College students are flocking to sustainability degrees, careers –

Image SOURCE: Flickr – davidsilver reports

Students interested in pursuing a job in sustainability now can choose from a variety of “green” degree programs.

With an increased interest in the environment and growth in the “green collar” job sector, colleges and universities are beginning to incorporate sustainability into their programs………

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1 Comment on College students are flocking to sustainability degrees, careers –

  1. Officially, the unemployment rate amongst architecture and planning professionals is at 17%, however, I’ve had company CEOs confide in me that the unemployment rate in the midwest is just above 40%. I can attest that several local firms that have been established 40+ years with 120 employees in 2007 are no longer in existence. And many experienced professionals have either left the profession to survive the downturn or are not practicing at all.

    Among the issues surrounding LEED is that it does add upwards of 20% in design fees to a project. While that is a value-added boon to the individual firm, however as the development dollar becomes smaller and less available. LEED has had the effect of further limiting the development dollars available in the market for design. The net result has been further job hemorrhaging, and longer unemployment periods.

    LEED has been sold on the prospect that energy costs will pay for up-front expenses, however many are balking at the lack of actual research USGBC has offered to justify that argument. The one report that was offered has come under credible criticism for being faulty, and potentially a cost add instead of a cost savings. The net result is that LEED is loosing luster. This may have been the first you’ve heard it, but not the first time you’ve suspected it.

    For students such as these who enter college expecting that green jobs will be waiting for them in four years, the result could be very disappointing. As practicing landscape architecture is becoming a sideline hobby for experienced professionals to make ends meet, green employment has been discovered to have been a luxury in an expanding market that could support niche industries during that period. Corrections favor efficient operations and markets that turn profitable results when consumers of products and services have to be convinced of immediate value before risking an investment. As the first wave of environment-focused energy ventures of the late 70’s died fast and hard relatively quickly with few survivors lasting beyond 1985, and considered anachronistic until the end of the 90’s. Solid economic performance from that time to 2006 lead to a re-emergence of the efficiency movement of the 70’s re-branded and expanded as the green economy of the early 2000’s.

    As this current market has become historic in its breadth and depth, such occurrences are paradigm-changing. As green was gloss in the booming years of the 2000’s, the next decade will be determined by how much the market will bear in terms of its own ability to recover; plus the expected burden placed on it from government demands to pay for new programs which include those intended to encourage green economies. Green is not necessarily doomed, but like the once-dominant SUV -it is in jeopardy.

    This generation of students could be facing a double-faceted disappointment when market realities meet long-term debt to finance the current attempt at recovery.

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