As a first step into their investigation of Pennsylvania green occupations, researchers at Pennsylvania State University recently completed a benchmark study of four major green categories. The report, authored by Drs. Rose Baker and David Passmore of PSU, showed the growth of employment in representative green occupations in Pennsylvania from 2005-2008, broken down into categories first identified by the Center for American Progress and the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI).
Labor market data for the study were provided by EMSI, including new and replacement jobs figures, median hourly earnings, and education/training requirements for specific occupations. The categories highlighted were Retrofitting Buildings, Mass Transit/Freight Rail, Smart Grids, and Renewable Energy.
According to Passmore, a Professor of Education in Penn State’s Workforce Education and Development Program, “It was a very simple-minded idea [behind the study]. We took the same areas that PERI identified, included the typical occupations, and did an analysis for Pennsylvania.”
The issue that Baker and Passmore have encountered in their research is how to take a standard occupation and differentiate between green and non-green work in that field. “A real serious problem is the data classification problem,” Passmore said.
Since the study was released earlier this year, Baker said they’ve received lots of feedback from educators and workforce professionals looking for data on green jobs. For Pennsylvania, the report gave “what the picture looks like now,” Baker said, “so a year or five years from now, we can look and say, ‘Here’s what we’ve done in green jobs.’ ”