Standard Occupational Classification

Response to Comment on 2010 SOC:
Docket Number 08-0492, 08-0762, and 08-1157

Docket Nos. 08-0492, 08-0762, and 08-1157 requested the SOCPC create a number of new "green" detailed occupations related to alternative energy or "green" technologies. The SOCPC concurred with the recommendation to add the new detailed occupations Wind Turbine Service Technicians (49-9081) and Solar Photovoltaic Installers (47-2231), based on Classification Principle 2 which states that occupations are classified based on work performed and Classification Principle 9 on collectability. Workers in both of these occupations perform tasks that are sufficiently distinct from tasks in existing SOC occupations and are concentrated in a small number of industries.

The SOCPC carefully analyzed over 80 unique suggestions regarding "green" occupations and considered these recommendations from the perspective of the classification principles of the SOC. The SOCPC frequently found that the work performed by a proposed "green" job was already covered by the description of an existing SOC occupation. For example, the work performed by Solar Photovoltaic Electricians is not sufficiently distinct from the work of 47-2111 Electricians. Therefore Solar Photovoltaic Electricians should be classified in 47-2111. The SOC system does not distinguish between workers performing similar duties in different industries. Some recommendations were not accepted based on Classification Principle 1 which states that occupations are assigned to only one occupational category and Classification Principle 2 which states that occupations are classified based on work performed. In these cases, the recommendation described specialized functions or tasks performed by workers in several SOC occupations, or distinguished the job from current SOC occupations based on educational background rather than tasks. This is inconsistent with the SOC, which is task-based.

In other cases, recommendations were not accepted based on Classification Principle 9 which states that for a detailed occupation to be included in the SOC, either the Bureau of Labor Statistics or the Census Bureau must be able to collect and report data on that occupation. In some instances, the quantity of workers performing "green" tasks as their primary activity is not substantial enough to support a new detailed occupation. For other recommendations, the recommended occupations were so dispersed throughout the economy that it would be difficult to reliably collect and report data.

If a job title was not accepted as a separate SOC occupation, the SOCPC then considered whether to include it in the Direct Match Title File. The SOCPC agreed to add various "green" job titles to the Direct Match Title File, including Environmental Economists, Hybrid Vehicle Mechanics, Environmental Communications Specialists, Wind Turbine Erectors, and Wind Turbine Mechanics.

In some cases, the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) Data Collection Program, supported by the Employment and Training Administration, is able to collect descriptive information, including tasks, knowledge, skills, and abilities on occupations that may not meet Classification Principle 9. These occupations are identified as O*NET breakouts within the SOC structure or O*NET New and Emerging Occupations, typically from a SOC residual occupation. The O*NET program successfully collects descriptive information on these types of occupations, including information that can be used to indicate how they differ from existing SOC occupations. Some of the "green" occupations that were recommended, or occupations with similar titles, have been identified for collection as O*NET New and Emerging Occupations.

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Last Modified Date: June 22, 2009

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