New Minds for New Science: The Forecast for Work in Weather, Water, and Climate.

The American Meteorological Society’s Policy Program is hosting a workshop here in Washington, DC, on April 29th-30th, examining the future of work in weather, water and climate. You can (and should!) register here.

Andy Miller, an AMS Policy Fellow, has organized the workshop. On the AMS workshop website, he’s articulated the rationale as follows:
As society goes through a period of rapid technological and societal change, only a small fraction of the current workforce is trained to take full advantage of machine learning, quantum computing, next generation satellites, and new sensor technologies. That same workforce, if it is to benefit society, must also master the formidable array of social skills needed to build diversity and inclusion, foster effective teamwork, and collaborate with outside groups. There is tremendous opportunity to advance weather, water, and climate science and apply the resulting information for the benefit of society in the coming decades. To meet these demands, our workforce must evolve.
However, employers face challenges in attracting sufficient talent in these developing fields, in part because students and early career scientists struggle to receive adequate training. At the same time, large numbers of government employees are expected to retire over the next ten years leaving leadership with the task to replace experience with the skill set required for decades to come. As societal demands on our community become enhanced, we must navigate a complex landscape in workforce evolution while increasing participation of women and minorities, striving to improve education at all levels and aligning incentives of career development with workforce need

Andy tells us the 1.5 days will focus on 3 topics:

  1. How will new technologies affect society and the workforce overall?
  2. How will these changes translate to the Weather, Water and Climate community?
  3. How do these changes affect the knowledge, abilities and skills required to succeed in our community?

Our discussions with leaders at federal agencies, corporations, and academic institutions over the past several months show these to be existential concerns. Ask these executives and policy officials to identify the biggest challenge posed by climate change, by natural hazards, and sustainable development? They’re likely to put workforce recruitment, development and retention first – ahead of budget constraints, ahead of convincing skeptical political leaders or oblivious publics to see such needs, ahead of any single gap in scientific understanding or technological capability. The right workforce can address all these. But if the brainpower and the passion and the diversity aren’t there, if the appetite and talent for collaboration and putting science into practice is lacking – then every aspiration of environmental intelligence and its use to benefit society is compromised.

Ask yourself: do you want your views on these issues to be heard? Do you want a chance to shape public-, corporate-, and academic policy governing the working environment you’ll encounter for the rest of your career? Do you want to tailor your workplace for maximum effectiveness and job satisfaction? Or are you content to let others make these decisions for you? If the former, then please register, and we’ll look forward to seeing you, listening to you, and working with you on April 29th-30th.

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