45% annual growth.
It’s a number that could make any workforce or economic development professional’s eyes pop out of their sockets.
I was literally blown away by that number, which is the expected annual growth rate of the demand for wind turbine service technicians. This profession is just one of many new green job industries growing throughout the United States. And though the job is relatively challenging – lugging 50 pounds of gear up long ladders into confined spaces, traveling constantly to remote parts of the country, and dealing with all types of weather – it also pays $80,000 annually without a college degree. Job postings for this role are soaring, up sixfold since 2018, as the 73,000 wind turbines across 44 states need their twice-yearly checkups.
What’s driving this growth? The exciting confluence of declining prices for renewable energy, energy-efficient construction, increasing demand for electric vehicles (EVs), and government-funded incentives are going to create a net increase of 18 million jobs! Many of these jobs have been around for a long time, and others are brand new. Just check out this exciting list of even more environmentally friendly careers:
When it comes to growing our manufacturing workforce, these new jobs can certainly be the wind beneath our collective wings.
The answer, my friends, is NOT blowing in the wind. It’s actually pretty easy: For the MEP National Network™, which is dedicated to nurturing and advancing the manufacturing sector, embracing the green jobs movement aligns seamlessly with our mission. Because of our national reach and close relationships with more than 100,000 manufacturing businesses, our National Network is in a unique position not only to develop more wind turbine service technicians, but also to create seamless talent pipelines for a wide range of green jobs, which have grown more than 50% since 2019.
This is where the workforce puck is headed. The number of green jobs are expected to expand to nearly 24 million, comprising 14% of total U.S. jobs, by 2030. In fact, fully a third of American workers – up to 51.6 million people – whose jobs are threatened by automation or artificial intelligence could be reskilled into green jobs.
Honestly, everyone! To fully harness this transformative energy, it is essential to embrace an inclusive approach. Forget the traditional workforce – it’s time for a breath of fresh air for our new manufacturing and maintenance jobs. From young people to underserved adults, new immigrants to people with special needs, there’s a place for everyone in the new, environmentally focused workforce. Here are a few areas where MEP Centers can play an important role.
When it comes to the rise of green jobs, the winds of change are blowing stronger every day. I’ve written previously about the importance of workforce innovation, with numerous examples of MEP Centers engaging new populations, using new technologies, testing out new partnerships and more.
Let’s make sure that the rising wind fills all sails – for our workers, for our companies, and for our communities. Only through an inclusive, entrepreneurial approach can we fill the green jobs of the future.