Ecotech Institute's jobs index sheds light on clean tech economy

Ecotech Institute launches clean jobs indexThere were more than 3 million green jobs available in the United States in 2012 just waiting to be filled with qualified candidates.

That’s one key piece of information in the new Clean Jobs Index launched earlier this month by Ecotech Institute in Denver.

“Ecotech Institute is the first and only college completely dedicated to the renewable energy and sustainability fields,” said Keri Burnett, spokeswoman for the college.

She said that every time there was a new political discussion or scare in the public about the health of the clean tech economy, the school would get a lot of questions from students and potential students about their realistic job prospects upon graduation.

The school primarily works with the solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, wind and other renewable energy and energy efficiency industries.

“We would tell them we’re placing students in the field all the time,” Burnett said. “But we had to find some way to show people the jobs are out there.”

That’s when the idea of the index was born. From there it expanded to become more than a jobs board, but an index of where in the country the clean jobs are concentrated and how lifestyle indicators in a particular state influence the number of green jobs there.

“If people are more adept at being sustainable in nature, does that correlate with more jobs?” Burnett said. “In Colorado it does. In California and Oregon. That’s our hypothesis. Now we just have to see how it plays out.”

The school is working with and aggregator who pulls from 17,000 different job sites and uses the Department of Labor Statistics “green jobs” definition to identify jobs that belong in the index.

The index gives people useful information for planning their next career moves, whether it’s in solar energy or energy efficiency, said Kyle Crider, sustainability director for Ecotech.

“It gives someone the ability to go in and say ‘this state looks promising for a number of reasons, but am I going to have a job there?’ and be able to see real opportunities,” Crider said. “that’s what makes this index unique.”

The index will have new jobs data and listings every month. Ecotech plans to comb the data and release reports on the health of the green economy quarterly.

Burnett said she expects media, politicos and researchers to use the resource as much or even more than job seekers to get meaningful data.

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