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Expand chart
Adapted from Brookings; Chart: Axios Visuals

Employment in low-carbon energy fields is better-paid than average jobs and is widely available to workers without college degrees, a new Brookings Institution analysis shows.

But, but, but: These sectors — clean energy production, efficiency, and environmental management — are "dominated" by men, skew older, and some lack racial diversity, the study finds.

Why it matters: The report provides a highly granular look at the workforce characteristics in fast-growing, low-carbon energy sectors that already employ several million people combined.

  • It arrives amid the political rise of the Green New Deal — a concept that marries huge investments in clean energy with a goal of ensuring that marginalized communities share the benefits.

Here are a few top-line findings:

  • The wage difference is real. Check out the chart above. "The hourly differences between a clean energy economy occupation and one elsewhere in the economy can equate to a raise between 8 and 19 percent, if not more," the study states.
  • You often don't need advanced degrees. "Workers with no more than a high school diploma fill over half of all energy efficiency occupations, while 45 percent of workers in clean energy production occupations share this distinction."
  • Inclusion is a problem. As of 2016, less than 20% of workers in clean energy production and efficiency were women. African Americans have a smaller share of jobs in those 2 sectors than in the overall economy, although it's above the national average in environmental management.

What's next: The report lays out recommendations — some built on what's already happening — for how to make these industries more inclusive, train younger people, and generally help policymakers, educational institutions and businesses prepare the workforce. These include...

  • "Modernizing and emphasizing" energy science curricula at all schooling levels, such as programs now available for 2-year associates' degrees in efficiency and renewables.
  • Regional initiatives and public-private collaboration on job training and aligning education with local clean energy industries.
  • Expanded efforts to reach underrepresented workers and students for recruitment and training. For instance, they cite the tech-focused Black Girls Code program as a model.

The bottom line: “This is a very accessible blue/green collar sector in many respects — widely distributed in both red and blue places, accessible to an inordinate number of people who don’t have a college degree, and a genuine opportunity for all kinds of workers,” co-author Mark Muro said.

  • But Muro, an expert in industrial transitions, also told Axios: “We won’t just naturally get a more diverse clean energy workforce. It is going to require active effort.”

Go deeper: Renewable energy is on the rise, but it has a long way to go

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

In photos: Pope Francis spreads message of peace on first trip to Iraq

Pope Francis waving as he arrives near the ruins of the Syriac Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception (al-Tahira-l-Kubra), in the old city of Iraq's northern Mosul on March 7. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis was on Sunday visiting areas of northern Iraq once held by Islamic State militants.

Why it matters: This is the first-ever papal trip to Iraq. The purpose of Francis' four-day visit is largely intended to reassure the country's Christian minority, who were violently persecuted by ISIS, which controlled the region from 2014-2017.

Cuomo faces fresh misconduct allegations from former aides

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February press conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was on Saturday facing fresh accusations of misconduct against his staff, including further allegations of inappropriate behavior against two more women. His office denies the claims.

Driving the news: The Washington Post reported Cuomo allegedly embraced an aide when he led the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and that two male staffers who worked for him in the governor's office accused him of routinely berating them "with explicit language."

In photos: Protesters rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Chaz Neal, a Redwing community activist, outside the Minnesota Governor's residence during a protest in support of George Floyd in St.Paul, Minnesota, on March 6. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Dozens of protesters were rallying outside the Minnesota governor's mansion in St Paul Saturday, urging justice for George Floyd ahead of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start this Monday, with jury selection procedures.

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