Chicago Wind And Solar
• Chicago Wind and Solar began as a start-up and has followed an organic growth model. Adam believes that due to challenges in the small wind and solar market in Illinois, a strategy that emphasizes renewable energy's positive impact to commercial businesses' green credentials and the accelerating appreciation of the technology may present the best marketing position for companies like his at the moment.
• Because of the challenging market for small scale renewable energy, professionals may find better luck seeking out jobs at utility-scale clean energy companies.
Chicago Wind and Solar Owner Adam Long has been adjusting to the realities of the small scale wind and solar market he competes within after the recent passage of the ComEd omnibus bill that could change the payback rate to owners of small scale wind and solar developments to favor utilities in the long run. The state also faces funding shortage for incentives that make the upfront costs of wind and solar units affordable to Chicago area residents. "If government incentives don't continue, it will be tough for start-ups," Long said. He noted solar services as a big player in the area, although at this point, he said, "It's less about the payback to the consumer in lowered energy bills and more about going green." At present the time necessary to recover the costs of a residential solar installation runs at around 13 years. Green collar professionals seeking job leads may be best served to look to Chicago's extensive group or renewable energy companies for the short term, and consider using that experience to take a chance on starting a small-scale wind or solar venture when the economic winds turn favorable again in the future.
Business Manager
Solar Energy International
• Take classes at Solar Energy International. Workshops are offered in solar, thermal, green building, and even hydro technologies. Classes are offered in twelve locations around the US.
• Roofers can improve their skills by taking classes in solar energy installation.
• Solar energy installation and commercial size energy efficiency projects are the hottest areas of green technology.
Solar Energy International has been providing education in solar and other renewable energy technologies for 20 years. They have become one of the premiere institutions for accredited renewable energy workshops and offer classes in a number of locations.

Business manager Sandy Pickard highlighted the important work this non-profit does through their educational mission. Solar Energy International has expanded to include workshops in solar electric, solar thermal, micro-hydro, and wind energy. Classes are also offered online.
VP Sales And Marketing
Native Energy
• Look at social responsibility positions in large companies. Many companies are concerned about our energy future and their public image. Corporate responsibility positions will continue to be an area of continued job growth.
• Ceres (ceres.org) is a good place to look for companies interested in sustainability. BSR (The Business of a Better World) is an extensive network of sustainable companies and a good resource for job seekers.
• Check out schools with green and sustainability programs. The University of Vermont, Middlebury College, and St. Michael's College have excellent environmental programs.
Native Energy is a developer and seller of carbon credits. Carbon credits allow for the funding of renewable energy projects and reduce the amount of energy required from fossil fuels. When a company buys carbon offsets they are funding a project such as a wind farm or a methane digester and thus offsetting the effect of their own pollution. In the last 10 years, Native Energy clients have helped build a remarkable 48 projects including wind, biogas, and solar.
Executive Director
Biodiversity Project
• Acquire a good background in environmental issues and the science behind them. Consider enrolling in biology and ecology classes.
• Take writing classes. Non-profits need grant writing, newsletter production and communications experts.
• DePaul University offers a masters degree in non-profit management, and the Illinois Institute of Technologies has a well regarded masters degree in environmental studies.
The Biodiversity project develops communications plans for environmental organizations through public opinion research, strategic planning and creative tactics. As executive director of the Biodiversity Project, Jennifer Browning is an expert in the area of environmental communications strategy, a vital skill for all environmental organizations that depend on public funding and public awareness.

Jennifer highlighted the importance of a good background in environmental science for a career in environmental communications. A technical understanding of how watersheds work or the science behind global warming can be helpful in a career with an organization like the Biodiversity project. Writing skills are also invaluable in a communications career, so any completed study in English, public relations, or marketing classes that require writing should be included in a job applicant's resume.

The Biodiversity Project is one of many important government, non-profit, and private industry green organizations in Chicago. Outgoing mayor Richard Daily made green jobs a priority for Chicago city government and Chicago has several innovative green programs.

Emerging professionals can further their training at the Center for Green Technologies, which has a variety of educational and volunteer opportunities.

For green professionals looking to network, the organization Chicago Wilderness has an extensive list of member organizations.
Executive Director
• Volunteer in a non-profit or environmental organization.
• Be your own advocate. Don't wait for things to come to you.
• Consider taking classes in managing non-profits, community organizing, environmental organizing, and communications (speaking and writing).
NeighborSpace, in Chicago, Illinois, is a unique type of land trust that concentrates their efforts on helping community groups protect urban parks and gardens. NeighborSpace's projects require much more community organizing than traditional land trusts. Ben Helphand, NeighborSpace's executive director, leads organizational support for 76 new gardens or parks and three to seven new projects per year. NeighborSpace works closely with the city of Chicago and several public and private groups to facilitate this effort.

Ben's best advice is to "be you own advocate". Green organizations such as NeighborSpace often find new employees through internships or volunteer positions. Just applying to jobs through job boards may not be enough. A good educational background in environmental science along with writing, speaking and communication skills provide a background for work in community organizing, but getting out there to volunteer and network will probably be the difference between success and failure.
Communications Associate
Environmental Law And Policy Center
• Environmental Law and Policy Center co-sponsors the annual Growing the Green Economy Conference, an event where professionals can network with lawyers, entrepreneurs, and manufacturers about development, finance, and policy issues concerning how to build renewable energy in the region.
• Emerging professionals looking to build their experience working on policy issues can apply for an internship with Environmental Law and Policy Center. Internships are available for those with legal, communications, and environmental science specializations as well.
• Environmental Law and Policy Center maintains a jobs board that is regularly updated at their website: www.elpc.org.
Environmental Law and Policy Center has an 18 year track record of success protecting natural resources and promoting clean energy and smart transportation. A July 2011 study released by Environmental Law and Policy Center found that 13 major clean energy companies are located in the Chicago area, with 300 clean energy companies overall employing 18,000 workers. "We're showing that green jobs and renewable energy are creating real economic growth," said Communications Associate Peter Gray. Although many grassroots organizations are located in Chicago, many of them national, Gray noted that Environmental Law and Policy Center is unique in that it is one of the larger organizations with a regional focus. The organization partnered with the City of Chicago in creating the Chicago Climate Action Plan, and has partnered with local groups like the Chicago Clean Power Coalition to promote the Chicago Clean Power Ordinance, which would reduce power plant soot pollution by 90 percent and carbon emissions by 25 percent. On the regional level, Environmental Law and Policy Center advocates for policies that support clean energy development, reduce pollution and protect natural resources. ELPC successfully advocated for a 2010 solar energy carve-out that will strengthen Illinois's renewable energy portfolio standard. The organization is also working to promote a bill at the national level for a wind production tax credit as well as working to upholdthe Environmental Protection Agency's ability to reduce air pollution from industry and utilities. Environmental Law and Policy Center's work with the renewable energy community through events like Growing the Green Economy have been a boon to the green economy, with Chicago being one of the top markets with potential for green job growth.
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