President Obama has called for the creation of 5 million green jobs in the coming years, and the billions of dollars available for clean technology in the stimulus package — notably the $600 million aimed at green job training programs — is supposed to help get them off the ground. But how does a job hunter go about finding these green businesses? The Environmental Defense Fund today launched an online, interactive map of California’s green economy that should help job seekers — and those already employed— survey the sector in that state.
The more than 2,200 businesses featured on the map are divided into four categories: energy generation, energy efficiency, green building and transportation. Users can search the Google Maps-based layout by city, county, congressional district and sector; a brief description is included about each company listed.
A quick search by county shows how green businesses are clustered around certain regions. Los Angeles County tops the chart with 398 companies, followed by San Diego County, with 202 companies. In the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Clara County and Alameda County have 173 and 131 companies, respectively.
The map doesn’t provide exhaustive information for job seekers, however, such as which companies are hiring. And since it doesn’t include companies that purchase renewable energy, even the Environmental Defense Fund itself doesn’t consider it entirely comprehensive from a green perspective. But while the map runs the risk of becoming outdated as startups rise and fall during the economic downturn, spokesperson Lori Sinsley said the nonprofit organization intends to update it as more companies are formed. And over the course of the next year, it plans to add more features as well, such as links to colleges that offer green job training — and perhaps even links to green job sites.
As stimulus money starts rolling out into the economy through grants and loans, the hope is that job growth will follow. Companies providing home energy audits or developing new solar panels could see markets for their products expanding, and if they do, they’ll look to increase their staff to meet that demand. As that happens, tools such as the new California green economy map will be helpful to connect employers and job seekers.