From “dirty” to “clean” jobs: Who’s winning and who’s losing?

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Imagine your old car that uses a lot of gas being replaced by a shiny new electric one.

That’s what’s happening with jobs in the US right now.

A big study has been done by Professor Mark Curtis from Wake Forest and his team, which looked at how people are moving from “dirty” jobs (like coal mining) to “clean” ones (like making solar panels).

Now, what exactly are these “dirty” and “clean” jobs? When the study talks about “dirty jobs”, they mean jobs that have a lot to do with fossil fuels (like oil and coal).

On the other hand, “clean jobs” are those that focus on environmentally friendly energy, like solar and wind power, or making electric cars.

So, what did they find out?

More people are switching: There’s been a big increase in the number of people moving from fossil fuel jobs to green energy ones. Since 2005, the number of people making this switch has grown ten times!

Young people are leading the way: If you’re younger, you’re more likely to move from a fossil fuel job to a green energy one. Also, about 1 in 4 of the new green jobs are being taken by people who have never had a job before.

Not everyone’s making the switch: Even though there’s been a big increase, since 2020, only about 1 out of 100 people who left a fossil fuel job actually went to a green job.

Many are sticking with what they know: A lot of workers are moving from one fossil fuel job to another. In cities like Oklahoma City, Denver, and Houston, over half of the people who left one fossil fuel job just went to another one.

Professor Curtis mentioned that as more green jobs appear, more people from fossil fuel jobs will likely switch over.

But there’s a catch: if you’re older or don’t have a college degree, you’re more likely to stick with fossil fuel jobs.

There’s also some good news for those in fossil fuel jobs. Jobs related to making electric vehicles (EVs) or their batteries are proving to be a good fit.

By 2021, half of the people who moved from fossil fuel jobs to green jobs ended up working in the electric vehicle industry. And 3 out of 10 people who left fossil fuel jobs went into manufacturing, which includes making parts for these electric cars.

So, why does this study matter? Well, it helps us understand where the future of jobs is heading. Plus, it gives important information to those in charge. If they know which areas have many people sticking with fossil fuel jobs, they can make plans to help them transition to green jobs.

In summary, a shift from “dirty” to “clean” jobs is happening, especially among the younger crowd. But there’s still a long way to go.

It’s crucial for everyone to have a chance at these new, eco-friendly jobs, making a cleaner future for all of us.

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Source: Wake Forest University.