Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Going Green Collar - Alternative Energy Careers in California

Lately I’ve heard a lot of clients say they’re interested in solar and related careers as an emerging industry, especially for those who are feeling the hit coming from construction-related industries. Although Obama promised to put a focus on alternative energy, the current economy is suggesting that perhaps 2009 may be a good time for planning for a move, but not making one just yet.

Emerging careers include solar installers, project managers, engineers, technicians, energy auditors, as well as a variety of administrative and sales positions within these sectors. So how do we plan for any kind of career move? We become educated, trained, and begin making contacts. Below are some local resources to begin making contacts that provide opportunities for professional development in the alternative energy and emerging technologies sectors.

EcoTuesdays -
Hosts informative and networking events on the 4th Tuesday of every month in both Silicon Valley and San Francisco

SD Forum -
Has many event focusing on emerging technologies, including those in the green

American Solar Energy Society (ASES) -
Extensive resources on the solar industry, including job board for research

Northern California Solar Energy Association -
ASES’s local chapter, based out of Berkeley

WorkIt! Networking Event Calendar -
A very comprehensive calendar of networking events and resources

CA Green Jobs Guidebook -
Includes many profiles of green collar careers, job training and apprenticeship programs (include FREE opportunities), and more from California’s Environmental Defense Fund

Before making a move, as with any other job search, make sure you research any potential employers carefully. You’ll want to know how long they’ve been in business, what contracts and projects they’ve been successful with in the past, and much, much more.

I would love to see people add to this list or offer further advice on “going green collar” – please comment!


  1. Van Jones of Oakland, CA organizes green collar training programs. Here's a blog post I wrote about him.

  2. Another great link:

    Green California Summit & Expo