The global economy is undergoing a massive transformation as the world adjusts to and seeks to mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis. Across many industries, this transition is already well underway. A recent study showed that renewable energy farms are much more efficient and lower cost than coal plants, GM recently committed to selling only zero emissions vehicles by 2035 and California has mandated that half of all heavy truck sales be electric by 2035.

And it's not just the auto industry. These seismic shifts will only accelerate in coming years, forcing equally large changes in the workforce and skills development. Among other shifts, the U.S. economy will create millions of new green jobs while also making the existing jobs (and the workers in them) greener. Universities, often the slowest institutions to adapt, will need to pivot quickly in order to effectively prepare and train the labor force of the future.

Colleges and universities are traditionally slow to adjust given long lead times for faculty research and an intentionally thoughtful and contemplative approach to change. And, there is no shortage of criticism about academia’s careful pacing. However, given the scale of the challenge and the largely unprecedented transition of our economy, higher education must advance with the seriousness and urgency that this crisis demands.

There are a number of ways in which colleges and universities can take action and lead on this critical issue.

Professors should look to integrate sustainability into business school's curriculum, research and teaching across all academic departments to ensure that every faculty member and student has a strong foundation in sustainability principles and practices.

Administrators should be working on developing specialized degree programs to cater to the growing demand for professionals with expertise in sustainable business practices. And courses should be updating and adapting the offerings regularly to reflect the latest developments in sustainability and ensure that faculty are well-equipped to teach these subjects.

Read the full article about climate jobs gap by David Marchick and Sue Duke at GreenBiz.