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Knoxville #1 in Green Job Growth
By: 
Garrett Wagley
Date: 
Thursday, July 14, 2011

Knoxville is the nation's fastest growing area for green jobs according to a report, "Sizing the Clean Economy: A National and Regional Green Jobs Assessment," released by the Brookings Institute. Knoxville saw green jobs grow by 14.6 percent annually between 2003 and 2010. During that period the region added 10,000 green jobs, and now clean economy jobs account for 4.9 percent of all jobs in the Innovation Valley. The measure of the concentration of green jobs ranks Knoxville 2nd in the nation. Read the report on the Knoxville metro here.

"When we put together the regional economic development strategy for Innovation Valley we built on the assets unique to the Knoxville-Oak Ridge corridor," said Thomas Mason, chair of Innovation Valley and the director Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "Industries in the clean economy sector were an obvious area of concentration given what we have to offer with assets like the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Y-12 National Security Complex, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. We have worked hard to recruit green businesses to the region and to help nurture clean economy entrepreneurs."

The largest sectors for clean economy jobs in the Innovation Valley are professional energy services, remediation, professional environmental services, waste management and treatment, and recycling. The fastest growing segment, professional energy services, added more than 8,000 jobs from 2003-2010.

The average median wage for green jobs in the region is $45,184, higher than the average annual wages for the region of $40,018 published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"It is gratifying to see that as a result of our focused efforts the Innovation Valley leads the nation in growth of clean economy jobs at a time when good news in economic growth has been all too scarce," continued Mason.

"Sizing the Clean Economy" examines data from 2003 to 2010 to identify the size, growth, and geography of the green economy in the United States. While there has been much national discussion about the importance of clean energy jobs, the Brookings study is one of the first to define green jobs. "The clean economy has remained elusive in part because, in the absence of standard definitions and data, strikingly little is known about its nature, size, and growth at the critical regional level," according to Brookings. "Seeking to help address these problems, the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookingsworked with Battelle's Technology Partnership Practice to develop, analyze, and comment on a detailed database of establishment-level employment statistics pertaining to a sensibly defined assemblage of clean economy industries in the United States and its metropolitan areas."

About Innovation Valley

Innovation Valley Inc. is a regional economic development initiative centered on a 25-mile Technology Corridor with world-class resources in science, technology, and business. The partnership of six regional economic development agencies was created to implement a five-year economic development blueprint for business growth in the Knoxville-Oak Ridge area of East Tennessee. The blueprint outlines 13 targeted industry sectors that are based on an analysis of the region's world-class resources. Six program areas provide the framework for the group's business relocation and industrial development efforts. A private, independent board of directors guides the management of this regional partnership and funding comes

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