by Sector


Creating Career Pathways in the Green Economy

Working with employers to create career pathways, training, and supports that prepare low-income adults for family-supporting careers in the rapidly growing green economy. 

Geri Scott
617.728.4446 x125

by Sector

The GreenWays approach relies on sector organizing by workforce partnerships to assure that participants are trained to employer expectations. This initiative invests in the following sectors:

Advanced Manufacturing

The re-shoring by manufacturing firms in several metropolitan areas, plus major new public investment to boost manufacturing capacity, is driving a need for CNC machinists in small and large fabricated metal manufacturing employers. The targeted occupations are growing quickly—in the Chicago region alone, over 4,000 new and replacement jobs are expected in the next five years.

Targeted occupations: Quality assurance inspectors, CNC machine operators, machinists, and programmers


Deconstruction is the selective dismantlement of building components, specifically for reuse, recycling, and reducing waste. Where hazardous materials are present, deconstruction, as well as traditional demolition, requires special skills and certifications to contain these materials and manage them properly. This sector provides a strong career pathway for low-skilled adults: waste management and remediation ranks fifth out of twelve industries in the number of green jobs in the Detroit region, and is the only one in the top five that does not require a degree or postsecondary credential.

Targeted occupations: Deconstruction specialist, Hazardous-waste remediation

Energy-efficient Building

Despite a sluggish industry overall, green goods and services—including energy-efficient building, retrofitting, and solar installation—is the only growing subsector of construction. As public and private financing mechanisms increase around the country, this market will continue to grow nationwide. State and local retrofit priorities within their Climate Action Plans, such as Chicago’s goal to weatherize 400,000 residential units by 2020, will further increase the demand for building trades and building maintenance workers with green skills.

Targeted occupations: Construction laborer, Weatherization installer, Green building maintenance technician, Highway construction laborer, Water and sewer construction laborer

Landscaping and Urban Forestry

The landscaping sector intersects with the green economy through several distinct occupations. Our most traditional landscaping work is currently concentrated in Detroit, where over 2,500 job openings are anticipated over the next five years. Integrated pest management provides an environmentally sustainable approach to pest control, including eliminating bed bugs that are currently a challenge in several major metropolitan areas, as well as controlling pests in the landscape. Finally, urban forestry training in tree trimming can lead to two clear career paths, urban arborists or electric line workers.

Targeted occupations: Landscaping technician, Integrated pest management, Tree trimmer

Renewable Electric Power and Utilities

The growing market for renewable electric power creates job opportunities both for selling and installing solar panels and for workers that upgrade the grid to accommodate new sources of power. Solar training provides excellent opportunities for career advancement to entry-level workers with construction experience. A study of Milwaukee’s solar water heating market found that a lack of qualified installers is a key barrier to the growth of the industry, while Pennsylvania’s market is second nationally in total number of solar jobs: employers in Southeastern PA project 1,000 jobs over the next three years. The graying of the workforce is also having a particularly strong impact on this sector, creating demand for highly skilled utility and electric line workers. In 2008, the Employment Security Department of Washington State estimated that electricians rank as second greenest occupation, with 3,784 jobs or 8 percent of the total green workforce.

Targeted occupations: Smart grid technician, Electric line worker, Wireman, Solar photovoltaic panel installer, Solar thermal panel installer, Solar sales


Automotive specialty technicians with knowledge in alternative fuels are in increasing demand due to growing sales of hybrid-electric vehicles as well as the conversion of public and private vehicle fleets. In the Milwaukee area, several major employers including Mitchell Airport and multiple airlines, We Energies, and the Milwaukee Department of Public Works are adding compressed natural gas vehicles. Driven by consumer demand, Massachusetts alone had at least 752 current openings in late March 2011 for automotive specialty technicians.

Targeted occupations: Automotive service technician and mechanic, Alternative fuels engine technician: compressed natural gas, Alternative fuels engine technician: electric hybrid, Bus and truck mechanics, Diesel engine specialists