Archive for alternative energy

Smart Grid To Provides Jobs of the Future

America’s Smart Grid is set to change our lives and the lives of our children. Today’s energy grid is ‘dumb’ – it essentially has remained stagnant for the past hundred years.  It doesn’t adapt to the needs of homeowners and businesses based on their demand for energy; it simply pumps out a standardized amount of electricity, much of it going to waste. Our current energy grid doesn’t make use of new eco-friendly technologies like solar and wind – it still relies on harmful and waste producing coal and oil.

The Federal Government has pumped billions of dollars into the new Smart Grid to turn things around on a number of levels.  The grid will be intelligent for one: fluctuating the amount of energy sent to various corners of the country based on the current demand while also integrating new sources of energy from solar and wind power.  This new system of energy distribution will not only conserve valuable electricity, but also will save our country billions of dollars in wasted energy costs over the next ten years.

There’s another huge benefit to the smart grid as well – green jobs.  The New York Times recently published an interesting article that  details the Grid’s predicted job producing effect, as well as how a portion of the federal stimulus money is going towards training a new generation of workers who are proficient in utilizing the Smart Grid.

From the New York Times:  “The Energy Department estimated that some 30,000 workers would be trained because of the grants, which range from $87,000 for the Preparing Occupations for Lineman Education, or Pole, program at the Austin Community College District to $5 million to Florida Power & Light to develop its Gateway to Power Program, which aims to bring industry and academia together to develop power system and smart grid education.”

Just like how a previous generation of workers became invaluable due to their expertise in nuclear and chemical engineering, this new generation of smart grid technologists will be equally as important.  Today, one of the highest paying jobs in the country is a chemical engineer – within the next decade it will certainly be an engineer who specializes in some niche within the vast array of smart grid technologies.

There also will certainly be a plethora of small and medium sized businesses that evolve and revolve around the smart grid ecosystem; providing services and products that make the grid even more effective in each local environment.   For these businesses, adept grid technologists will be in high demand, creating a healthy and competitive market for talent in the sector.

Finding and hiring this valuable new generation of smart grid talent will be another challenge for the government and businesses alike.  Competition will be fierce for the brightest minds in the field, and companies and projects will succeed or fail based on their ability to secure the best.  Not only will higher pay grades, perks and benefits provide ammunition to hire talent, but also a company’s ability to use cutting edge technology to make hires.  Smart Grid organizations that utilize applicant tracking and hiring programs that are able to intelligently seek and attract workers in specific sectors will be able to gain an edge in the field.    These will be the individuals and companies that shape the future of energy.

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Green Talent of the Future

It is clear that our country’s future will depend on our ability to navigate the clean energy boom.  As oil dependence is forced to subside, our country needs to turn to alternative sources of energy centralized on green technology.  The move to clean energy has already started to manifest in job creation – millions of new jobs are slated to be created within the next decade to meet the demand of the growing clean technology industry.

Any business, small or large, that sits on the precipice of this green technology boom needs to be completely prepared to hire the right ‘green talent.’  These are the engineers, consultants, marketing gurus, scientists and executives that breathe, eat and sleep green.  This is the new generation of highly sought after green technology workers who will ‘fuel’ the clean energy revolution by choosing which businesses they will work for.

More specifically though, who exactly are these people?  What are their qualifications?  What will they actually be doing?  Here are a few green positions that are sure to be highly sought after within the next decade:

Food Engineers: The technology to replicate food synthetically is on the fast track through a recent expansion in research and development.  Synthetically developed foods can provide the same nutrients and taste, without the need to deplete animal and plant life from our eco-system. There also won’t be a need to use energy to export foods from far distances – everything will be local.  Specialized ”Food Engineers’ who have the know-how to replicate real foods from a molecular level will be highly sought after.

Green Builder: The green building boom is slated to be one of the largest construction waves in the last few centuries. From constructing solar plants and desalination plants to hyper-insulated homes, green building experts will be a highly valued commodity in the next decade.  The companes that can land the top green builders are sure to rise above the rest.

