green.jpgI know you guys were thinking my post was going to be on women and the green-eyed monster — you know, jealously, envy.

Sorry to disappoint you. This post is actually about so-called “green” jobs. (We can talk about the monster later because that’s a definite workplace issue.)

With dismal news this morning about the nation’s jobless rate in September, rising to 9.8 percent, many of you are wondering how you can secure a career future, especially if you were working in an industries that have been hardest hit — finance, construction, manufacturing.

The future is indeed green jobs, everything for solar panel installation to technological and engineering advances to help green up the nation’s electrical grids. With $80 billion being poured into green industries as part of the government’s stimulus package, and an endless array of tax credits too boost environmentally friendly initiatives, jobs opportunities will abound in the clean-up-the-world space.

But where do women fit in?

Many of you gals out there are thinking, “I’m not going to climb a roof to install solar panels.” And when it comes to engineering and technology women are still underrepresented.

That isn’t stopping Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis from touting the green movement as the next frontier for women workers.

A source at the Department of Labor told me yesterday the Secretary is well aware of the hurdles women face getting into green jobs. That’s why Holdis believes if the government pays extra attention to individuals who are not naturals for these industries their participation will rise.

By extra attention, they mean grants that are part of the stimulus package that will go to training and research programs for careers in energy and renewables

From the labor department on initiatives that highlight women:

The Recovery Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama on February 17, 2009. The Recovery Act designates $500 million for projects that prepare workers for careers in the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors described in Section 171(e)(1)(B) of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The purpose of these grants, which fund both green job training and research projects, is to teach workers the skills required in these emerging energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors. These efforts will lead program participants to job placement while leveraging other Recovery Act investments intended to create jobs and promote economic growth.

That means there will be training available in your town so you need to keep an eye out. Call your local department of labor now and find out if there are any federal programs, or even state initiatives that can help you get on a new career path.

At a round table on Earth Day in April, Solis talked about the issue:

I believe that women are fully capable of not only working in these fields, but managing others in these fields and creating the future jobs in these industries.

Her department has held up one facility making solar panels in Memphis where many women toil on the manufacturing floor. Solis visited the Sharp plant earlier this year. solar.jpg

It’s great to see women making strides in jobs many believe are the domain of men, but no matter how much you pump into training programs things won’t change if women don’t step up and take advantage of them.

In this economy, women have to think outside of the career box. It may not be easy being green, but Kermit made a pretty good living out of it. Move over Mr. Frog!

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