Congress is betting that green jobs will put millions of unemployed Americans back to work, and building a smart grid is only part of the solution.

According to a provision in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the U.S. government plans to deposit $5.5 billion in a fund to convert more than 8,000 federal buildings, courthouses, ports of entry and public office buildings into high-performance green buildings. An additional $3 million will be put aside for on-the-job apprenticeships and apprenticeship training.

“We can help people get back to work,” said Anthony Costa, acting commissioner of the General Services Administration’s Public Buildings Service in a recent agency press release.

The administration, or GSA, is reviewing projects where it can start construction quickly, acting GSA Commissioner Paul Prouty told Congress Feb. 11. Some of these projects include:

  • Installing intelligent lighting systems,
  • Installing photovoltaic panels onto GSA buildings with flat roofs, and
  • Accelerating the installation of advanced meters that provide information on a building’s energy use and that suggest ways to reduce it.

These measures, however, are still in the planning stages. Although the stimulus act states that the GSA is supposed to report how these funds will be used to Congress 45 days after the enactment of the law, GSA spokeswoman MaryAnne Beatty was unable to say exactly when the GSA’s report would be submitted or when these jobs will be available.

New Positions
In the meantime here are a few of the types of jobs that will be created, according to Prouty’s testimony:

  • Electrician
  • Plumber
  • Air conditioner mechanic
  • Carpenter
  • Architect
  • Engineer

In addition to these positions, the GSA also plans to hire contractors to support existing GSA personnel. These contract positions will include:

  • Design services
  • Data tracking and data reporting
  • Scheduling and budgeting
  • Project management

Where to Look for a Job
According to Prouty’s testimony, both the GSA and the Public Buildings Service’s Federal Acquisition Service will award national contracts to companies across the country this year.

So, if you’re a contractor, an architect, or if you just want to make America green, here are three places where you can look for a job.

1. As the landlord for the federal government, the GSA oversees thousands of properties across the country. 

. This Department of Labor-sponsored site provides links to job banks in all 50 states. 

3. Green Jobs Network. The Green Jobs Network provides a state-by-state listing of environmental jobs. Although many of these jobs are for the private sector,  you can also find positions at government buildings such as the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Social Security Administration’s office in Woodlawn, Md.

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