A combination of legislation and activism is inspiring companies to consider the “green” side to their business. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows environmentally related occupations are projected to grow 38 percent more than all other occupations combined by 2016. The report, “Current and Potential Green Jobs in the U.S. Economy,” predicts the highest growth of green jobs will be in renewable power generation, retrofitting residential and commercial areas and in renewable transportation fuels. As a result, universities are increasingly integrating economic, environmental and social issues into their curriculum.
One of these institutions, has created several green focused specializations to build on the school’s core degree programs including business administration with a specialization in sustainability management, and electronics engineering technology with a specialization in renewable energy.
“Education needs to reflect this trend for the future leaders who will build economic and technological capital while considering the impact on social and natural resources,” said Jesus Fernandez, associate provost for curriculum at DeVry University. “Green curriculum adds focus on sustainability and environmental impact to the core business and electronics engineering technology degree programs.”
Fernandez offers three main growth areas:
Sustainability Management. An emerging area for leadership involves resource conservation, pollution prevention and the regulation and enforcement for process and procedure to be made more efficient and with greater sustainability. Those interested in sustainability management should explore coursework that provides a sound foundation of business and management principles while emphasizing green considerations, technologies and economic factors.
Renewable Energy. Relating to the production, transmission and storage of sustainable energy sources wind, solar, geothermal and biomass power many of the skills needed in engineering, design, planning or project management for renewable sources of energy are similar to those needed in traditional energy fields.
A strong engineering technology and electronics foundation provides an emphasis on alternative power sources and the economics of green engineering.
Changing Skill Occupations. With the increasing cultural shift toward environmental stewardship, there is a substantial need for employees of all levels to understand the green process. Students now have the opportunity to add desirable green skills to their existing area of expertise be it marketing, operations, finance or management.
In the last decade, U.S. green jobs increased by 9.1 percent with little government investment almost 150 percent more than total of 3.7 percent for the same period. Companies will require employees to understand “green,” and it will be essential for graduates to prepare themselves for this changing environment.