What The Emergence of Social Media Can Teach Us About the Future of the Bioeconomy

May. 9, 2018

The first official social media platform was launched in 1997. Back then, if a person told you that they were going to work in the social media industry, you would probably look at them like they were crazy. Flash-forward 20 years, social media has infiltrated every part of our lives and has proven to be a lucrative industry. It’s hard to say what trends will influence industry careers 20 years from now, but there is no doubt that the bioeconomy will have a significant role to play.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Billion-Ton Study, by the year 2030, the United States has the potential to produce 1 billion tons of biomass annually. If this potential is realized, the American bioeconomy will grow significantly, along with all of its related careers. The U.S. Department of Energy has calculated that producing 1 billion tons of biomass could likely result in the production of 50 billion gallons of biofuels, 50 billion pounds of bioproducts, electricity to power 7 million households, and 1.1 million jobs across a variety of important sectors that contribute $260 billion to the U.S. economy. The future of the bioeconomy is bright, but its potential will never be realized unless we are able to satisfy the growing job market.

Ohio’s manufacturing industry already employs 691,800 people, according to the Ohio Bureau of Labor Market Information. Ohio is a hub for manufacturing and will continue to develop as the bioeconomy does. Of the 1.1 million potential new jobs, many of them will support logistics and transporting goods from the point of manufacturing to the point of consumption. As more farms are producing biomass, there will be a much greater need for qualified transport vehicle operators.

It’s no secret that Ohio has a large agricultural industry, around 14 million acres of Ohio land are dedicated to farm operations. If we are to fulfill the 1 billion tons of biomass we’ve been challenged to produce, Ohio’s agriculture industry is going to need to vastly expand. You will begin to see more specialized, skilled labor positions develop in the agricultural industry, and more people will be producing biomass than ever before. Additionally, you will begin to see a shift in the variety of agricultural commodities produced.

Without specialized manufacturing, the biomass produced by farmers will be useless, but without research and development in the technology sector, the manufacturing could not exist. Although there will be a highly demanding future job market to support the growing bioeconomy, we really need qualified STEM professionals working to develop these technologies of the future.

If you are interested in a highly rewarding career in the bioeconomy, check out the office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy’s career map.

Bioeconomy Basics is a series centered around providing education about the emerging bioeconomy. This article was written by Bradley Collins, OBIC Student Assistant and Senior at The Ohio State University.