With rising college tuition and uncertainty of the return of investment in higher education, it has become increasingly important to prepare students with marketable skills for the workforce and arm them with the tools to secure employment. Online education and Professional Science Master’s programs often try to address the deficiencies graduates face when seeking employment, but these strategies aren’t always widely accepted within traditional academic programs. The geosciences, like other STEM fields, present a plethora of diverse career opportunities for graduates with a variety of vocational interests. Unfortunately, traditional geoscience programs struggle to appropriately develop effective strategies that prepare students for transitioning into the workforce. The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) Workforce Program is dedicated to understanding the complex dynamics of the geoscience workforce, and developing programs and resources for faculty, administrators, students, graduates and early-career professionals to address the challenges of the student-to-professional transition.
One strategy for preparing faculty and non-academic professionals to discuss geoscience career opportunities is called the Preparing our Workforce (POW) initiative. POW provides an asynchronous online course designed to provide information about careers and strategies for equipping students and graduates with the appropriate toolset to secure employment. Additionally, AGI is dedicated to increasing the visibility of and access to geoscience careers and professionals through networking lunches, web resources and research studies. AGI’s most recent study partnered with the Association of American Geographers (AAG) to investigate which skills and competencies are taught within non-PhD preparatory Master’s programs, and which of these competencies are most important within the geoscience workforce. A full report of these data was published in late summer and resources for assessing the preparedness of students within Master’s programs were developed to help faculty and administrators align their efforts with employer needs. Finally, data regarding employment opportunities, internships, and career goals will be presented.
- Geological Society of America Annual Meeting 2015