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Study: Green jobs could spark "explosive growth"

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(Read caption) Solar installer Blake Rainville carries a panel to be installed on a Fremont, Calif. home.

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The Chicago-based outplacement consulting firm and workplace-data fountainhead Challenger, Gray & Christmas predicts that job growth in environment, ecology, and alternative-energy sectors will "fuel significant growth and job creation over the next decade."

Challenger's findings (which are not available online but were e-mailed to me) say that "green-collar" jobs – a category that the firm says includes engineers, architects, project managers, and consultants – are expected to experience "explosive growth" at a rate of 1.3 million per year through 2030, and could present the best opportunities for a generation of college grads, rivaling those of the dot-com boom in the late 1990s. The consulting firm says that a brief review of environmental-career websites uncovered about 1,500 job listings.

Challenger cites a forecast by the American Solar Energy Society that reported that renewable energy and energy-efficient industries were responsible for the creation of nearly 8.5 million jobs in 2006, including about 4.8 million indirect jobs such as accountants, computer analysts, and truck drivers. ASES says that, by 2030, the number of direct and indirect jobs related to renewable energy and energy efficiency is expected to reach 40 million.

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