Green Hardware Engineer: Conservation is the name of the game, and the first step towards retrofitting our electronic equipment to conserve energy is by getting the right talent in place to build the proper equipment.  The hardware of the future will exist on a variety of levels, from within cars and homes, to movie theater projector cooling systems and pool temperature regulators.  ‘Old school’ electronic hardware zaps an astonishing amount of energy from our homes and offices on an every basis that could be more efficiently used.

Green Software Engineer: With the proper hardware in place, the next necessity is top-notch coders to create a green software eco-system.  Currently, homes are ‘dumb,’ because they aren’t able to regulate temperature, manage appliances and perform a number of other system functions from a centralized software interface.  This will all change, as several companies are already competing to be top dogs in this space.  The green talent necessary for these jobs will be integral.

Hydrologist: Water is fast becoming a commodity more valuable than diamonds.  Hydrologists specialize in studying the physical aspects and distribution of water, with an expertise in water conservation.  Our ability to conserve water, from assessing the quality of new potential water sources to analyzing rainfall patterns in a specific region will decide the survival of our species.  Given the grave potential of a water-less future, stock in Hydrologists is sure to be on the rise.

So how can a company land top green talent?  How can a business ensure that their clean tech positions are filled by the most qualified candidates? The future of hiring necessitates futuristic hiring software.  Applicant tracking software is rapidly evolving, allowing employers to track and attract the best candidates available.  Harnessing the power of the internet, applicant tracking software solutions will make the difference between a company succeeding or failing in the new clean tech boom.

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Win the Green Hiring Battle with Applicant Tracking Software

America recently tuned in to see President Obama’s first official oval office speech in reaction to the BP oil spill crisis.  Although Obama spoke specifically to ‘fighting the oil spill’ the speech changed directions  midway towards the administration’s continuing strategy to pull America away from its oil dependence.

The oil spill has furthered our country’s determination to get off of oil dependence and embrace clean energy solutions.  Clean energy not only will prove far safer for our future global environment, but also is projected to be a massive piece of future economies.  China has already begun to invest billions of dollars in clean energy, signifying that most economies of scale that want to stay relevant will need to fully immerse themselves in green technology.

Obama spoke directly to our country’s innovators and entrepreneurs to develop the ground breaking businesses and technology necessary to pace the country towards winning the battle against oil:  “Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash American innovation and seize control of our own destiny.”

Although there are sure to be some specific new innovators, startups and existing companies that lead the way towards our oil-independence through new forms of green technology, in reality most of the fight will likely occur in the trenches.  It will be the engineers, the researchers, the lab technicians and the software programmers that win the war against oil.  These are the individuals that will be going to work everyday with the goal of completing a task that furthers our path towards clean energy.  They will be the ones who will build new technologies from the ground up and test them to make sure they are safe enough for mass production.

These individual will be the ‘green talent’ that make all of the behind the scenes operations function.   The question is: how can the right companies, whether a miniscule startup or a multi-billion dollar conglomerate, land the right talent? It is absolutely  integral that the companies that are leading the way in our battle against oil dependence find the best people to carry out the fight.

Startups that are building their clean energy empires from the ground up will need brilliant talent from the get go.  Whether a startup sinks or swims is almost entirely decided by the people that are working there – the decisions made in hiring this initial talent are the most important decisions a startup will make throughout its lifetime.

Many larger companies that are transitioning towards clean energy production also need to have the right staff in place to make sure they are successful.   The human resources battlefield will be the first, and also perhaps most integral battle for big business.  Green talent will be a valuable commodity that these companies cannot overlook.

Luckily, there are specific ‘weAdd an Imageapons’ that companies of all sizes can equip themselves with to make sure they win the hiring battle.  Cutting edge applicant tracking software enables companies large and small to efficiently navigate the often turbulent waters of hiring talent.  While the competition can be fierce, employing a worthy applicant tracking solution will enable a company to find, track, target and land the perfect candidate.

One thing is clear, winning the war against oil dependence is going to need to be a unified effort.   The country and the companies that will be leading the way in clean energy  need to make sure that the right team is put together on all fronts.  Every individual green candidate will make a difference, and it all begins with finding the right candidates.

