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Green Jobs on the Rise in Nashville; Potential Employment Growth

George Foucher, an United States Navy veteran, lost his job as a federal airport security screener more than a year ago.  On Monday, he partook in Mission: Green, an Operation Stand Down Nashville program that trains veterans for careers in environmentally sensitive or green industries, said the Tennessean.  The program took place at Tennessee State University’s Avon Williams campus, hoping to train veterans in order to give them job security in the new green market.  Foucher shared, “Green seems to be the way everyone’s going these days…That’s where the new jobs seem to be.” Recently released reports support Foucher’s statement, stating that Tennessee’s budding green economy remains small in terms of number of jobs, but has the evident potential for rapid growth and expansion.

Tennessee’s Department of Labor and Workforce survey of more than 6,000 business found that more than 43,800 green jobs existed statewide last year.  In alignment with former survey results, Middle Tennessee State University found that six major green initiatives will directly or indirectly create an estimated 16,500+ jobs in the next few years.  Karla Davis, Tennessee’s labor commissioner shared, “Every job created contributes to a recovering economy…labor market information like this gives educational institutions and job seekers guidance on workforce demands and the training it takes to get a job.”  Green jobs are found to be 1 in every 67 jobs in Tennessee, according to a 2010 survey.  Although green jobs can be an evasive term, it can stand for a number of things.  Included under the green jobs umbrella is manufacturing work- assembling energy efficient appliances, solar energy gear, green products, drivers of hybrid or low-sulfer transit buses, and laborers who do home weatherization.  The state labor department more specifically defines a green job as “one in which someone spends at least half his time in economic activities related to reducing fossil fuel use, trimming pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy efficiency, recycling or adopting renewable energy sources.”  Business foresee an additional 3,500+ green jobs emerging in 2011, primarily in energy efficiency, transportation, and recycling and waste reduction fields.  What this translates to is an 8 percent annual growth rate for green jobs, creating a 1.2 percent growth for statewide employment overall.

Green companies are not the only business hiring employees.  Major firms are continuing to invest in green projects.  MTSU’s Business and Economic Research Center studied the potential jobs to be created by Hemlock and give other major green projects since 2008.  Nissan, Volkswagen, Wacker Chemie, and eTec car- battery charging stations are just a new companies in the state of Tennessee creating jobs for their green projects.  If large firms continue to construct green projects, thousands of jobs and economic benefits will be made in the next few years.  Murat Arik, MTSU’s research center’s associate director agreed that the “potential economic benefits to the greater Nashville area are significant.”  From the looks of copious amounts of research, our economy is moving in the green direction, creating companies and projects based on becoming more environmentally efficient and friendly.  This, in turn, will create thousands of jobs, reducing the unemployment rate and hopefully giving the economy the jump start it needs to get moving (source).

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