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Looking for work? Think green

Looking for work? You might consider “green jobs.”

The term has been a buzz word the past few years, but according to a state report there were 8,169 “green-collar jobs” in 2008.

Green-collar jobs can be found in construction, manufacturing, installation, maintenance, agriculture and many other sectors of the economy, according to the report issued by Gov. Chet Culver’s office.

Some of the jobs are in new industries such as wind energy while others are part of existing jobs that demand green skills such as heating and cooling.

More are expected to be created in the coming years.

U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin recently announced that $5.9 million in recovery act funds will be coming to Iowa Workforce Development to train people for jobs in the energy efficiency and renewable- energy industries.

Josh Byrnes, division chairman of the Agriculture and Industrial programs at North Iowa Area Community College, expects growth in those industries.

“Anything that deals with energy conservation is something in the future that is going to have job growth,” he said.

Byrnes said people will need to know how to build “green” homes and buildings and how to maintain things like energy-efficient appliances.

Energy efficiency will probably be mandatory some day, which will create a greater need for related jobs, he said.

Another plus with green jobs is that they should be very secure jobs, Byrnes said.

“You can’t outsource some of these services,” he said. “You still have to have someone come to your home and service your furnace.”

Here are some specific green industries currently hiring in North Iowa or that will be in the future:

• Alliant Energy plans to expand the Whispering Willows Wind Farm in Franklin County. Construction will begin in 2011 and the expansion will create eight to 10 jobs, said David Engels, manager of wind development. The jobs would likely be technician/maintenance positions that would pay approximately $20 an hour.

• Valero Energy Corp., Charles City, has two job openings listed on its Web site, www.valero.com. The positions are for an I&E technician and process operator.

• Growth Design Corp. will be hiring approximately 14 employees for a biodiesel plant being built near Forest City. It hopes to start operations this fall.

• Two wind technician jobs were listed on Iowa Workforce Development’s Web site, www.iowajobs.org. Specific companies weren’t named but the jobs were in Britt and Garner.

For additional job listings visit Iowa Workforce Development’s jobs page at www.iowajobs.org and the Globe Gazette’s Classifieds section.