The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County

Green Careers - overview

Since 2006, Washington's green economy has experienced annual growth of roughly five percent; the emerging Clean Energy Technology sector alone includes more than 240 organizations and $2.1 billion in revenues (2004). It is estimated that continued investments in our state's green economy could quadruple the number of green jobs by 2020".

- State of WA Dept. of Ecology Washington Green Economy website,/, "Number of Green Jobs May Quadruple: The Green Report"

Green Job Growth

Green sector businesses like Clean Energy have many good-paying jobs with benefits (health insurance, paid vacation, etc.).

There are many ENTRY-LEVEL JOBS with career ladders that can move workers into better jobs over time.

Most jobs -- MIDDLE-SKILL JOBS -- are on the next step of a career ladder. These jobs require more education than high school, but less than a four-year degree. These jobs are well within reach for lower-skilled and entry-level workers as long as they can attend training programs and are "job ready".

HIGHER-SKILL LEVEL JOBS require at least a four-year degree (sometimes more) and several years of work-related experience and on-the-job training. Examples of professional-level jobs include engineer, architect and chemist.

JOB RETRAINING, or ADDING SKILLS is the next best opportunity to move into a green sector, a green job, or up the career ladder. Retraining is the process of learning ("adding) a new skill or trade; this can take anywhere from a few days to a few months.

Right now, many of the jobs in the green economy are jobs that already exist but are changing in the new "green" economy. The people in these jobs just need to "retrain" or "add" new skills, and change how they think about doing their job. It is also possible that many of the skills you already have are transferable to different jobs. For example:

  • Computer control operators who can cut steel for wind towers as well as for submarines
  • Sheet metal workers constructing blades for wind turbines
  • Mechanics who fix electric engines as well as internal combustion engines
  • Truck drivers moving equipment and materials throughout the country
  • Roofers, insulation installers, electricians, plumbers and building inspectors reconstructing existing homes and building new homes to energy efficiency standards
  • Power plant operations
  • Workers in sustainable agriculture
  • Architects designing energy efficient building features
  • Manufacturers making solar panels instead of gasoline automobiles
  • Installers replacing old windows with energy efficient windows and framing
  • Operations managers analyzing carbon-dioxide emissions reports
  • Landscape technicians placing rain-barrels in strategic locations


Find Worker Retraining Programs at two-year community and technical colleges and private schools:
Use "The Skills Profiler" to see how the skills you already have are transferable to different jobs, workplaces and employers.

To explore entry-level, middle-skill and higher-level jobs and job retraining, choose a "green" industry on the right side of this page go to:

To learn what jobs and careers are right for you, go to:
On the homepage under "Plan Your Career", use the "Interest Profiler".

Match your skills to careers by using the Career Center.

Career services are available at your local WorkSource offices. Go to: