Green jobs sector expected to accelerate

The number of energy efficiency-related jobs is expected to accelerate over the next decade, a new report says.

The "green" sector will grow four-fold by 2020 to about 1.3 million jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy-funded report titled "Energy Efficiency Services Sector: Workforce Education and Training Needs." It was researched by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Research Into Action Inc.

The report says energy efficiency employment could grow about 11 percent a year over the decade. Professional occupations, including engineers, architects, managers, program planners and program evaluators, would account for about 25 percent to 35 percent of that growth, while building and construction contractors and trades would account for 65 percent to 75 percent.

However, the report says, "We found a notable lack of awareness on the part of building and construction contractors and tradespeople that energy efficiency is poised for significant growth ... It is important to educate and support the building and construction industries to make sure they are able to provide a trained workforce to support this growth."

Training programs on multiple levels should be beefed up with states and trades groups playing a role, the report's authors advise.

The report follows another by the California Air Resources Board that says California's climate legislation won't hurt job growth in the state.