College Grads Seek Out Environmental Nonprofit Jobs

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June 27, 2011; Source: New York Times | The number of jobs related to environmental work has roughly tripled in the last three years, and recent college graduates are the ones clamoring to work for the cause. The New York Times reports that the field of environmental sustainability is one that greatly appeals to the “dot.com” generation, a group that has grown up with an emphasis on volunteerism and service. “Finding a job with meaning is an important value to them,” says Idealist.org operations director Amelia Byers, and many twenty-somethings are consequently leaving corporate jobs for nonprofits – more specifically, nonprofits focused on the environment.

Rachael Kleinberger, 26, quit her job at a reality-TV production company to work for Global Inheritance, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that uses art and creativity to encourage environmental sustainability. She recently helped organize off-the-grid DJ performances at the Coachella music festival, and took energy-generating bicycles that charge cell phones and iPods to the Indy500.

“I want to do something helpful,” Kleinberger said, “or do something at the end of the day that’s like, ‘This makes me feel good that I spent this much time doing it.’” For a “values driven” generation, this sentiment will likely continue to be echoed throughout the nonprofit sector, especially as an emphasis on environmental work remains.—Sarah Testa