Recently, MSNBC aired a story (http://tinyurl.com/lgney9c) featuring Alex Trebek, host of the television game show “Jeopardy,” pointing to the neglect geography education is afforded in the United States. Geography is one of the nine core subjects listed in the No Child Left Behind Act, but it is the only one that has been unfunded.
The news story discussed why geography is important to an informed and engaged society. To those of us in the geospatial profession, basic geography education is an essential foundation to encouraging young people to enter the workforce in surveying, photogrammetry, GIS and other disciplines in our field.
As the incoming president of MAPPS, the association of private sector geospatial firms, I am deeply concerned about future workforce development. This is an issue on which I hope to focus a considerable amount of my attention as president.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the anticipated demand for surveyors over the current decade is 24,200 new jobs, representing a growth rate of 28 percent. That is more than double the BLS average projected growth rate for all occupations. Through 2020, another 30,000 new jobs for geodesists and photogrammetrists will need to be filled.
Geography and geospatial technologies, which include surveying, are often missing from identified science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs. The Obama administration proposal “A Blueprint for Reform,” to revise the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and replace the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind Act, does not include the words “geography,” “geospatial” or “surveying”.
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