Statement on Education and Workforce Development

Geoscience professionals contribute to national security by helping the public and policymakers understand and respond to natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis, as well as develop and implement advanced methods to locate, extract and use essential natural resources such as oil, natural gas, minerals and groundwater.

Today the seismological and geoscience workforces must grow to meet the increasing demand for their expertise. Bureau of Labor Statistics data analyzed by the American Geosciences Institute projects a shortage of nearly 100,000 geoscientists by 2024, while the number of jobs for geologists and geophysicists will increase by 21 percent from 2010 to 2020.

Robust investment in federal programs that support education and career opportunities in the geosciences helps create global leaders in the field.

The National Science Foundation Geosciences Directorate provides approximately 64 percent of all federal funding for geoscience graduate students at academic institutions in the U.S.[1] These students will serve as the next generation of highly skilled geoscientists entrusted with protecting our communities from natural hazards and sustainably leveraging Earth’s resources to benefit society.

Additional resources such as the United States Geological Survey’s Earthquake Hazards Program, which provides external grants to support earthquake research, also are key to preparing the next generation of scientists.

The Seismological Society of America urges Congress to fully fund these federal geoscience programs to ensure that a robust workforce will be in place to serve the future economic prosperity, security and safety of our nation.

The Seismological Society of America (SSA) fosters the future of earthquake science and seismology by forging connections among scientists and professionals, facilitating and recognizing excellence in the field and raising public awareness of the science and the value to society.

[1] National Science Foundation – www.nsf.gov/geo/about.jsp

Approved by the SSA Board of Directors, February 2018