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Jobs in LA’s Green Technology Sector

March 1, 2006 / By Daniel Flaming and Patrick Burns
Underwriter: the City of Los Angeles' Workforce Investment Board-Development Dept. and Department of Water and Power


Los Angeles has been a path breaker in setting increasingly ambitious environmental goals and introducing innovative technologies to achieve those goals.  The City commissioned this study to investigate the job opportunities that would result from becoming a center of production for “green” goods and services that provide renewable or less-polluting sources of energy, and help reduce pollutants from our existing industrial base, transportation infrastructure, and residential communities.  The objective is to spur job growth and build competitive strength in the “Green Technology Sector,” thereby capturing some of the economic benefits from environmental markets that L.A. has helped create.

Can the establishments that generate green energy, as well as other industries linked to environmental improvements and the equipment manufacturers and service providers that supply them, grow locally to produce greater economic activity and good jobs?

  • How many of these businesses already operate in Los Angeles?
  • How many of their suppliers are locate here?
  • Is the green energy technology sector expanding?
  • What other complimentary industries may benefit from growth in this sector?
  • What types of jobs do they provide?
  • What types of skills are necessary to work in this sector?
  • Can entry-level workers find job opportunities in this sector?

What is the “Green Technology Energy Sector”?  The green energy technology sector is comprised of establishments generating electric power from fuel sources other than traditional fossil fuels or conventional nuclear fission.  Of particular interest to the project underwriters (LA-DWP & WIB) are:

  • Solar Power
  • Wind Power
  • Biomass Power

2006_Jobs_in_LA_Green_Technology_Main_01“Renewable” sources of energy are emphasized. The Economic Roundtable has also tracked related environmental industries, such as Environmental Consulting, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, and Waste Reduction/Remediation.

Background of this Research: The Economic Roundtable was requested to investigate jobs in Los Angeles’ “Green Technology” sector in the fall of 2005, as an addition to research done for the Los Angeles Economy Project (publicly released December 2005). This research was underwritten by two branches of the City of Los Angeles: The Department of Water and Power (DWP) and the Workforce Investment Board (WIB).  Both the DWP and the WIB share an interest in expanding work opportunities in living-wage industries and occupations in the city’s economy. Further, both are interested in seeing Los Angeles become a center of production for “green” goods and services, providing renewable or less-polluting sources of energy, as well as technologies that help reduce pollutants from the existing economic base, transportation infrastructure, and residential communities. Growth in this segment of the economy would enable Los Angeles to improve its environmental quality, achieve job growth and gain competitive advantage in the “Green Technology” sector.

Area of Work: Ecology, Economy, People
Tags: "Green" Jobs, Environment, Green Technology, Industries, Industry Supply Links, Los Angeles