Cultivating the Next Generation Geoscience Workforce: The View from NSF
The commitment to workforce development in the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) at NSF extends beyond the familiar tradition of support for the training of graduate students and post-doctoral researchers to embrace geoscience education reform at the undergraduate and pre-college levels, as well as active outreach to the public. GEO supports innovative projects that both strengthen the quality of, and access to, geoscience education at all grade levels and facilitate the participation of different audiences in scientific endeavors. Specific focus areas include: creating an effective and knowledgeable geoscience K-12 teacher workforce; providing meaningful research experiences for K-12 and undergraduate students; building capacity in the geosciences at Minority Serving Institutions; conducting research on effective geoscience education practices; preparing a diverse and capable workforce that can pursue the wide variety of geoscience career paths; and, increasing opportunities for learning about the geosciences and NSF supported research in these fields. The next generation geoscience workforce will need the skills to be able to operate in an increasingly interdisciplinary, international, and technologically sophisticated environment. To nurture and sustain a healthy workforce, multiple approaches must be taken. Programs that support individual participation in education and research efforts are as important as those that support partnerships among several institutions.