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Green Jobs at the Center of Stimulus

On Tuesday, President Obama outlined his new strategy for job stimulus in the U.S.   One of the central cogs of his strategy is to generate green jobs through building environmentally friendly infrastructure as well as providing citizens the incentive to become more energy-efficient. It seems a timely coincidence that the President’s green job push comes in sync with the ongoing International Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

I’d like to break down some highlights from the speech that mark direct actions for creating green jobs, as well as make some additional points on how we can meld the worlds of hiring and environmental conservation.

–  Incentive for Energy Efficiency: Obama hit on a new proposal to provide tax rebates to citizens who are more energy efficient.  A current portion of the Waxman-Markey energy bill, titled ‘cash for caulkers,’ would provide $20 billion dollars over two years for people to  retrofit their homes to be more energy efficient.   This proposal would create numerous green jobs (up to 850,000), save close to 3.3 billion dollars in energy bills per year, as well as reduce global pollution through eco-friendly homes.

– Green Infrastructure  California currently leads the U.S in green hiring, spending and infrastructure, however other states like Colorado are quickly gaining in specific sectors like Wind and Solar.  Obama’s proposal continues to push other states that have environmental specialties (due to climate, altitude, sun exposure, etc.)  towards a green future.   A government investment in solar, wind, and energy efficient buildings, would also serve to reduce emissions while creating new jobs.

–  Green Regulation Although big business is in a constant battle against green regulation, continued environmental benchmarks from agencies like the EPA may be what it takes to get this country in the ‘green swing of things.’ Although this would at first slow growth in big business sectors like agriculture, it would eventually lead to more green innovation and hiring.

–  Small Business Growth  Small business growth was one of the highlights of Obama’s job stimulus proposal, citing the Troubled Asset Relief Program to ramp up lending to small businesses across the country.  Small Business and startup operations have been catalysts for green innovation for some time, and will continue to push the boundaries in clean energy technology.

– Green Hiring Given the stimulus that businesses are to receive to move into the green sector:  what is the most efficient use of the funding?  Of course, hiring the right talent will be integral for small and large businesses to make the most out of the stimulus.  Green jobs sounds great in theory, but without the resources for applicant tracking and recruiting, companies can be left behind.  It is important that we not only create more green jobs, but that businesses have the ability to efficiently hire the proper talent.

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The New Valley – Tech Solutions for all

1157215_san_fransisco_nightSilicon Valley entrepreneurs, tech wizards and venture capitalists have been branded with several select words in the past:  brash, arrogant, impulsive.    From the outside, some of these ‘California Cowboys’ seem deserving of the titles, having built and burst the bubble.  Perhaps this turn-of-the-century confidence was arrogant – stratified with over-hyped web services and premature victory celebrations.

Recently a new wave of optimism has come over the Valley though, not one built on million dollar parties or hyped up products- but on tried and true services that fill a need and provide  solutions at a deserving cost.   Silicon Valley has become a new shining beacon of American entrepreneurship, a symbol of the American dream: the ‘can do anything attitude” that had disintegrated sometime during the cold war era.

The internet has given the Silicon Valley entrepreneur the tools to build websites and applications that range from tiny niche services to  immense  ‘save the earth’ initiatives.   New cloud computing infrastructure and open source code has cut the barrier to entry – enabling fledgling  business owners to set up shop without buckling under tremendous bank loans or VC investments.  All in all, things are looking good, and confidence seems like something well-wielded by today’s tech maverick.

Even during this recent economic recession,  Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have proven resilient, continuing to produce a steady stream of innovation.   In fact, the start up mentality was built for the trenches.  Unlike the gluttonous tech companies at the turn of the century, today’s start up thrives on low cost innovation, minuscule resources and minimal encouragement.

This new age of technology is epitomized by the Silicon Valley hiring culture, where at times it can seem like the true Wild West.

