Ecotech’s “Women in Renewable Energy” Club Mirrors Department of Labor Push to Get More Women Interested in Green Jobs
Historically men have dominated green jobs, yet a new report is trying to shift the tides. The report recently released by the Department of Labor, “Why Green Is Your Color: A Woman's Guide to a Sustainable Career,” highlights the fact that green jobs tend to be dominated by men, yet opportunities abound for women as well. It has been noticed as well by Ecotech Institute, the first and only college entirely focused on preparing America’s workforce for careers in renewable energy and sustainability. In fact, the school held its first “Women in Renewable Energy” (WIRE) meeting on February 16 to bring together women at the campus to share ideas, help each other with classwork and empower one another as they embark on a green career.
Ecotech is seeing increasingly more women interested in the green revolution and it is a trend the Labor Department wants to see continue. The Labor Department states that according to The National Center for O*NET Development, several green occupations are “Bright Outlook” occupations, meaning they are expected to grow rapidly from 2008 – 2018, with a combined increase of 100,000 or more job openings. Some jobs designated as “Bright Outlook” are wind turbine service technicians, solar photovoltaic installers and recycling coordinators.
The impetus for the report was in support of Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis’s vision of “Good Jobs for Everyone.” The downloadable green jobs guide is designed to help women learn about the opportunities available in the renewable energy space, which they may not have previously considered. According to the report synopsis, “The guide was created to help women at all stages of their careers — whether they are newly entering the workforce, transitioning to new careers, or returning to the workforce — identify and take advantage of opportunities in the clean energy economy.”
“We are focused on making Ecotech a welcoming environment for women because we know they have a lot to offer in current and emerging green careers,” said Susan Pawlak, Ecotech’s Director of Career Services. “Our Women in Renewable Energy Club is just one way that Ecotech encourages women to make a mark in wind, solar, renewable energy and other industries alongside their male colleagues.”
The club held elections on February 23 and the new leaders are tasked with growing the club’s membership and educating more women about careers in sustainability. Tiffany Burton, an Electrical Engineering Technology instructor, is the academic advisor; Suzanne Colton, Senior Recruiter for NextEra Energy Resources is the industry advisor; and Susan Pawlak, Ecotech’s Director of Career Services, is a general advisor.
Ecotech’s curriculum is built to address both job-specific technical training and soft skills (e.g. communication, work ethic and teamwork), which employers demand, through comprehensive coursework and state-of-the-art labs. The Labor Department report parallels Ecotech’s vision for job training and is chock-full of applicable information that defines what a green career really is, explains why there is a growing need for trained professionals, and outlines what training is necessary.
“We have dynamic, driven women in both leadership and student roles at Ecotech and they send an important message of encouragement that females have a promising future in renewable careers,” said Mike Seifert, president of Ecotech Institute.
To read the full “Why Green Is Your Color: A Woman's Guide to a Sustainable Career” report click here: http://www.dol.gov/wb/Green_Jobs_Guide/GreenJobs%20Ch%201.pdf.
Ecotech Institute, which is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, offers seven highly practical degree programs and one certificate program that provide graduates with skills valued by today’s alternative renewable energy employers.
To learn more about Ecotech Institute, visit us online at www.ecotechinstitute.com/or call 877-326-5576. The next round of classes begins in April and applications are being accepted now. Financial assistance is available to those who qualify.