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The Green Economy

The National Center for O*NET Development, as part of its efforts to keep up with the changing world of work, investigated the impact of green economy activities and technologies on occupational requirements and the development of New and Emerging (N&E) occupations. Results of the research led to the identification of green economic sectors, green increased demand occupations, green enhanced skills occupations, and green new and emerging (N&E) occupations. These occupations are now reflected in the O*NET-SOC system.

For the National Center for O*NET Development's research on the green economy, read Greening of the World of Work: Implications for O*NET-SOC and New and Emerging Occupations (2009) and Greening of the World of Work: Revisiting Occupational Consequences (2011). In addition to these reports on the green economy, the National Center for O*NET Development maintains a Green Book of References that is updated quarterly. Most recently, green tasks have been delevolped for green enhanced skills and green new and emerging occupations; see the O*NET Green Task Development Project report.

Learn, discuss, and share promising practices in creating partnerships for Green Job Workforce Solutions and for leveraging Recovery Act Investments at the Green Jobs Community of Practice external site.

The impact of green economy activities and technologies is rapidly changing the world of work by affecting worker requirements and occupational demand. Here's our definition of the green economy.

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We define the green economy as economic activity related to reducing the use of fossil fuels, decreasing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the efficiency of energy usage, recycling materials, and developing and adopting renewable sources of energy.

The National Center for O*NET Development's research on the green economy was conducted at the occupation level. Because green economy activities and technologies may have different effects on different occupations, we believe a useful approach to studying the green economy is to focus on the "greening" of occupations.

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The "greening" of occupations refers to the extent to which green economy activities and technologies increase the demand for existing occupations, shape the work and worker requirements needed for occupational performance, or generate unique work and worker requirements.

This definition lends itself to three general occupational categories, each describing different consequences of green economy activities and technologies on occupational performance:

Green Increased Demand Occupations View list
The impact of green economy activities and technologies is an increase in the employment demand for an existing occupation. However, this impact does not entail significant changes in the work and worker requirements of the occupation. The work context may change, but the tasks themselves do not.
Green Enhanced Skills Occupations View list
The impact of green economy activities and technologies results in a significant change to the work and worker requirements of an existing O*NET-SOC occupation. This impact may or may not result in an increase in employment demand for the occupation. The essential purposes of the occupation remain the same, but tasks, skills, knowledge, and external elements, such as credentials, have been altered.
Green New and Emerging (N&E) Occupations View list
The impact of green economy activities and technologies is sufficient to create the need for unique work and worker requirements, which results in the generation of a new occupation relative to the O*NET taxonomy. This new occupation could be entirely novel or "born" from an existing occupation.

Through a multi-stage research and screening process:

64 O*NET-SOC occupations were found to qualify as Green Increased Demand occupations,

62 O*NET-SOC occupations were found to qualify as Green Enhanced Skills occupations,

45 O*NET-SOC N&E occupations previously identified through research on in-demand industry clusters were found to qualify as Green N&E occupations, and

46 candidate N&E occupations in the green economy were found to qualify as Green N&E occupations.