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California: Grow, Grow Green Jobs!

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Are these guys "green" workers? | Photo by Synapped via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr

On the heels of President Obama asking the EPA to reverse Bush's clamp-down on state-level fuel efficiency standards comes word that not all job-related news in California is bad news--yes, it's part of that silver lining.

A study released by Next 10, a Palo Alto-based non-profit research group has found that "the green collar job sector rose by 10% between 2005 and 2007, while total job growth in the state of California was only at 1%, proving that green jobs are a significant factor in keeping Americans employed," according to TreeHugger. Bottom line: "Green-collar jobs are growing faster than statewide employment," says the LA Times.

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But what's a "green collar" job, exactly, and why should Californians want one? Former California gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides defined the parameters for Time in May 2008: "It has to pay decent wages and benefits that can support a family. It has to be part of a real career path, with upward mobility. And it needs to reduce waste and pollution and benefit the environment." (Angelides serves on the board for Apolo Alliance, a coalition for green businesses.)

So what's your potential green collar line?

"Those green jobs encompass a variety of occupations, including research scientists, wind-energy technicians and solar panel installers," explains the LA Times.

TreeHugger points out more good news from Next 10:

Besides showing that green-collar jobs are growing faster that statewide employment opportunities, the study also illustrated how clean-tech investment in the state hit a record last year, despite steep stock-market declines; that California leads the nation in patent registrations for green technology; and that efficiency measures pushed forward over the last 30 years has created 1.5 million jobs.

And how we work "green" is having an impact on our state's bottom line; The LA Times explains: "California has already proved [investments in clean energy and efficiency will help spark growth] by adopting the toughest energy efficiency standards in the country. The result is that the state's energy productivity -- energy consumed compared with economic output -- is 68% higher than that of the rest of the country." Says Next 10 founder Noel Perry: "If the rest of the country were as . . . productive as [California], America's GDP would be significantly greater."