There is lots of buzz lately about green-collar jobs. But what are they? Sightline’s primer, Green-Collar Jobs: Realizing the Promise, explains what makes a green job, how investment in clean energy creates jobs, and how Northwest leaders can foster a green-collar workforce in our region.

Green-collar jobs–workers who devote their hours to boosting energy efficiency, increasing renewable energy, or reducing pollution–represent a 3-for-1 solution: economic stability and local jobs, reduction of global warming pollution, and an escape from dependence on dirty fossil fuels.

Fully realizing the potential for green jobs will demand a comprehensive set of programs and policies to guide us into a clean-energy economy that ensures prosperity for all. Green-Collar Jobs: Realizing the Promise offers guidance to policymakers and advocates tasked with seizing green jobs opportunities.
Green-Collar Jobs: Realizing the Promise

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Included in Green-Collar Jobs:

The Promise

Green jobs can speed progress on two deeply rooted problems at once: easing our dependence on climate-warming fossil fuels and fostering lasting, broadly shared economic prosperity.

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 Plan

The biggest chance in the near term for green-collar job creation is in boosting energy efficiency in buildings. Focusing on training programs for disadvantaged, low-skill workers that lead to credentials or certifications and factoring training, employment, and formal education into career ladders will help grow a green-collar workforce.

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.

The Payoff

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 a good job for everyone who needs one.

Sightline’s green-collar jobs primer also includes sections on:

  • Profiles of real green-collar jobs in the Northwest
  • Five reasons clean energy creates jobs
  • Six lessons on successful programs for boosting energy efficiency in buildings
  • Four solutions for financing energy-efficiency improvements in buildings

Sightline’s Green-Collar Jobs: Realizing the Promise is written by Sightline executive director Alan Durning, with Jennifer Langston, Lisa Stiffler, and Roger Valdez.

Media contact: Eric Hess,, 206-447-1880, ext. 111

March 18, 2009