Each April 22, we celebrate Earth Day. Since 1970, people have used this day to voice their appreciation for the planet and demand its protection.
At the Women’s Bureau, we’re doing our part to address this global issue by helping women understand and prepare for jobs in the clean energy economy. In 2009, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis convened more than 35 women leaders, along with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, to explore women’s roles in the greening of America. In support of the Secretary Solis’ vision of Good Jobs for Everyone, the Women’s Bureau made it a top priority to promote women in innovative, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and other non-traditional high paying jobs.
Our efforts began with a series of 30 Women and Green Jobs roundtables throughout the country with business and community leaders. The insight gained from these roundtables was used in the creation of “Why Green is Your Color: A Women’s Guide to a Sustainable Career,” which is designed to help women learn about the range of in-demand and emerging jobs, as well as job training opportunities and career development tools, in the clean energy economy. It also serves as a resource for workforce development professionals, training providers, educators, career counselors and women’s advocacy organizations. In addition, we recently launched an interactive Web-based training component for the Guide.
We also thought about “saving trees” in the process by placing our new curriculum, posters, post cards and training resources on our website as well as on a colorful green flash drive bracelet. These flash drives are just one more way we are showing our commitment to Earth Day.
Throughout the country, teachers, counselors and One Stop Career Centers are being trained on how to best use these new tools to ensure that women have the skills, training and support to be successful. I encourage you to contact our office to learn how you can be more involved by displaying our “Women in Green Jobs” poster series, hosting a training session and making the Guide a key resource in your work setting.
From a soil scientist to an entrepreneur who manufactures organic cloth diapers, or a solar installer and a retrofit engineer, the women featured in the Guide have already found success and meaningful careers in the green economy. On Earth Day, we celebrate these women and the many others who are making a visible difference.
Earth Day reminds us of what we all must do to build a clean energy economy for future generations. What will you do to celebrate Earth Day?
Sara Manzano-Díaz is Director of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau.