Green-Collar Skills

Kelly Jones | July 24,2014

The range of skills needed to work in the interdisciplinary field of sustainability run the gamut from energy modeling to negotiation and from financial analysis to communications. I myself have degrees in both psychology and environmental management, and I work with a team with individuals who have studied economics, international affairs, anthropology, history and integrative biology. Each of us brings something unique to the table, and as a whole, the group benefits from having such diverse expertise.

In a similar way, EDF Climate Corps fellows enter into their host organizations with a unique set of skills and – importantly – fresh perspective. They bring something different to their often already well-established sustainability teams. Some fellows have MBAs and are ready to crunch the numbers to show that specific energy efficiency projects do make business sense. Others come with knowledge in energy modeling and Life Cycle Analysis, and still other fellows have the people and communication skills to engage employees and even shift the culture so that it is more environmentally conscious.

Today, EDF Climate Corps fellow Rochelle March has an article featured on InternMatch that gives her perspective on the skills needed in the sustainability field. She highlights how, thus far in her summer fellowship, she has utilized her writing, presentation, data analysis and, even, poetry writing skills. If you are interested in entering into the environmental field or wondering if you have what it takes, check out her blog because, as I’ve written before, sustainability is a part of everyone’s job.

An excerpt from Rochelle’s post:

Rochelle March

I remember visiting a college friend in Switzerland after my first year of undergraduate school, where we mutually declared, “I just want more skills!” At the time, I still had three more years of undergrad left, a couple years of work experience ahead of me, plus three more years of pursuing two masters’ degrees to acquire all these untold skills I felt sure I needed. Well, looking back, I think my friend and I had the right idea.

This summer, I am an Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps fellow working at the donut headquarters of Dunkin’ Brands, where I call upon a lot of skills, and some of which I didn’t think would ever come in handy.

First of all, the application for EDF Climate Corps called for all kinds of skills. Not only were former test scores, syllabi and technical writing samples required, but also long and short answer questions to gauge the intent of candidates. I employed my writing and grammar skills, honed through long nights of paper writing and grammar-policing relatives, to write sound pieces of why I wanted to be an EDF Climate Corps fellow.

The interview with EDF was over Skype and consisted of an array of scenario-based questions, interpreting charts and graphs, answering technical business questions, and a detailed walkthrough of my resume. Tough. However, I had done so many presentations in graduate school, answering questions on the spot came easily. Also, going through art critiques in my studio classes in undergraduate where I pursued an individualized degree in landscape architecture, conditioned me for scrutiny and creative responding. I got the job....

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