2003 Seattle Annual Meeting (November 2–5, 2003)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM


SUITER, Marilyn J., EHR Human Resource Development Div, National Sci Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22230 and TABER, Richard M., Corporation/Foundation Relations -- Div. of Undergraduate Education, National Sci Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd Rm 835N, Arlington, VA 22230, msuiter@nsf.gov

Interaction between employers and college/university educators is critical to coordinate the appropriate preparation of students for the science and technology workforce. Such coordination should further facilitate the technology transfer of S&T advances that are generated in industry, which must be transferred effectively to college and university classrooms. Coordination would also help to ensure that faculty and student skill development keeps pace with the workplace for appropriate workforce preparation to occur in higher education.

Further, for industry to operate effectively in the global marketplace, the full and equitable participation of all qualified Americans seems necessary. However, demographic workforce data shows that there are still barriers that limit the number of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities seeking and retaining S&T jobs. Identification and eradication of pertinent barriers should be explored.

Exploring the industry-academia connection in workforce and education may provide helpful strategies toward developing a capable and sufficient S&T labor pool. It also seems useful to share examples of training methods/programs and of collaborations that lead to workforce-ready graduates, and information on non-traditional employment sectors for geoscience graduates.

We hope to build on the excellent session held in 2002 that provided a range of information including basic data on the geoscience workforce as well as perspectives from university-based programs that include employers - from industry to state surveys to K-12 and higher education teaching systems - in curriculum development.

It is hoped that the dialog will lead to enrichment of educational programs in S&T with respect to industry needs, and increase the employment success of the individuals (successful recruitment and workforce retention), as well as ensuring the national/global competitiveness of the American S&T workforce.

Sufficient community interest could lead to further activities such as better determination of the numbers and types of similar programs, a "best practices" and "recommended avoidances" compilation by those engaged in these activities, and perhaps longitudinal tracking of the career paths of a sample set of students graduating from such programs as they move through (geoscience) employment.