ESS dual-degree graduates will find opportunities in the private, public and nonprofit sectors. Private sector opportunities include environmental health and safety, product design, process engineering, engineering consulting firms, research and development labs and entrepreneurial startups. As an example of a targeted corporate opportunity see the General Electric Ecomagination Program.
In the public sector, graduates will find opportunities in government agencies and laboratories such as the National Renewal Energy Lab, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy as well as state departments of transportation and environmental quality. Other potential employers include nonprofit and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as The Environmental Defense Fund and the Union of Concerned Scientist.
“I believe that sustainability is the most important issue business will face in the 21st century. I look at this not just as a challenge, but as an incredible opportunity. If I were in school today, I would pursue a degree in Engineering Sustainable Systems. It builds on the great work being done in engineering and natural resources at the University of Michigan, and it addresses the central challenge of our times.”
–Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company
Typical roles in industry include product and process environmental evaluation, corporate environmental strategic planning, research and development of sustainable technologies, design for the environment, pollution prevention and ISO 14000 compliance. Multinational companies that compete in the European Union and Japan are especially interested in students with these skills due to legislation in these countries requiring strict chemical management, environmental evaluation and producer responsibility for product recycling and re-manufacturing.