Legislatures around the country have been exploring various job creation strategies while we’ve been enduring the current economic recession. Many legislators have touted green jobs as a viable solution to job creation but one has to wonder if this miracle cure that the government is selling has been effective as promised or if LEED is simply an ingenious method to placate the masses.
What is LEED?
Those visiting LEEDCert.com will know that LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED is a rating system used to determine which properties are designed in a green manner. LEED also offers professional certifications for professionals.
Has the LEED Inititives Created Jobs?
Our economic recession led to a depression in the construction industry and left many construction workers without jobs. Recent studies have supported that green jobs are already growing, especially in the green construction and solar energy sectors. Of course the study defined green jobs fairly loosely but the study does predict that by 2013 45% of design and construction jobs will be green. Again, one wonders how accurate these statistics are because of how loosely the term “green” is used. McGraw-Hill cites these studies as proof that jobs are being created, but have the jobs that have been created actually been green jobs, and have there been as many jobs created as the public in general has been led to believe there would be? The most likely answer to these two questions is a resounding no.
LEED Certification: a Leading Edge?
The same McGraw-Hill study also supported that 71% of HR personnel believe that green certification makes a potential hire more attractive. This is great news for the individual job seeker, but this doesn't necessarily mean that LEED really led to large-scale job creation as promised.
LEED: Add an Ounce of Exaggeration and a Kernel of Truth
Honestly, the jury is still out, but many economists have voted in favor of a middle ground answer. Yes, LEED has led to the creation of new jobs but certainly on a much smaller scale than the government has projected. With the murky definition as to what exactly constitutes a "green job", and inflated numbers surrounding the “green economy” it’s really hard to accurately determine just how many jobs have really been created, or even if these are truly green jobs.
It is apparent that LEED has led to some new job creation, and its certification programs can provide a competitive edge for individual job seekers, but it’s almost impossible to determine if LEED has helped our economy that much. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, [http://www.bls.gov/] our unemployment rate is currently at 8.6%. People are still without jobs.
Perhaps 2012 will provide us with a clearer picture of how LEED is helping to create jobs, but without a clearer definition on what a green job is, trying to determine exact numbers remains an exercise in futility.