Preparing for the Geoscience Workforce–Career Pathways

The Geosciences have the lowest representation of people from underrepresented groups of any of the STEM disciplines (Minority Participation in University Programs, AGI Currents #30, 2010). Part of the solution can be found in the need for a broad-based marketing campaign to advertise the career possibilities in the Geosciences. The American Geosciences Institute Status of the Geoscience Workforce 2014 Report documents an extended growth of 10-30% for geoscientists (depending on sub-discipline) into the next decade. This information should be made broadly accessible to high school teachers and counselors, STEM faculty in 2YCs, to parents, and to the general public. It is also important to understand the career aspirations and motivations of today's students, and to be able to demonstrate how the Geosciences can lead to a personally fulfilling career.

We have adopted the American Geosciences Institute 's (AGI) working definition of "the geosciences" as explained in Appendix A of the Status of the Geoscience Workforce 2014 report.

"To promote pathways to STEM careers for non-traditional students, the Federal Government should provide current and comprehensive data on STEM jobs. Today, public and private employers of STEM professionals lack data about the skills, choices, and availability of STEM workers" (PCAST Executive Summary). However, in the geosciences, data on projected workforce needs and the skills required to be successful in geoscience careers are available from a number of sources:

Articles on Preparation for Workforce

  • Michael Solem, Aurelia Kollasch, Jenny Lee, Career goals, pathways and competencies of geography graduate students in the USA, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 2013, 37, 1, 92.
  • Stipanovic, N., Lewis, M. V., & Stringfield, S. (2012). Situating programs of study within current and historical career and technical educational reform efforts. International Journal of Educational Reform, 21(2), 80-97.
  • Thompson, A., McDaniel, W.L., James, J., Peeler, C., & Hollifield, S. (2013). The Future of Course Work: Customizing Community College Curricula to Meet Industrial Needs.