There is national recognition of the tremendous opportunity of the green economy to be the economic development engine to carry the District forward.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates that global renewable energy employment increased by 5% in 2015 to reach 8.1 million. In the United States current statistics show employment reaching 1.2 million. According to Forbes, the District consistently ranks in the top 10 cities for green jobs, since the measurement has been captured. So there is national recognition of the tremendous opportunity of the green economy to be the economic development engine to carry the District forward.
Renewable energy companies are not just startups. As the industry grows, existing companies in the District are looking at renewable energy as the next frontier for exponential growth. This creates workforce related issues for learning and development, organizational structure, culture, performance management, and workforce readiness. The demand for green economy skills is rising faster than the talent pool in most companies, forcing new “build” via training or “buy” via aggressive recruiting.
We believe local green job creation should be a critical component in any sustainable energy program strategy. The green economy needs to be unified behind a strong brand to create awareness across some of the District’s hard to reach market segments. Green job creation needs to start locally, because there is a need for people that are familiar with the District’s distinct communities and neighborhoods. Looking at the local population, a fundamental component to engaging small businesses and low-income households needs to be the employment and engagement of District, based lead generators, community liaisons, and energy service representatives. The continual demand for sustainable energy programs will require the local green workforce in the District to keep growing.