- Through a long-term effort with NASA, The University of Southern
Mississippi has received a $1.5 million grant from the Department
of Labor to fund a pilot Geospatial Technology Apprenticeship Program
is a partnership between employers, education and economic development,"
said Dr. Cyndi Gaudet, director of the Geospatial Workforce Development
Center (GeoWDC) at Southern Miss. The pilot program will operate
under the direction of the GeoWDC.
on-the-job training at organizations that have geospatial workforces
such as Lockheed-Martin, Veridian, Resource 21 or any of the companies
involved in the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology at Stennis
Space Center," Gaudet said.
In the program,
participants will attend classes two nights a week while working
full time for a company in the geospatial industry. The grant will
help participants pay for tuition and help them connect their jobs
to GTAP as they work toward a certificate, an associate's degree
or additional certification.
technology industry is an emerging high-growth sector of the U.S.
economy expected to reach more than $21 billion in revenue over
the next few years. Geospatial technologies include remote sensing,
geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems
Among the GTAP's
- To build
on outcomes of NASA's National Workforce Development Education
and Training Initiative
- To establish
geospatial technology apprenticeship standards
- To identify
career paths for the geospatial workforce
- To build
the capacity of community colleges (especially Mississippi Gulf
Coast Community College and Pearl River Community College) to
offer geospatial technology certificate and technician/technology
- To provide
a model for replication throughout the United States
- To measure
the return on GTAP's investment
is a need for people to have this capability beyond the standard,
scientific community," said Dr. Marco Giardino, chief of the
Applications Integration Division of the Earth Science Applications
(ESA) Directorate at Stennis. "The geospatial capability is
not just remote sensing, but is being adopted by numerous types
of industries such as real estate, medicine and auto manufacturing."
"It's becoming a tool everybody's using, like the computer."
The grant confirms
both ESA's confidence in Southern Miss' ability to create a model
for geospatial training and the DOL's confidence in the program's
value, Giardino said.
Dr. David Powe said that NASA's role from the beginning was to develop
the process that highlights the skills needed in the geospatial
workforce. Long ago NASA began working to set up a competency model
that surveyed geospatial companies in the United States, he said.
an understanding of the skills they needed, then identified the
national standards for math, science, technology and geography education.
Then we matched the skills to the education standards, which identified
the gaps between education and the workforce," Powe said.
intended to be a training or educational organization. We developed
this model and are passing it off to the Department of Labor. That's
where Southern Miss comes in."
Powe said there
is an immediate need to fill thousands of positions in the geospatial
industry, with more to come during the next 10 years. "We'll
benefit as the soon as the program begins," he said.
For more information
about the Geospatial Workforce Development Center or about the GTAP,
call Heather Annulis at (601) 266-6827.