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Employers say green job growth slow but sustainable; Many private-sector companies not hiring green jobs yet

It's a slow process, but for people looking for a green job in the plummeting economy, the jobs are out there. But there's just not too many of them -- not yet, anyway. While electrical workers are thrilled at the prospect of having jobs related to those wind turbines, fewer people are needed to run 100 wind mills -- roughly 20, compared to the hundreds who might be needed to run a coal-fired plant, like the one recently denied by the Wisconsin Public Service commission late last year.

MADISON, Wis. -- It's a slow process, but for people looking for a green job in the plummeting economy, the jobs are out there.

But there's just not too many of them -- not yet, anyway.

One thing people should consider when looking for a so-called "green-collar job" is that it includes a lot of things.

"They are human resources jobs, marketing jobs, entry-level program assistants jobs," said Mary Schlaefer, with the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corp. "Green jobs span a broad spectrum."

Madison-based WECC hired about 40 workers last year, in a variety of positions. Currently, the company lists everything from IT jobs, to program managers overseeing the implementation of energy-efficient weatherization projects.

In the hard-hit construction fields, some say that green jobs are starting to kick in at just the right time.

In Madison, more and more large-scale and commercial and institutional construction projects are being built using only the most-advanced eco-friendly methods. Iron workers, building the skeleton of the Institutes of Discovery on University Avenue, might not realize it, but they're working "green jobs."

The $150 million structure is expected to qualify as a silver... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

MADISON, Wis. -- It's a slow process, but for people looking for a green job in the plummeting economy, the jobs are out there.

But there's just not too many of them -- not yet, anyway.

One thing people should consider when looking for a so-called "green-collar job" is that it includes a lot of things.

"They are human resources jobs, marketing jobs, entry-level program assistants jobs," said Mary Schlaefer, with the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corp. "Green jobs span a broad spectrum."

Madison-based WECC hired about 40 workers last year, in a variety of positions. Currently, the company lists everything from IT jobs, to program managers overseeing the implementation of energy-efficient weatherization projects.

In the hard-hit construction fields, some say that green jobs are starting to kick in at just the right time.

In Madison, more and more large-scale and commercial and institutional construction projects are being built using only the most-advanced eco-friendly methods. Iron workers, building the skeleton of the Institutes of Discovery on University Avenue, might not realize it, but they're working "green jobs."

The $150 million structure is expected to qualify as a silver LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) facility.

"Iron workers are among the many beneficiaries of the labor involved to build it," said Mike Grimslid, business manager of Madison-based Iron Workers Local 383. "It's a definite; it's a lot of business, lot of work for the construction trades, and it's going to happen, more and more and more."

And it's just the beginning of the green-built era in Madison, said City Public Works Commission member Scott Vaughn, who doubles as the executive director of the Building and Construction Trades Council of South Central Wisconsin.

"Nothing is going to be built by the city in the future that is not green built or what we call LEED-certified building," Vaughn said.

There are even more jobs blowing in to the northeast of Madison, in Fond du Lac County, at the 7,800-acre Cedar Ridge Wind Farm. That's meant work for various Wisconsin trades.

"With your wind turbines you do get spin-offs -- cement slab, cement masons, a lot of electrical work," Vaughn said.

And Grimslid said that wind turbines are a source of a lot of work for iron laborers.

"The more of this green work, the wind turbines, which we get a tremendous amount of hours from that, that's 90 percent iron work," Grimslid said.

But there are some downsides to the green movement in the eyes of some.

While electrical workers are thrilled at the prospect of having jobs related to those wind turbines, fewer people are needed to run 100 wind mills -- roughly 20, compared to the hundreds who might be needed to run a coal-fired plant, like the one recently denied by the Wisconsin Public Service commission late last year. It was denied in part because of pollutants the facility would generate, WISC-TV reported.

"The movement away from coal plant is fewer workers to do the work -- unfortunately for us," said Tony Bartels, the union business agent for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 965.

Grimslid said that single 3-0 decision by the PSC has 20 percent of his union hall looking for work.

"If that plant would have went in a timeframe, we wouldn't have 100 guys off in our local right now," he said.

Another unidentified Dane County-based LEED-certified builder said that officials shouldn't sugarcoat the number of jobs the green movement will create.

"I know there have been many comments about creating millions of jobs, but we haven't seen anything along these lines. The wind turbine industry was soaring; however, now some of the federal credits for that have expired. I would say the government is creating internal jobs more so than in the private sector," the builder said.

And many private-sector companies are simply holding steady, weathering the storm of a rocky economy.

Solar panel installer Chris Collins, of H&H Group of Madison, is an example of that.

"We are busier than we've ever been, but we're not hiring," Collins said. "We have the luxury as a union shop to pull electricians for solar electric and plumbers for solar hot water off the bench, as they call it (unemployed ranks), to fill in when we need it," Collins said.

But some said time will create more opportunities. Bartels said America still needs older plants to keep the lights on. And those plants will need to be updated to meet greener air standards.

"A lot of those emission changes will be very labor intensive for the people who are going to do that construction, and the people who are going be needed to operate them," Bartels said.

"For us it is kind of a godsend and light at the end of the tunnel, because this is the kind of work we do," Vaughn said.

Schlaefer said it will take some time for the green job movement to grab hold. Once it's here, she said, it will be here to stay.

"This isn't intended as just a one-shot in the arm. This really is a transformation," she said.


Source: http://www.channel3000.com/...

APR 23 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/19974-employers-say-green-job-growth-slow-but-sustainable-many-private-sector-companies-not-hiring-green-jobs-yet
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