3:43 p.m., May 5, 2010----What does Delaware need to do in order to go green? That is the latest question that the University of Delaware's Center for Applied Demography and Survey Research (CADSR) is tackling, thanks to an $889,000 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
CADSR, with the help of George Sharpley, senior economist at the Delaware Department of Labor, will be using the grant to study and predict the impact of increased energy and environmental conservation efforts on the labor force in order to make larger claims about the state as a whole. The project began in December 2009 and is expected to end in the summer of 2011.
“It's a substantial project,” CADSR researcher Dan Brown said. “A lot of people here are happy about getting the grant, and we're eager to research the impact of different types of green processes that take place throughout Delaware.”
Brown said the two-pronged approach will estimate demand for green services and products, as well as what skills need to be developed in order to maximize the potential green processes in the state. There will be multiple perspectives in determining the demand and supply for green services, including surveys, focus groups and traditional academic research.
“We are providing the state with important information that will enable it to prepare the workforce for a more environmentally conscious world,” he said. “We first focus on the demand for green products and services, and then use that information to determine which labor skills are likely to be important. The overarching goal of the project is to count the stock of key skills, identify potential shortages for the future, and make specific recommendations to develop training programs.”
Tibor Tóth, an assistant policy scientist at CADSR, said that the essence of the project consists of a series of interlinked tasks.
First, CADSR will develop an occupation-industry-skill matrix for the nation and the local region using changes in energy consumption as an indicator of green activity.
In addition, two surveys will be created. One will be capable of measuring individual firm behavior with respect to hiring, training and the need for changed job skills in the Delaware economy and will collect data from 600 firms distributed across two strata. The second survey will measure individual attributes such as education, training and job skills from 2,400 individuals.
After that, CADSR will develop an understanding of the availability of education and training opportunities that increase the number of workers with skills relevant to increased environmental conservation in Delaware. The data will be collected from both public and private institutions and firms across the state.
Finally, an understanding of the impact of jobs with new skill sets on Delaware's economy -- including the demand for jobs, the growth and decline of jobs within sectors, and the outlook for the future -- will be determined.
Now that the project has been funded, Brown said there is only one thing left for CADSR to do.
“It's time to get to work,” he said.
Article by Jon Bleiweis