Green Jobs: Who's Hiring?

Now that green jobs Advocate in Chief Van Jones has a direct line to the White House (he joined the administration this week as an adviser) and the billions of dollars allocated in the stimulus package with a promise to create millions of jobs are starting to flow, we should be seeing Green Help Wanted signs all over the place, right? That hasn’t happened yet, but at least one company, Pennsylvania-based Serious Materials, has started hiring the green-collar workers we’ve heard so much about.

According to Serious Materials, which makes green building materials and plans to re-open a shuttered window plant on Monday, the jobs opened up as a direct result of the stimulus package. (The windows are made using insulated glass units with a high R-value, a solid seal between the glass and the frame, and an insulated frame, reducing energy needs for heating and cooling and making the cut for green building.) Serious Materials acquired the assets of Kensington Windows in January, and has rehired a number of former Kensington employees for the plant. As production ramps up, the company plans to bring more than 100 workers on board. Kensington employed more than 150 people when the bankruptcy of its parent company, Jancor, forced its closure last fall.

OK, it’s true: 100 jobs barely register when we’re looking at two consecutive weeks of first-time jobless claims holding above 600,000. And in fact, Serious Materials had pledged to re-open the Kensington plant within 30 days of the acquisition (it’s been nearly two months), so even this drop in the employment bucket is moving slower than planned. But this is a relatively young player (7 years old) in an industry taking some of the hardest hits as a result of the economic downturn — and it’s growing. It may be small, but it’s a good sign for green job seekers.


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