kid gardening

While we’re all hopeful about 2012’s job outlook, it’s safe to state that the overall employment forecast is a bit panic educing. Employable people still have trouble finding work, full-time jobs are scarce, and “layoff” is a word some of us hear far too often. We un and underemployed people can breathe a sigh of semi-relief, though. There are some interesting organizations and programs that are bent on getting enthusiastic people alternative work options.

For the Unemployed

FoodCorps

Alright, unemployed healthy foodies and garden lovers. This organization is for you.

“FoodCorps recruits talented leaders for a year of paid public service building healthy school food environments in high-obesity, limited-resource communities.” — foodcorps.org

FoodCorps members teach children about healthy foods and nutrition, grow food for communities in school gardens with children, and change lunch options while connecting farms and schools.

Participating states include: Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina and Oregon (pending funding in Connecticut and Montana for 2012-2013). The competitive program grants participants a $15,000 living allowance, an education award, health insurance, and more.

AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps is somewhat similar to FoodCorps, but has been around longer (since 1993). It also includes a myriad of varied nonprofit organizations across the United States. There are different types of AmeriCoprs programs and tracks individuals can apply for, but service time is typically a year. Read about positions available and compensation details here.

For the Underemployed

If you’ve got a bit of cash stashed away and still have a part-time job, these supplemental jobs can help cushion your income and possibly jump-start your new career.

Green cleaning business

If you’ve got an eye for detail and a great work ethic, consider beginning a green cleaning business. Start by cleaning family and friends’ homes, and build referrals. Make certain you’re insured and bonded before you launch your business. Promote the business with social media, and by hanging fliers at your local coop and farmers market. Use cleaners that are gentle on the environment (and on living bodies) or make your own. Also: consider educating your clients about green living and energy saving tips. These special touches will help your business stand out.

Green dog walking

This idea may sound bizarre, but there are companies dedicated to taking care of your pooch while respecting the environment. Green dog walkers often use biodegradable bags to pick up a pet’s mess. They also use sustainable transportation to and from clients’ homes, and bill electronically.

For the Restless

When in doubt, go back to school. Consider applying for a master’s degree program in sustainability or environmental law. Follow this link to see just some of the graduate programs that have these types of programs.

image: woodleywonderworks