By MIRIAM ACZEL
The Leaders in Energy (LE) 6th Annual Green Jobs Forum, held on August 22, 2019 at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, had a particularly important focus this year—jobs for a low-carbon, circular economy. Attendees had the opportunity to learn more about how the growth of the green economy, and our most pressing environmental and energy needs, is shaping job creation and enhancing workforce development. Attendees also had the opportunity to hear from Leaders in Energy members who have landed their ‘dream green job’, and a variety of career experts led workshops designed to help jobseekers prepare for the next steps in their green career path. The 6th iteration of this essential annual event provided a great opportunity to network with employers, educators, and career assistance organizations.
One of the key features of this event was the Green Employers Exposition, which gave employers and jobseekers, students and investors a unique forum to communicate and learn about job openings, career options and assistance, educational certifications, and recent developments in the mission to foster a greener, more sustainable world.
I had the pleasure of catching up with some of our exhibitors and learning a bit more about the essential role they play in the transition to a greener economy. Some of the exhibitors at the 2019 Green Jobs Forum included:
WMATA’s commitment to environmental sustainability is foundational to their service as a provider of public transportation. Metro has a commitment to improving safety, reliability, and affordability of their services, and plays a crucial role in promoting greener, low carbon transport to the DC metropolitan area: by opting to take the Metro, DC riders keep roughly 1 million additional car trips off the roads every weekday!
This in turn reduces fossil fuel emissions and helps to improve urban air quality. In light of their commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency, WMATA has implemented their 2025 Energy Action Plan, which is working to reduce energy and resource use, while promoting job growth and innovation. For example, WMATA is currently upgrading all stations and facilities to use the most energy-efficient LED lighting, as well as conducting renovations and designing new facilities to ensure they meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum standards. Most importantly, Metro estimates that their annual ‘green’ impact by 2025 will include $16 million in energy costs savings, and roughly 160,000 metric tons of avoided carbon dioxide emissions, or the equivalent to taking 35,000 automobiles off the road for a year, among other benefits.
Since 2011, DCSEU has been working to enable both DC residents and businesses to increase energy efficiency and save money by providing financial incentives as well as critical technical assistance and access to information.
Through their Workforce Development Program, DCSEU seeks to connect DC jobseekers or residents looking for new career opportunities with local contractors in the rapidly expanding ‘green economy’. Through tailored green career skills development, training and certifications, work experience, and job placement guidance, the program empowers ‘externs’ to find exciting new careers in sustainability. Running twice a year, the DCSEU’s Workforce Development Program helps connect local residents with 6-month externships with local contractors and other employers. The Workforce Development Program is specifically designed to help reduce local unemployment, improve economic stability by enhancing jobseekers’ marketable skills, as well as train a cohort of employees to land their dream job, as well as effectively transition into new and developing industries and advance in their green career path.
A small business with a big impact, BCS has over 30 years of experience in assisting clients in government, research, and the private sector clients implement their core values to achieve success. BSC provides a wide scope of professional services in the areas ranging from communications, critical analysis, engineering, and business management. BCS’s clients include both federal agencies and state agencies including departments of natural resources, transportation, and energy, in addition to a variety of national laboratories and a range of private companies, NGO’s, and associations. They have a proven track record of building long-lasting and trust-filled relationships with clients thanks to their unique our ability to anticipate client needs and develop targeted and efficient solutions to meet those needs, as well as their ability to connect clients with crucial resources and information. Some examples of recent projects include:
- Providing energy systems support for the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives (OEI) through the Large-Scale Renewable and Resilience Energy System Development which provided the OEI with expertise on renewable energy systems and design analysis;
- Development of an interactive animation for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) in order to help non-technical audiences understand how wind turbines work
- Supporting the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) with in developing the Strategic Plan for a Thriving and Sustainable Bioeconomy, a project with a sustainability vision for 2040 that identified current challenges, future opportunities, and shared objectives.
Advanced Biofuels USA is a nonprofit educational organization which works to promote implementation of advanced biofuel resources as a ‘green’ solution with benefits of enhanced energy security, increased economic development, and climate change mitigation. Advanced biofuels are sustainable and renewable fuels that are derived from either forest or agricultural waste or residual materials, or other clean biomass feedstocks such as algae. Advanced Biofuels USA works to advocate for adoption of biofuels to provide clean energy solutions while ‘closing the loop’ through utilizing waste materials. The nonprofit works to connect policy leaders and decision makers with important technological information, supply trusted and valid resources on often controversial topics, and leverage the technical knowledge of biofuel experts to empower decision-makers with accurate and timely information. Advanced Biofuels USA provides access to cutting-edge research on biomass feedstocks, as well as information on agricultural programs. The organization provides tools to learn about educational projects and resources for students, grants and funding opportunities, and a plethora of career resources and opportunities.
Some of the other exhibitors included Career Confidence, University of Virginia’s McIntire Business Institute, Virginia Clean Energy Summit, Clean Choice Energy, and the National Capital Chapter of the Association of Energy Engineers. Stay tuned for our follow-up article highlighting the rest of this years’ Green Employers and Organizations!
Miriam Aczel is a President’s Scholar PhD Candidate at Imperial College London’s Centre for Environmental Policy. Her research is on international energy science and policy, with a focus on mitigation of environmental and health impacts of shale gas, greenhouse gas removal technologies, and citizen science and public participation mechanisms. She is also co-founder and co-director of the Amir D. Aczel Foundation for Research and Education in Science and Mathematics, a nonprofit supporting educational programs in Cambodia and beyond.
Miriam is Director of Communications and blog editor for Leaders in Energy.