Is studying sustainabilty worth it?

Unity College  has an academic focus on sustainability science.  Will this get you a job?  You bet!

See the excerpts from an article below posted from Greenbuzz.

According to Marsha Willard, executive director of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals and CEO of Axis Performance Advisors, the value of a sustainability degree is “increasing as each day passes.”

“The field of sustainability is still fairly new,” she said. “When job titles started showing up 20 years ago, most of us who were working in the area at the time came to the profession from a disparate set of backgrounds; there were people who were environmentalists, architects, organizational development specialists … there were a bevy of skill sets. That collective perspective created a pretty rich foundation for the field, but since that time, it’s no longer enough to have a degree in organizational development, environmental studies or engineering. It doesn’t sound specific enough. And higher education has responded by offering more degrees that have sustainability in the title.”

Research also reveals increasing interest in sustainability-focused higher education. Last year, Net Impact — a nonprofit membership organization for students and professionals working in the sustainability field — released the Business as Unusual Guide 2013 (PDF). Net Impact’s research found that making an environmental and social impact through business has gone from “nice to have” to “must have” for prospective graduate business students. A full 91 percent of 3,300 graduate students reported that social and environmental issues are very important or essential to business’s long-term success, and 85 percent said they wanted to tackle these issues while in graduate school.

Stats from the Business as Unusual Guide 2013 show an increased interest in sustainability. (Credit: Net Impact)

For those looking to take on these important issues, a sustainability education make a lot of sense. The best programs offer targeted training, experiential learning, networking opportunities and, of course, “proof” to prospective job prospects that a core base of knowledge in sustainability has been attained.

Real world experience vs. academic training

One common critique of sustainability degrees is that they focus too much on academia and not enough on the kind of hands-on experience essential for success in the sustainable business world. So it’s often critical to seek out programs that mix in a healthy amount of on-the-ground learning with academic knowledge.

“Working in the field is a key part of becoming a sustainability leader. No doubt. After all, the laboratory for sustainability is the world and success is measured in the real world,” Basile said. “But this is definitely not an either/or. This is all about ‘and.'”

The value of  sustainability

As sustainability becomes an increasingly prevalent part of the business world, it stands to reason that the value of sustainability programs will continue to grow. “We’ve never heard anyone say that having a sustainability-related degree hurt them,” said Ray Berardinelli, marketing director for ISSP. “As more and more sustainability programs are created inside organizations, it can only help to have such credentials.”

 

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