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Green Industry Helping To Fuel Sacramento Economy

California's capital city is gaining both attention and jobs as a hub for green businesses, infrastructure, buildings and operations, setting a standard for environmentally friendly practices around the state and country.

The Sacramento Green Building Retraining Initiative program offers green construction training for the unemployed and underemployed. In August, the American River Parkway Foundation received a 2013 environmental grant from American Water for the group's watershed protection and cleanup project.

The Green Capital Alliance reported almost twice the number of green jobs were available in Sacramento from under 7,000 in 1995 to nearly 14,000 in 2009.

Extensive coursework, degrees and programs on topics including alternative fuels, renewable energy, solar technology, green building and sustainable facilities management are available through Los Rios Community College, Yuba College, Sacramento State University and UC Davis. In addition, Sacramento Valley was the first campus where the University of Phoenix offered sustainability degrees in bachelor and master programs.

In the July jobs report, California Employment Development Department numbers reflected growth in Sacramento employment within several sectors related to green operations. Construction increased .6 percent from May to June 2013, with 2,100 additional jobs added in one month.

Transportation and utilities, two industries involved locally with sustainable fuel initiatives, showed an additional 5,300 positions between June 2012 and June 2013, a 3.8 percent increase.

Sacramento jobs in the architectural and engineering industries grew 2.2 percent year over year, and the U.S. Department of Labor reported in May 2013 that mean hourly pay rates in this sector in Sacramento are 14 percent higher than the average across the rest of the country.

Recent job listings for Sacramento also reflect a green emphasis within a number of different industries and career paths. posted local openings for clerical, sales, consulting and operations staff for companies doing solar installations and paint and oil recycling.

The Environmental Defense Fund has advertised for a Program Assistant for its Working Lands division in Sacramento, and Green Job Search shows local openings in a number of environmentally friendly roles. These include wildlife biologists, engineers with a focus on sustainability, hydroelectric, thermal, photovoltaic and wind power, agriculture techs and solar industry jobs for sales, marketing and training.

Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people.
Her work can be found at

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