The current number of “green collar” jobs in the U.S., 8.5. million, is expected to rise to as many as 40 million by 2030, according to a November report commissioned by the American Solar Energy Society. Many of those jobs are being filled, and will be filled, by professionals from other fields moving into the renewable-energy and energy-efficiency industries, according to this Business Week article. In fact, the booming industry is claiming an array of mid-life switchovers who can bring skills acquired from a diverse array of fields ranging from construction to finance to marketing.How to make the switch? That’s where consultants like Marie Kerpan, founder of Green Careers, comes in. Her company has helped thousands assess their skills and get them hired in jobs that further the green agenda. But prior experience isn’t a complete must. “This is a new frontier,” says Kerpan, “and there’s also a lot more latitude to make a more radical change.”
One such example is Jeff Horowitz, a former high-powered San Francisco architect who left his job and started the think tank Avoided Deforestation Partners. Sometimes the new green career leads to a larger paycheck, but often it doesn’t, as was the case with Horowitz. But he said he’ll gladly take a smaller paycheck if it means bringing about positive change in the world.