Providing Educators and Students with a Toolkit for Green Careers
Image credit: Alexis Fineman, SEI: Building Leaders for a Resilient World
Amidst fires, floods, and droughts, more and more people of all ages are waking up to the climate crisis. One common question that people young and old are asking themselves is, “What can I do?!” While there is no shortage of meaningful ways to engage in climate and sustainability work, for many people, and younger folks in particular, the answer to that question is just two words: green jobs.
With a mission to build leaders for a resilient world, SEI has long been focused on providing students the knowledge and skills necessary to enter the sustainability workforce with confidence and a sense of purpose. While technical skills and professional pathway competencies vary widely amongst high school juniors and seniors, almost all students benefit from instructional time dedicated to the job application process and professional skills such as interviewing. SEI has launched its first-ever Career Connections Toolkit, a one-stop shop for educators, counselors, and emerging professionals. For many students, graduating with a résumé, a LinkedIn profile, and an ability to navigate various job databases can be critical in the weeks and months following graduation.
About the Toolkit
The Career Connections Toolkit provides tools for job seekers interested in green careers to enter the green career economy with confidence. The toolkit guides prospective applicants through the early stages of a job search, starting with an exploration of sustainability professions and moving through applying for jobs and networking. It also includes an introduction to industry certifications.
In addition to the toolkit, SEI emphasizes green career readiness through its curricula, student activities and challenges, professional and vocational programs, and webinar series. This holistic approach to workforce development and career education includes:
Awareness and inspiration
Through our Green Careers Conferences and our Green Careers Webinars, students learn directly from industry leaders across a range of sectors, including engineering, conservation, community organizing, and policymaking.
SEI integrates the California Technical Education standards throughout its high school sustainability curriculum, including several year-long courses such as Innovations in Green Technology and Energy and Environmental Design, which are designed for students in the Energy, Environment, and Utilities pathway. SEI’s NGSS-aligned curriculum has also received University of California A-G approval for college preparatory courses.
Self-awareness and “soft skills” both play a critical role in a student’s career trajectory, and SEI curricula are structured to cultivate both. Students inventory their skills and interests, practice their “minute message,” hone their résumés and cover letters, and learn how to network effectively with professionals.
Internships, fellowships, and formal career pathways
In addition to providing resources, SEI provides opportunities through our two flagship programs, Climate Corps and Energize Careers. The Climate Corps Fellowship Program provides formal professional development opportunities for over one hundred early-career professionals each year. Throughout the 10-month program, Fellows are matched with organizations that are taking climate action, and Fellows provide critical support in implementing projects. They receive on-the-job training, mentorship, and networking opportunities, with an 85% placement rate after program completion. Energize Careers aims to create a diverse and representational energy workforce through the economic empowerment of people who experience systemic barriers to employment by helping them to access technical training and living wage sustainability career opportunities. The Energize Careers Program provides holistic services to support disadvantaged workers through technical training, job placement, and wrap-around service support. SEI collaborates with pre-apprenticeship programs, apprenticeship programs, community-based training organizations, and community colleges to provide technical energy job training to disadvantaged workers, and supports these training providers by helping them build out their programs and fill gaps to maximize their impact with participants. Energize Careers also collaborates with wrap-around service providers and industry partners to provide people with services and support to access career pathways into living wage climate jobs.
If you have any questions or need assistance accessing the Toolkit, email email@example.com.
This eePRO blog series, Ripple Effect, highlights stories of collaboration and impact among partners in the ee360+ Leadership and Training Collaborative. ee360+ is an ambitious multi-year initiative that connects, trains, and promotes innovative leaders dedicated to using the power of education to create a more just and sustainable future for everyone, everywhere. Led by NAAEE, ee360+ is made possible through funding and support from U.S. EPA and twenty-seven partner organizations representing universities and nonprofits across the country, as well as five federal agencies. Through this partnership, ee360+ brings together more than five decades of expertise to grow, strengthen, and diversify the environmental education field.