Job Front: Sacramento area's clean-tech sector grows

Published: Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 - 8:15 am

Sacramento's still-evolving clean-tech sector is adding jobs even as it continues to grow in stature.

The region's clean technology firms increased payrolls by more than 1,000 jobs in 2012, pushing job rolls to more than 3,200 – a 31 percent increase, according to a clean-technology incubator, the Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance.

The growth pushed revenue for the sector above $2 billion, up nearly a third from 2011. There are 99 clean-tech companies in the greater region.

But what does that mean for people seeking jobs and a clean-tech industry that hopes to strengthen its presence in the area?

Gary Simon, chairman of SARTA's CleanStart program, said the breadth of jobs that the area's clean-technology sector is offering show an industry with staying power.

The types of jobs being filled are in a "broad range of hiring categories," Simon said, including administration and sales as well as positions requiring technology and mechanical skills and engineering jobs.

Energy efficiency companies are the fastest-growing, highlighted by firms such as Roseville's Paramount Solar.

The region's transportation segment also gained steam, with Siemens Mobility hiring for assembly positions at its Florin-area facility, Simon said.

In Stockton, electric vehicle manufacturer Electric Vehicles International – recent supplier of zero-emissions trucks for United Parcel Service's California delivery fleet – has 60 people on the job.

Local companies are tapping prospects from the University of California, Davis, and California State University, Sacramento, and area workers who were lost to downsizing, Simon said.

Even with the segment's hiring boost, Simon said clean tech in Sacramento remains a work in progress.

"The bigger story is: When does it become a self-sustaining sector with deep roots?" he said. "Can you build a career here; can you have different opportunities? We're not quite there yet."

But Simon added that the clean-tech sector is getting closer to making that a reality.

"I would say now more than in prior years, we see more growth locally, companies that were invented here. Now there's growth in the way of companies that have been here for a number of years," he said.

"Siemens, Pacific Ethanol has come back, (electric vehicle charger manufacturer) Clipper Creek, more than a dozen companies over a number of segments. It looks like really healthy growth, something that's going to last."

Simon was also encouraged by clean tech's resilience as one of the few industries locally that continued to grow during the recession.

"Throughout the slump, the sector has been growing. It was a bright spot throughout the recession," he said.

Simon expects more of the same in 2013. A particular bright spot is in bio- and alternative fuels, he said, calling it "one of the outstanding growth sectors."

The next step, Simon said, is to make the Sacramento region a destination for clean-technology workers.

"I want to see the continuation of broadly based growth. When we start getting people to move from the Silicon Valley and bring their families with them, that will be the signpost."

Job Journal career fair

Job Journal holds its HIREvent career fair Tuesday in Sacramento.

The free event is from noon to 4 p.m., Crowne Plaza, 5321 Date Ave., near Madison Avenue and Interstate 80.

Job seekers can meet with representatives of local and regional employers and receive free résumé evaluations from employment professionals.

For more information, visit jobjournal.com or call the Job Journal's Job Search Information Line at (888) 843-5627.

Let us hear from you

Is your company hiring? Is your organization hosting a career fair? Is your campus rolling out a job skills program? Contact Job Front at dvsmith@sacbee.com

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Read more articles by Darrell Smith





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