Online Program

What's in a name? defining “green jobs” in a green chemistry framework

Monday, November 4, 2013

Dorothy Wigmore, M.S., Occupational Health Clinical Center, Syracuse, NY
Kathryn Alcantar, Center for Environmental Health, Oakland, CA
Green chemistry is about much more than what happens in a chemistry lab. It is a framework that questions the use of hazardous processes, substances and products; develops less toxic and non-toxic options; promotes the use of those alternatives; and encourages feedback about improvements. One of six proposals in California's Green Chemistry Initiative (GCI) calls for “Green chemistry workforce education and training, research and development and technology transfer”. Its focus was on the formal education system, from public schools to technical colleges and universities. When the Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE) coalition started talking about how to promote green chemistry workforce development, our first challenge was the often-limited understanding of a “green job”. Most approaches focus on the energy sector and chemistry labs, and do not integrate green chemistry activities and training into everyday work. CHANGE began to explore a broader definition of green jobs with a roundtable discussion (Molecules to movement: Building the new green economy from the ground up). The coalition later set up a work group that developed questions for a wide variety of stakeholders (e.g., labor, businesses, educational institutions, workforce development organizations). Group members had discussions individually and at several gatherings about the opportunities for a broader, inclusive approach to “green workforce development”. We will present the results and recommendations, with attention to the needs of workers outside the energy sector and how we can make all jobs “green”-- good for the environment, and the people doing them.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Define green chemistry and green jobs. Describe and analyze conversations about the two. Identify opportunities to support and promote green chemistry education and training in a broad array of settings.

Keyword(s): Prevention, Training

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am one of the CHANGE coalition member representatives involved in the green workforce development project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 3264.1: Chemicals & toxic substances