Supporting Career Development Through EE
Environmental education (EE) has the potential to spark participants’ interest in and pursuit of an environmental career. Along with creating an environmentally literate citizenry that understands environmental issues and has the skills to make informed decisions in their personal lives, EE can help youth and young adults explore a career in one of the thousands of natural resource professions that support a healthy environment for us all.
Today, the need to connect youth to natural resource job opportunities has never been greater. With jobs in the environmental sector growing and high retirement rates occurring at many natural resource agencies, there is great concern over who will manage our natural resources into the future as the next generation of land managers, wildlife biologists, water resource professionals, and more. Of particular concern is raising awareness about natural resource careers and building the job-readiness skills of groups currently underrepresented in the natural resource field such as ethnic minorities, veterans, urban residents, individuals with disabilities, and those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Environmental education has the ability to reach diverse learners and build awareness about natural resource careers among all populations.
Environmental educators are a key partner in supporting learners in environmental career development. Whether delivering information specific to a natural resource career, or connecting the environmental ethics and skills of learners to any job they pursue, environmental educators are important career influencers in their participants’ lives.
Since 2012, CAEE has co-led the Careers in Natural Resources Initiative with the Colorado Youth Corps Association. The Careers in Natural Resources Initiative is a statewide network of more than 330 individuals representing 110+ government agencies, non-profit organizations, higher education institutions and for-profit businesses who are all working to create stronger pathways to engage youth in natural resource careers.
Working with the Careers in Natural Resources Initiative, CAEE has three goals to support career development through EE:
- To prepare environmental educators to be career influencers.
- To advance career development within environmental education.
- To connect environmental educators to the greater network of natural resource professionals.
Click here to scroll through example goals and strategies for how career development can be incorporated into environmental education for various age groups.
We encourage you to visit the Careers in Natural Resources website for information about the Careers in Natural Resources Initiative, which the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education has co-led since 2012 with the Colorado Youth Corps Association. On that website, you will find information and specific resources for career explorers, job seekers and career influencers.
Our featured resource is the “How-To Guide for Pursuing a Career in Natural Resources,” which CAEE and CYCA wrote and published in 2014 and keep updated every year. This resource helps youth and young adults better understand the range of careers available, the education/training needed to pursue them, and gives guidance on how to search and apply for positions at government agencies.
Our newest resource, GreenPathways.org, is a Colorado-focused resource for high school students by high school students. On the website, visitors can take a green job personality quiz, learn about green jobs, explore educational pathways, connect to local organizations, and find additional resources to help build their pathway to a green career.