Names Behind the Numbers of Clean Energy Workers

August 14, 2018

Harry Harir, Midwest Regional Manager, Appliance Recycling Centers of America.

3.2 million. That’s the number of clean energy workers in the U.S. today. Sounds impressive, right? It should. Today, more Americans work in clean energy than in agriculture, real estate, investment banking and the entertainment, media and sports industries combined. There are now as many clean energy workers as there are schoolteachers in the U.S.

As impressive as these statistics may be, the numbers only tell part of the story.

What sometimes gets lost in the data is the human factor. If we can’t picture who these clean energy workers are, can we really understand how these jobs are benefitting Americans, their families and communities, or see ourselves and neighbors in these positions?

By helping people visualize who these workers are, we can help them relate better and see that this industry is full of interesting people doing good work all over the U.S.  After all, the more it’s about people, the more powerful the story.

Devin, Alyssa and Tim Martinez (left to right), solar installers for EcoPower.

Last fall, we launched Names Behind the Numbers Wisconsin in an attempt to pull back the curtain and show some of the faces of our clean energy workforce. These hardworking Midwesterners are electricians, laborers, scientists, construction workers, salespeople, educators, truck drivers, managers and more. They work in cities and in rural areas. Some went to four-year colleges, others to technical schools, and others made mid-career switches into the clean energy industry. Many have families they are supporting, and have mortgages, rents and bills to pay, just like anyone else.

Seeing the diversity of disciplines, skill sets and backgrounds of these workers, it’s easier to imagine yourself or your neighbors in these positions, and realize that the clean energy workforce is more than just a statistic, but a community made up of real people with real jobs from all walks of life.

We are starting to see more clean energy worker storytelling projects out there, such as the worker profiles on Clean Jobs Midwest, Stories of Solar and Names Behind the Numbers Minnesota.

Know of other clean energy worker storytelling projects? Let us know!