Welcome to Mind the Gap, a worshop Promote Educating the Next Generation of Atmospheric Scientists for Industry Needs

Mind the Gap

Why a Workshop?

Weather, water, and climate impact nearly every sector of the economy and nearly every citizen of the United States. In an effort to meet the changing needs and concerns of all sectors in the Weather, Water, and Climate Enterprise, synergistic linkages between government entities, private sector organizations, and universities have developed and grown over the last several decades.


Schematic representation of the diverse career options and their intersections. Credit: Bachelor's Degree in Atmospheric Science, An Information Statement of the American Meteorological Society

Recent analyses suggest that jobs in atmospheric science will grow at a faster rate than the average for all occupations between 2016–2026 (e.g., Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016). More specifically, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016) job outlook for atmospheric scientists highlights that the “best job prospects for meteorologists are expected to be in private industry.”

In many meteorology and atmospheric science programs, students interested in private sector careers experience a gap between the curricular examples and pedagogical tools they see, and the skills/background needed for employment. The 2019 NSF-sponsored workshop titled “Mind the Gap” developed a set of recommendations to address this gap. One key recommendation was to develop pedagogical tools or modules that could be implemented in preexisting atmospheric science core courses to be designed in partnership with relevant private and academic sector representatives and to be integrated into existing course syllabi, preferentially in core courses identified by the AMS standards.

This workshop will facilitate collaboration between academia and the private sector to develop pedagogical modules, tools, and datasets to promote future innovations within the weather, water, and climate enterprise. Specifically, this workshop will focus on undergraduate education, but might be suitable for cross listed undergraduate/graduate level coursework.

Key Workshop Outcomes

A PDF summary of the workshop goals and outcomes is available here

Key takeaways in addressing the gap:

  • Core skills: Greater emphasis on skills beyond traditional dynamics/forecasting
    • Statistics (including extremes), programming (python) and version control (github)
    • Amenable to teaching in a traditional classroom setting
  • Workplace skills: Greater and explicit curricular emphasis on functional skills for a valuable and productive team member
    • Communication to wide ranges of audience (from specialist to layperson), resourcefulness, time management, co-production and collaboration.
    • Best developed via simulating real-world job environments in which students must answer open-ended questions to solve real-world problems. Student leadership and ownership, responding to feedback, and overcoming obstacles and failures. Can be integrated into all courses from short to long formats.
  • MtG2Group photo

    The participants of the 2nd Mind the Gap Workshop at the University at Albany in Albany, NY in June 2022.
  • Current NOAA curriculum requirements (“1340 series”) is focused on forecasting and other traditional meteorology roles. The modern job market encompasses a wide range of career options that are sometimes poorly-served by this track. There is a need to consider additional/broader track options that expand on skills outside of traditional dynamics/forecasting. The AMS curriculum standards are somewhat more flexible than NOAA’s, but may also require additional broadening.
  • Need to increase student awareness of industry opportunities at all levels, starting with incoming students. Opportunity for AMS to organize career videos into an introductory career development short course that could be rapidly and widely adopted by departments.
  • Accessible community hub of teaching resources (e.g. modules) to reduce barriers for faculty to fill these gaps in their classrooms

Mind the Gap Workshop Impacts:

  • Summer 2022: Mind the Gap Committee worked with AMS staff to develop a survey for private sector professionals, results include >150 responses to document 'the gap'
  • Aug 2022: MtG2 participants leading the contribution to updating the AMS Information Statement on Bachelor's Degree in Atmospheric Science.
  • Aug 2022: MtG2 participants lead new NSF-funded COMET Modules: Scenario-based COMET Training for Careers in the Weather, Water and Climate Industry.
  • Fall 2022: MtG2 participants leading the development on an AMS Best Practice Statement on Preparing Students for Careers in the Private Sector.
  • Fall 2022: MtG2 faculty plan to implement workshop themes into Fall semester courses
  • Fall 2022: The AMS Mind the Gap Committee move from Ad-Hoc to Full committee status

Key Workshop Goals

The 2nd Mind the Gap workshop is bringing together representatives from the Private Sector & Academia to:

  1. Categorize curriculum gaps and the associated weak skills that lead to the lack of preparation for students pursuing careers in the private sector;
  2. Discuss these gaps to identify appropriate courses and creative pedagogical solutions to close the gaps;
  3. Create datasets of industry-relevant cases for use in the classroom, applicable across various private sectors;
  4. Create pedagogical materials with learning outcomes that include new skillsets and methodologies valuable in private sector employment for implementations in identified atmospheric science/meteorological courses;
  5. Develop sustainable framework for collaborative projects or data sharing between private sector and academic community;
  6. Promote the usage of and engage the academic community on the development and benefits of the new pedagogical materials in the classroom.

Workshop Logistics

Supported by NSF Award #2146763

Workshop logistics (air/hotel/meals) will be covered via NSF support of this workshop.

Workshop Outline

March–June Pre-workshop

  • Monthly calls with participant workshop prep action items
    • March: Introduction to workshop, the participants, our online workspace
    • April: Categorize curriculum gaps and the associated weak skills that lead to the lack of preparation for students pursuing careers in the private sector; Action item: Develop themes and working group ideas
    • May: Discuss these gaps to identify appropriate courses and creative pedogeological solutions to close the gaps by sector;Action item: create data-gathering working groups (e.g., curriculum/syllabus data, energy sector data, agriculture sector data; transportation sector data, etc.)
    • June: Continue discussion from May, report on working group data collection; Action item: create sharable/well documented data for use during the workshop.

Wednesday, June 15, begin at 8:30 AM

  • Review of Workshop Goals and Outcomes
  • Private Sector Panel
  • Academic Programs Panel
  • Breakout Sessions
  • Evening Reception (outside of NSF funds)

Thursday, June 16, begin at 8:45 AM

  • Progress Discussions
  • Addressing the Issues: Working groups
  • Reviewing Concepts: Working groups

Friday, July 17, begin at 8:45 AM

  • Half Day–done by lunch
  • Implementation Planning

Mind the Gap

Dates: June 15-17, 2022

Location: University at Albany, SUNY in Albany, NY

Workshop Sponsors


UAlbany logo

AMS logo

Millersville logo

CWG logo

Event Sponsors:
NSF | University at Albany
Millersville University | AMS | The Commodity Weather Group

Participant Sponsors:
Amazon  | Penn State University  | IBM Research
Purdue University  | St. Cloud State University
Texas A&M University  | The Demex Group
The Weather Channel Television Network  | UCAR/COMET
University of Oklahoma  | University of South Alabama
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee  | Yarker Consulting

The Organizing Committee

Stephen Bennett, The Demex Group
Heidi Centola,The Weather Company, IBM Watson IoT
Dr. Victor Gensini, Northern Illinois University
Dr. Sue Ellen Haupt, NCAR
Dr. Andrea Lopez Lang, University at Albany, SUNY
Max Vido, ACES Power

Workshop Format

Engaging and Interactive Sessions
Small Group Discussion & Breakout Sessions
Course Materials Development
Invited Speakers
Estimated 70 workshop participants
Evening Reception