Why Are Few Blacks Working in Green Industries?Want to land a solid job after college? Then it’s time to start thinking green and not in terms of money. According to a panel of experts, young African-Americans are missing out on modern age job opportunities because there are few connections between leading “green” companies and historically black colleges. A group of business leaders, including Tatyana Ali, discussed environmental stewardship and a business development program for recent graduates at a forum organized by the Toyota Green Initiative. The event was held during the Magic City Classic in Birmingham, Alabama.

The panelists discussed how HBCUs have their roots in original green industry – agriculture – but that today little awareness exists among black youth about these opportunities.

“They don’t realize that there are environmental leaders of color,” Zakiya Harris, manager of the San Francisco Green Festival, said in reference of students. “We want our young people to be empowered … with the language of the new green economy.”

Jamal Ali, author of the book “Black and Green: Black Insights for the Green Movement” said that encouraging more youth to pursue environmentalism as careers is simple: “We just need to educate the community.”

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    Green is not just agribusiness (in fact most agribusiness is decidedly not green.) Green jobs include solar and wind technology, weatherization and building retrofitting, it’s a lot more engineering than the comments here seem to understand. It’s the creation of more efficient appliances, alternative building materials, and green spaces in urban areas (see rain gardens). And it’s not just the technical know-how, but the marketing savvy to win financing and consumer confidence, and the political prowess to reorient government contracting to green industries. Google the blue-green alliance in your state for more info.

  • I’ve been trying to encourage my cousin who is now finding his way and exploring skilled trades right now to look into this. The school he’s intending to go to also offers programs as Ads indicated above, particularly green building technology. No reason why he shouldn’t add those skills under his belt. the city that he lives in is slowly converting their public housing to solar power, and the city is experiencing huge growth. I don’t doubt that people who are building homes from scratch will be looking to run these new homes as efficiently as possible.