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The Energy Industry If you read your local and national newspapers, you realize that today's energy industry is facing many challenges. Lawmakers, lobbyists, industry leaders and community members are seemingly at odds about which types of energy — clean coal, solar, natural gas, wind or nuclear — are the best for sustaining our environment for future generations. The national spotlight on energy issues has opened up the hiring market for the industry like never before. New careers in research, field work, project management and innovation are there for the taking. A Changing Employee Profile Consider the statistics from the U.S. Department of Energy’s first annual analysis of how changes in America’s energy profile are affecting national employment in multiple energy sectors. The numbers show a dramatic shift toward renewable energy and efficiency projects, paving the path for new college graduates, as well as job-seekers transitioning out of other industries. The DOE used a combination of existing energy employment data and a new survey of energy sector employers to produce its inaugural U.S. Energy and Employment Report. • 3.64 million Americans work in traditional energy industries, including production, transmission, distribution and storage. • Of these, 600,000 employees contribute to the production of low-carbon electricity, including renewable energy, nuclear energy and low-emission natural gas. • An additional 1.9 million Americans are employed, in whole or in part, in energy efficiency. • Roughly 30 percent of the 6.8 million employees in the U.S. construction indus- try work on energy or building energy efficiency projects. Renewable Energy Trying to decide which sector of the energy industry offers the most opportunity? The solar and wind industries are each creating jobs at a rate 12 times faster than that of the rest of the U.S. economy, according to a new report published by the Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Corps program. The report shows that solar and wind jobs have grown at rates of about 20 percent annually in recent years, and sustainability now collectively represents 4 to 4.5 million jobs in the United States, up from 3.4 million in 2011.