Today’s employer advice is from Nora Wang Esram, Senior Director for Research at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
Q: Tell us about your organization.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a nonprofit research organization, develops transformative policies to reduce energy waste and combat climate change. With our independent analysis, we aim to build a vibrant and equitable economy—one that uses energy more productively, reduces costs, protects the environment, and promotes the health, safety, and well-being of everyone.
Q: What advice would you give to people in midlife who want to transition to a green job?
Green jobs have a really wide spectrum. They include technology development, policy and program development, community engagement, boots-on-the-ground installation and implementation, etc. You can find green jobs in many sectors—buildings, transportation, utilities, industry, and more. We would suggest job seekers identify the types of green jobs and the sectors that are most appealing to them and to which they can adapt their existing skills. I believe nearly everyone who is interested in joining the green workforce can find a suitable position, as more governments and companies integrate climate actions into their policies and business. People can use ACEEE’s state scorecard and city scorecard series to gain a quick overview of their local area’s policies and programs related to clean energy and energy efficiency.
Q: What are the skills that you believe will be required most in the short-medium term in your industry?
The specific skills depend on the type of job and the sector, as mentioned above. For example, an HVAC contractor might want to gain new knowledge about how to size, install, and maintain heat pumps; a mechanic may need to develop the skills to fix and maintain electric vehicles; a mechanical or electrical engineer may want to develop their skills in energy modeling and data analytics. Soft skills, such as time management, working with a team, and effective communication, apply to all green jobs. Last but not least, green jobs need people with enthusiasm and creativity, as the field continues to grow and evolve.