Sustainability Consultant: Portable Career for Military Spouses

By University Alliance

Going green is one of the hottest trends today. More than 3 million jobs were related to Green Goods and Services (GGS) in 2010, representing about 2.4 percent of the nation’s total employment, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in March 2012.

Among all states, California had the most GGS jobs, with more than 338,000. Vermont, meanwhile, had the highest percentage of GGS jobs (4.4%) compared with total employment.

The BLS considers GGS jobs as those “found in businesses that produce goods and provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.”

The ongoing struggle to balance the globe’s limited supply of natural resources with increasing consumer demand is fueling interest in sustainability and green initiatives – for economic, environmental and social reasons. As a result, businesses and organizations concerned about the so-called “triple bottom line” of people, planet and profits may need to turn to experts for guidance.

Sustainability consultants typically assist businesses in altering their practices in order to decrease energy usage and cut waste production. They may assist with eco-friendly site planning and design, manufacturing and supply chain procedures, and other aspects of doing business that could impact the environment. As with many other types of consulting, a sustainability consultant likely will regularly visit client sites and work with a team of employees or contractors.

Given the often nomadic nature of military life, sustainability consulting may be a good fit for military spouses looking for a portable career.

Financial Assistance Available

Individuals interested in pursuing a sustainability-related career have a wealth of educational offerings to consider. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education lists more than 1,200 sustainability-focused degree and certificate programs.

For military spouses, there are numerous sources of additional financial assistance to investigate, including:

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill: The bill allows eligible servicemembers to transfer unused education benefits to their spouse.
  • Survivors & Dependents: The Department of Veterans Affairs offers up to 45 months of education and training benefits to eligible dependents of servicemembers and veterans through its Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance program.
  • Army SEAP: The Army’s Spouse Education Assistance Program (SEAP) offers scholarships to help eligible spouses of active duty and retired soldiers to pursue a four-year college degree.
  • SOC Program: The Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges program provides servicemembers and their dependents with information and resources related to military-friendly colleges and universities, including options for transferring credits.
  •  MyCAA: The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts program (MyCAA) provides up to $4,000 for eligible military spouses to pursue licenses, certificates or degrees in portable career fields.

With businesses considering green practices in order to conserve resources and cut costs, the field of sustainability counseling could become an attractive option for military spouses hoping to develop a career with growth potential and portability.

A Bureau of Labor Statistics report in 2011 noted that: “Clean energy such as solar power is expected to be a key piece of the growing ‘green economy,’ and jobs in solar power show great potential for new employment opportunities.”

Category: Career Information Resources