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ROB SISSON
President
Republicans For Environmental Protection
• Working as a staffer in a political organization is a good place to get into environmental politics.
• All members of congress employ an environmental legislative assistant.
• You can work on sustainability inside corporations. Look for positions as Corporate Responsibility Officers or Sustainability Officers.
Republicans for Environmental Protection is an organization dedicate to restoring the GOP's great conservation legacy. Rob cites several environmental Republican presidents who established milestones in our nation. Abraham Lincoln protected Yosemite. Ulysses S. Grant created Yellowstone, the first national park. Theodore Roosevelt championed conservation by designating 150 National Forests and five national parks. Even conservative icon Ronald Reagan ratified the Montreal Protocol to protect the Ozone Layer. Rob's expertise is in Republican environmental politics but his advice could just as easily translate to the Democratic Party. While any college major can lead to a career in politics, law degrees are very common and any classes in environmental science would also be helpful. Look for entry level positions as political staffers, at think tanks, or in foundations.
MICA ODOM
National Energy Media Director
Environmental Defense Fund
• Mica attended Columbia Business School and concentrated in Social Enterprise. Look to Ivy League MBA programs for business training in sustainable energy.
• Internships, even unpaid, or other networking opportunities are the key to getting your foot in the door in green and environmental industries.
• MBA and business students should look to Net Impact for networking opportunities in green and environmental industries. Net Impact has chapters on most campuses in many cities, and the web site includes a jobs page.
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. As National Energy Media Director for the Environmental Defense Fund, Mica Odom has insight into career success in green marketing. Mica points to the success of past EDF campaigns such as the 2007 landmark deal that canceled eight coal-fired power plants proposed in Texas and adopted an unprecedented set of environmental initiatives, preventing 57 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

Mica's career highlights the importance of business skills in the green and environmental industry. MBA programs in both the Ivy League and state schools are offering innovative programs that highlight green and environmental business training. The economic push from MBA students trained in sustainable business models is currently demonstrating the viability of green career fields such as engineering, green building, renewable energy finance, green marketing, and philanthropic foundations with an environmental focus.
MELISSA PAWLISCH
Clean Energy Resource Teams Coordinator
University Of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships
• One skill that is under-tapped is how to run the 'numbers end' of a non-profit. Accounting and business management skills are helpful.
• Program evaluation and statistics skills are also helpful for program directors. Learn how to set up an evaluation to determine clear goals at the on-set of a project by taking survey and research methods courses.
• Beyond technical skills: People skills, writing, and leadership ability are as important if not more important. It is possible to have an English degree and do as well as someone with a science degree.
One of the really interesting things about Minnesota, Melissa Pawlisch suggests, is that it has a more diverse array of renewable energy sources than most other states. Through the awarding of $5,000 seed grants, the Clean Energy Resources Teams are helping communities around the state start-up renewable energy projects and build a green economy. Melissa says one recent project with a co-op phone company used renewable energy to equip a remote power station. "There are tons of projects all over the state," she added.

Minnesota is a leader in community based wind projects, but Melissa says that is just one facet of the emerging green economy: "We are increasingly trying to position ourselves as a solar competitor, nationally." Minnesota companies like 10K solar are a model for renewable energy start-ups that are attracting jobs and credibility to Minnesota's solar industry. 10K added its 50th employee in February. National companies in the Twin Cities like 3M and Best Buy are also contributing to the green economy through their work on smart grid technology. In addition, government & community leaders in Minneapolis & St. Paul are helping businesses and homeowners along the 11 mile light-rail path currently under construction. Dubbed the Energy Innovation Corridor, they are working on a multitude of projects to help reduce energy usage through energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and use of public transportation. And on the state level, Minnesota is driving green growth with some of the best energy-efficiency standards in the country.

Melissa credits some of the Clean Energy Resource Teams success to its organizational model: "We are not a top-down organization. We're a partnership," adding, "We don't do policy work. We don't take sides. We help people implement the energy projects that they themselves have identified as priorities to build renewable energy capacity and create local jobs." The success of organizations like the Clean Energy Resource Teams makes a compelling case for the breadth of Minnesota's green economy and makes the Twin Cities area a green economy to watch for emerging green collar professionals.
KATHLEEN SCHULER
Senior Policy Analyst
Institute For Agriculture And Trade Policy
• A twist on a hard science career: People looking to careers in chemistry research and product development should consider green chemistry.
• A new academic emphasis: The University of Minnesota is offering courses in green chemistry. Look for university programs that will offer exposure to this field of study.
• Policy opportunities: Kathleen founded the non-profit Healthy Legacy and forwarded an agenda that focused on policies that protect public health and promote clean technologies like green chemistry. Professionals interested in a career path like Kathleen's should consider interning at a policy institute.
At the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Kathleen Schuler is developing policies that promote government incentives for green chemistry.

"It's a hot issue," says Kathleen Schuler, "it could be a key area of the future green economy in Minnesota.

Kathleen says several national companies based out of Minnesota are already utilizing green chemistry, such as 3M, Ecolab, and General Mills. Other companies focused exclusively on clean technologies include Segetis, Activeion, and Nature Works.

Leaders on the state level are also starting to recognize the economic viability of green chemistry, and recently passed a bill that added green chemistry to the list of industries that define the green economy.

On the academic front, green chemistry supporters in the Green Chemistry Forum are working to make sure that future start-up companies coming out of the University of Minnesota's technology incubation program include green chemistry companies.

Kathleen says policy advances will help green chemistry gain more traction in the green economy: "We need incentives to promote investment and innovation, but we also need better regulation of chemicals."

Luckily, Kathleen says, the infrastructure already exists in the Twin Cities to ramp-up green chemistry efforts: "We have the Bio Business Alliance and a strong biomedical sector, so the groundwork is there for green chemistry."
SANDY PICKARD
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.
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