Presentation on theme: "The Rationale In the past two decades, we have seen a shift in the employment opportunities for recent geoscience graduates, especially at the Bachelors’"— Presentation transcript:
The Rationale In the past two decades, we have seen a shift in the employment opportunities for recent geoscience graduates, especially at the Bachelors’ and Masters’ degree levels. Twenty years ago, most of the jobs for geologists were in the oil/gas and minerals industries, but through the 1980s and 1990s and up to today, the number of jobs for geologists in the “environmental industry” has steadily increased. The graphs below, from the AGI’s “2001 Report on the Status of Academic Geoscience Departments” show that environmental consulting firms are the largest reported employer of geoscientists that graduated in 1999 and 2001 with either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. A recent survey of 1358 geoscience students at all levels also indicated that the environmental industry is by far the most preferred sector by students pursuing Bachelor’s degrees (69%) and the third most preferred (61%) employment sector after state/local (67%) and federal (67%) government jobs (Baker, Report GW-06-002 for the American Geological Institute). Many geoscience departments have responded to this trend by adding courses in environmental geology, hydrogeology, and even contaminant geochemistry or shallow subsurface geophysics, all of which help our students prepare for future employment, in addition to expanding their knowledge of geology. At Alfred University, we took this a step further in the mid 1990s and began offering a specialized course in Hazardous Materials for geoscience, environmental studies, and other related majors. This course culminates in certification under 29 CFR 1910.120 (e) (3), also known as the “40 hour” OSHA Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) training. This training and subsequent certification is, at the very least, desired by employers and usually required for jobs, even summer jobs and internships, in the environmental industry. Some examples of job advertisements are given below. Employment Trends of Master’s, 1999 and 2001 (From AGI, 2001 Report on the Status of Academic Geoscience Departments, p.4) ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGIST/SCIENTIST (Boston, MA) Participate in site assessments, site investigations and regulatory compliance projects. Conduct soil and groundwater sampling. B.A. or M.S. degree in geoscience discipline, strong writing and verbal skills, 40- hour H&S Certification required and one year field experience preferred. Employment Trends of Bachelor’s, 1999 and 2001 (From AGI, 2001 Report on the Status of Academic Geoscience Departments, p.4) FIELD SCIENTIST Marin Environmental, Inc. seeks a field scientist to perform ground water and soil sampling duties and complete environmental field investigation. … A.S. or B.S. degree in environmental or related sciences, or the equivalent of 2 years work related experience. Strong written and verbal communication skills, strong mechanical skills and basic knowledge of construction field desired. 40-hour OSHA certification is a plus. Entry-level Hydrogeologist/Geologist : 9441 : Experience Requirements: Bachelor's Degree in geology or hydrogeology, and zero to three years experience in the work described in the job responsibilities section. 40-hour OSHA 1910.120 Hazardous Waste Training Certification is desired but not required. Experience with groundwater computer modeling, and/or knowledge of GIS desired but not required.
Who takes the course? The course is taken by students from a range of programs across the university. Although originally developed for geoscience and environmental studies majors, the course is now routinely taken by faculty and technical staff as well as students majoring in Art Biology Chemistry Business Engineering Geoscience Environmental Studies/Science Who teaches the course? The course was first taught by a group of faculty with expertise in different fields. Now, we have the safety officer from a nearby industry who is a certified health and safety professional and member of the county HAZMAT team. Enrollments, details, etc. Our typical enrollments are 25-35 students/semester. We have had as many as 65 students in the course in one semester. We teach the 40-hour, 3-credit hour course every other year. In alternate years, we teach an 8-hour refresher, required to keep OSHA certification valid. Has it helped? Yes, we think so. We have had many students tell us that the course and subsequent certification have made the difference between getting a summer or permanent job or not. Employers have told us the same thing. In addition to the obvious benefits of helping students get jobs or summer internships, the course is extremely beneficial to anyone who deals with chemicals or other hazardous materials, in the laboratory or the field. Because of this, we are glad that almost all of our students take this course voluntarily (we don’t require it) and we feel more comfortable with them in lab and field situations.