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[Excerpt] Green jobs have the potential to be quality, family-sustaining jobs that also help improve our environment. They are largely domestic jobs that can’t be offshored. They tend to pay more than other jobs, even controlling for worker characteristics. Moreover, green jobs are an outgrowth of a larger movement to reform the way we create and use energy in both this country and the rest of the world. They represent a growth sector, and one that offers the dual promise of providing good jobs while meeting the environmental challenge to reduce our dependence on finite fossil fuels that generate harmful carbon emissions.

We devote more space to definitions below, but we define green jobs quite broadly as employment that is associated with some aspect of environmental improvement. A scientist working on advanced renewable energy alternatives to CO2-producing fossil fuels is engaged in a green job, as is a laborer weatherizing a home or a lineman--or linewoman--building out the smart electric grid.

This overview paper presents and discusses a few of the most important developments in green jobs over the past few years. Specifically, we examine the following questions and areas of interest regarding green jobs:

• What is a green job, and what are the characteristics of those jobs?

• Green jobs in the recovery package

• Green jobs in action: a review of ongoing activities in this area

• Policies to help promote the creation of green jobs

• Leveraging private capital investment in green jobs

• Making sure green jobs are good jobs, accessible to all.


Suggested Citation
Office of the Vice President. (2009). Green jobs: A pathway to a strong middle class. Washington, DC: Author.