SF green job forum overflowed

January 26, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
One sector still seems to hold promise for those seeking employment is the green job market. That was the focus of Monday night's Commonwealth Club forum in San Francisco -- getting your green dream job. The turnout was incredible and some even had to be turned away.

The INFORUM program, which targets people in their 20's and 30's and never sells out, had every age group show up Monday night. The Commonwealth Club created an overflow area and still had to turn people away.

345 people were sitting and standing in the main room and there were more listening outside. About 50 people didn't get in and had to be turned away.

"It was kind of like a rock concert. You really needed to show up early to get in there. Pretty much to be expected in this economy," said Sloan Wilson, from San Francisco.

Once the crowd was dealt with, the panel got right to it listing what types of green jobs are out there. The list wasn't exactly glamorous, but the panelists did talk about how fast this industry is growing and offered plenty of advice. For instance, don't show up and say you've got 15 years marketing experience and you're ready to go green, without studying the carbon lingo.

"Find out about the industry. If you want to look at solar then join your local association like the Northern California Solar Energy Association. It's cheap. They meet regularly. It's low key," said Peter Beadle, the CEO of Green Jobs.com.

Paula Ambrose of Castro Valley says she needs all the information about this new frontier she can get. She lost her job at Hewlett Packard in November.

"I didn't know there were recruiters for green jobs and I didn't know there were certain websites. So from a practical stand point, I picked up some of that information as well," said Ambrose.

The other big draw of the night was the job fair. Companies that actually have job openings, like California's Public Utilities Commission, were swamped with resumes.

"What surprised me was just the qualifications of folks coming through, not necessarily in energy, but the eagerness to work in this field. You know people with ten years' experience were looking at our entry level positions," said Jaclyn T. Marks, from the PUC.

However, if you're looking for a field with longevity, this might not be it. One of the panelists said he hopes we won't have green jobs and green companies in 20 years because he hopes global worming will be solved by then.