From Wired Magazine:

Valley culture has an unwritten rule that if you don’t like a job, or if you think your company isn’t going anywhere, you leave. Instead of hanging around the office whining, you walk out the door and find something better and cooler to do. Because skilled tech workers are hard to find and interesting companies abound, employees, not employers, call the shots.

Employers need not fret though: they also can utilize new cutting edge tools and software to gain the edge on acquiring the best talent out there.  New high tech online recruiting software solutions allow start ups to track, manage, and hire job applicants with pinpoint accuracy.   Even if businesses are losing employees consistently to other enticing options, they can make up for their lost talent utilizing today’s best hiring software tools.

So what’s next for the valley?  Hopefully the contagious atmosphere and confidence will continue to spread outward.  It can already be seen that this era of the internet is finding new hubs, from Paris and Boston to Bangalore and Tokyo.   The valley has also been quick to put together solutions for pressing issues,  from green technology and alternative energy to social reform.   Start ups like Twitter have drawn attention to happenings a world away from the Valley and companies like Facebook have brought people together within their own neighborhood.

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In it for the Real Green: Eco-friendly niche business

green leafAs strange as it may seem, it is only a recent societal development that has the average citizen dishing out some amount of concern for the well-being of the environment. Whether it was the media-storm of eco-friendly messages, gas prices sky-rocketing, or Obama’s new ‘green’ stimulus money, the American population as a whole can now be considered a tad-bit worried about our planet. Prior to this ‘revelation’, conservation and sustainable living were considered elitist left wing movements designed to take our eyes off of more important topics of conversation – like WMDs.

Now that Americans are green – what do we do about it?

US industry has taken terrific leaps and bounds to ‘green-ify’ its image – from the confusing eco-marketing campaigns for hip clothing apparel  to the pastoral package imagery of organic  foods.  The word ‘Organic’ itself has traveled generations in meaning and is now worth billions of dollars to companies like Whole Foods, whose brand fully depends on people thinking they are ‘greener’ by buying their food.   The truth  is, most companies like these are rapidly re-branding with the primary goal of getting a different sort of green.

There are a handful of companies which the public needs to keep an eye out for and support for being genuinely green-focused.  These are companies that are often targeting a niche environmental problem and are doing their jobs very well.  These businesses deserve the utmost support from both the private and government sectors – for our future truly depends on their continual evolution.

So what are a few of these companies?

  • Tesla Motors: Tesla Motors is truly an innovator in creating cars of the future that can have an impact on today.  Space enthusiast Elon Musk’s company has already created a successful electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster, that has caught the eye of many a celebrity.  The next endeavor will be the cheaper and more accessible Model S.  Hopefully smaller manufacturers like Tesla will have the support to grow and accommodate for many of the unemployed workers from teetering auto-industry giants.
  • Grid Alternatives:  Grid Alternatives is a California non-profit that provides power to communities in need through alternative energy sources like Solar Cells.  Companies like these not only address growing environmental problems, but also do so in a socially responsible manner that impacts communities across California.
  • Green Energy Technologies: The developer of the WindCube- a cutting edge wind turbine that is designed to be installed on commercial urban and suburban locations.  Technologies such as the WindCube represent an eco-friendly option for  city dwellers.   More of our population is now condensed within urban centers than ever before.   Transporting power over shorter distances will play an important role in stemming our energy-usage.

How can we support companies like these?

One way for other companies to support green technology is either by utilizing their products for enterprise needs, or by offering helpful services to them.   Large and small businesses  alike can consider making an investment in the future by purchasing something like a WindCube to supply their energy needs.

One great example of this  is Newton On Demand, a recruiting software company whose technology is currently powering the hiring and applicant management efforts of Grid Alternatives.  This is extremely important because finding and retaining the brightest minds for an eco-friendly company like this will put the green-technology sector one step ahead.  The more genius applicants that can be pulled towards helping our planet, the better.

The easiest way for the public to support companies like these is also to utilize their products or services.  Although most people still don’t have the cash (especially in the current economy) to purchase a new Tesla or WindCube, a non-profit like Grid Alternatives is largely supported through donations, where even a small amount can help.

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