources professionals, and anyone can become an organizer.