Since You Asked: Transitioning Into a New Career

Finding the best strategy to make the leap

I’m looking to make a career change within the next two years. I’m very interested in this up-and-coming green industry. My education consists of a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a M.A. in business administration. My ultimate goal is to become a project manager within the green sector. What steps could I take to get my foot in the door?

—B. Evans
Via E-mail

What a timely question! This month in Workplace we tackle the green economy in our Where The Jobs Are series, discussing the various opportunities in this industry. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson defines green jobs as any employment that protects our environment, reduces pollution, or puts our country on a path of sustainability. This broad definition allows companies to create millions of jobs in areas such as weatherization, air pollution control, water plant upgrades, diesel pollution retrofitting, and superfund cleanups, to name just a few.

Your educational experience makes you a perfect candidate to work as a project manager. If you’re looking for more training, the EPA offers programs such as the Brownfields Job Training Program that prepares people across the country for jobs in the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields properties, including abandoned gas stations, old textile mills, and abandoned industrial and commercial properties. As of November 2009, more than 5,200 individuals have been trained and 3,300 have been placed in full-time employment in the green jobs environmental field. Check out www.epa.gov for more information on programs.

This article originally appeared in the April 2010 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.

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