istock workerToday, Sightline released a primer on green jobs called Green-Collar Jobs: Realizing the Promise. Green jobs have been a much-discussed topic here and elsewhere. But what are they? Who has them? And how do we get more for Northwest workers?

A follow up to our popular Cap and Trade 101, Sightline’s new primer explains what makes a green job, how investment in clean energy creates those jobs, and how Northwest leaders can build a green-collar workforce in our region.

Included in the primer:

Green jobs, defined:

Green-collar jobs are those held by employees who devote a substantial share of their work hours to activities that boost energy efficiency, increase the supply of renewable energy, or prevent, reduce, or clean up pollution.

The Promise

Green jobs can speed progress on three important challenges at once: economic recovery, job creation, and climate change. This is an enormous opportunity to ease our dependence on climate-warming fossil fuels while fostering lasting, broadly shared economic prosperity for local families.

The Plan

The biggest chance in the near term for green-collar job creation is in boosting energy efficiency in buildings. This is local work that saves energy. These are jobs that cannot be outsourced. Focusing on training programs for workers that lead to credentials or certifications and factoring training, employment, and formal education into career ladders will help grow a green-collar workforce that gets Northwest families on a track to prosperity in the clean energy economy.

Combining work training programs in fields like efficiency retrofitting or renewable energy with innovative financing programs will supply the workers, stoke demand, and secure funding for the green-collar economy—right here in our communities.

The Prize

Applying a comprehensive set of solutions can help the Northwest lead a green-collar economic recovery. Success won’t be fully captured in higher quarterly earnings or a lower unemployment rate; it will be measured by whether the Northwest increasingly offers its residents a more sustainable way to live, with greater energy independence, fewer greenhouse-gas emissions, cozier buildings with lower operating costs, and good-paying jobs that provide paychecks with a purpose for local families.

Read more about the green jobs primer; check out profiles of northwesterners joining the green workforce; or DOWNLOAD the primer now.