One year out from the financial crash, the economy is just beginning to get its head above water. Students, like many Americans, are nervous about the prospect of finding jobs. To assist with this, the Monterey Institute chapter of Net Impact hosted a panel discussion on Friday, November 20 where students planning on going into the field of energy and climate change policy received advice from Institute graduates and others working in this dynamic area. Panelist included: Elisabeth Russell, special projects manager at Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments; Lacey Raak, program coordinator for the City of Monterey; Jacqueline Gaskill, associate energy specialist at the California Energy Commission; Scott Hernandez, energy and climate change specialist for the Association of California Water Agencies, and Justin Roth, program analyst at the Center for Resource Solutions.
The panel opened with the members introducing themselves and their jobs before moving on to advice ranging from what classes to take at the Institute to interviewing techniques. While the panelists represented very different organizations common themes came through in their advice. All spoke of the necessity of being flexible, staying positive, and viewing any job as a learning experience instead of trying to narrowly focus on a career job straight out of school. They implored the students to find internships and volunteer positions that could lead to jobs in the future, to arrange informational interviews with potential employers, and to feel free to work in jobs that are different from their knowledge base but will be valuable learning experiences and that could lead them into a new field. The economy is rough, they cautioned, but that is no reason to despair, there are jobs out there.