With California’s unemployment rate finally dropped to its lowest level since the recession of 2008, the Employment Development Department’s report card revealed some real affirmation that the economy is gaining momentum in Los Angeles County. A dip to 9.6 percent from 9.8 percent may seem like a miniscule fall on paper, but it’s an encouraging one in a large municipality where financial woes have been the topic of conversation for the past five years.

Although the county’s unemployment rate remains in the double digits, the labor force is blossoming, particularly in the growing field of green collar jobs, a lucrative occupation dedicated to mending an ailing environment and reducing energy costs.

Geoff Atkins, chief marketing and strategy officer, American Solar Direct (credit: Sharon Raiford Bush)

Geoff Atkins, chief marketing and strategy officer, American Solar Direct (Courtesy of American Solar Direct)

At a time when L.A. homeowners are exploring ways to take the bite out of rising utility bills, many companies are actively helping residents lean toward smart solutions while giving the local job market a needed boost. A leading L.A.-based corporation making a positive difference in the region is American Solar Direct, an eco-responsible trendsetter whose workforce is more than 400 strong and expanding.

“Green-related jobs are among the fastest growing sector in the United States,” said Geoff Atkins, the company’s chief marketing and strategy officer. “In addition to having a long-term promising job outlook, green collar jobs also provide individual satisfaction that a person is contributing to a more sustainable environment.”

This is good news for an area that offers more green jobs than any other state in the nation, according to the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

Atkins said American Solar Direct, which serves a large swath of the Golden State, is currently seeking experienced solar installers, electrical apprentices, journeyman electricians and solar energy consultants as more property owners learn how they can save up to $15,000 in energy costs over a 20-year stretch.

“It quickly becomes easy to see why homeowners want to harness the power of the sun,” said Atkins.

And it’s comprehensible why engineers, installers and technicians would want to venture into a world of greener pastures. Some annual salaries can range from under $50,000 to well over $100,000, depending on the position and specialty, reported Sarah Shemkus of Salary.com.

“At American Solar Direct, we look for individuals who are committed to great customer service, enjoy working in a team environment and bring a creative spirit,” said Atkins.

For a current list of other green-related job offerings in the L.A. region, visit greenjobsearch.org.

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.


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