Getting an environmentally focused green job

By Heather Sullivan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Last week, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling hosted a green jobs fair. Growth is expected in green jobs as more companies become environmentally focused.

So what exactly is a green job? And how can you transfer your job experience into a getting one?

Green jobs are jobs with companies that work to preserve or restore the environment. Fields include agriculture, manufacturing, research and development, administrative and service industries.

Job seekers poured into the job fair at the convention center, looking for a new, green, gig.

Lauren Grochmal works for the Environmental Career Center. She says green collar jobs range from doing the same job you already do, "you could work for a company doing accounting and while your job may not feel green, you're still supporting a green initiative," to a job where you'll need special training, which can range from specialized degrees in fields like engineering or environmental sciences, to simply expanding your skills.

"Maybe they need to get a couple more skills to learn how to install a solar panel, but your previous construction experience can be very valuable in that sector," she said.

Green job growth is expected, particularly in construction and renewable energy. After the Green Jobs Act of 2007 and the stimulus bill, state and federal governments have been putting money into green job creation and training.

"There are a lot of non-profit partnerships that are being formed all over the country as a result of some grant money coming down from the Department of Energy and Department of Labor. A lot of these non-profits have money for scholarships for training, for example the Green Jobs Alliance," Grochmal said.

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College showed us how its teaching mechanics to repair electric cars.

"The students have to understand the theory and functioning of the system in order to diagnose and repair it," said instructor Lawrence Schwendeman.

Schwendeman says all of his students are landing jobs. The school also offers chemistry and biology relating to green research, and classes in energy efficient and green construction and landscaping.

"How do you conserve water in a building, from the building aspect? What materials do you use? Do you import them?," said dean Robert Heinz.

You can find green job listings on,, and Check out for training and scholarship information.

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