Green Careers

Environmental and Sustainability Studies graduates go on to a wide variety of careers in business, non-governmental organizations, municipalities, and trade and professional organizations. Grand Valley's ENS program prepares students to apply their knowledge through class projects, individual assignments, internship positions, community-based learning, and hands-on field work.

In a 2012 survey of employers in the West Michigan region, 93% indicated that they have an interest in promoting sustainability within their organization. Now in 2021, the demand for and opportunities in the environmental and sustainability field continue to grow- projected to increase by 7% in Michigan and 6% nationally by 2025 (EMSI, 2021).

The skill sets these employers identified as most desirable included:

  • Environmental impact and assessment
  • Economic impact assessment
  • Alternative and renewable energy
  • Environmental law and policy
  • Social impact and assessment
  • Neighborhood and community sustainability and revitalization
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Sustainable food systems and urban agriculture

Sustainability as a Profession

Many employers and other organizations are coming to recognize the need for expert guidance as they implement sustainability measures. This has led to an emerging career path to Work as a Sustainability Professional, whether as a full-time position or combined with other job responsibilities. The International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) supports and connects people working in the field. In 2016, ISSP introduced the first globally recognized certification for sustainability professionals, which is not required for graduation or for the majority of sustainability-related positions. Rather, it's an added credential opportunity.

Want to know more?

Explore environmental-related jobs, potential employers, and strategies to get there: "What Can I Do With This Major?"

Check out our detailed overview of "Green Jobs Projections to 2020" for the U.S., Michigan, and the greater Grand Rapids area. 

Another valuable resource is the USDA's report "Employment Opportunities for College Graduates in Food, Agriculture, Renewable Natural Resources, and the Environment 2015-2020."

The following sites provide additional information on green jobs and the importance of this ever-growing profession:

Employment Postings & Internship Opportunities

Employment postings and internship opportunities can be found on our Community Engagement & Employment Resources page.

Environmental Links

Explore local, state, regional, and national environmental-related agencies.

Page last modified May 1, 2024