What do “green jobs” look like?

Last fall, as part of my volunteer work for the Minnesota Sierra Club and Blue Green Alliance, I participated in a photo project to capture images of “green jobs” – in particular ones that involve energy efficiency and clean (nonpolluting) energy production.

The Green Jobs Photo Project includes images from work being done around Minnesota, much of it by union members. I was sent to shoot an apprentice training program at the St. Paul Carpenter’s Union, where apprentices were learning the most current methods of insulating homes. The training space was huge, perhaps the size of an airline hanger, and filled with people working on different practice projects. Shooting conditions were challenging, with sawdust thick in the air, lots of materials lying about to be mindful of, all kinds of equipment in use, and on top of everything, I had to wear safety goggles. After capturing different activities and ending with some quick shots of insulation being sprayed, I made a quick retreat before most of the insulation dust could reach my camera.

I was so impressed with the focus that all the apprentices displayed, and I understand that 100% of these people have already have jobs waiting for them when they graduate from the program.

Since it was completed, this project has been displayed at the Common Roots Cafe in Minneapolis, the Minnesota State Capitol, and now this week it will show at the Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference in Washington, DC. We are hoping to see an online gallery of the images in the future.

Before I started this project I only had only a very general idea of what green jobs actually looked like, so it’s been very rewarding to learn more and share with others.


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