SS 27
Upgrading and Expanding the ESA Certification Program to Meet Ecology Workforce Needs in the 21st Century

Thursday, August 13, 2015: 11:30 AM-1:15 PM
308, Baltimore Convention Center
Carmen R. Cid, Eastern Connecticut State University
Linda Heath, USDA Forest Service; and Janet S. Macfall, Elon University
The ESA Certification Program was established in 1981 and has been primarily utilized by environmental consultants, representatives from government agencies and a few academics who work with the general public to address local and regional environmental concerns. In 2014, ESA appointed a review committee to evaluate and recommend how to upgrade the current ESA Certification Program to make it more responsive to the professional development needs of ESA members and emerging ecology careers. Because the academic training and the skills needed by ecologists in the current workforce are quite varied, ESA needs to have standards of practice for evaluating ecologists’ skills in relation to specific environmental problem-solving, and to provide the ESA community with state-of-the-art ecological professional development opportunities to meet new global and local environmental challenges. This session will engage a panel of ecological practitioners from academic, government agency and environmental consulting fields to discuss what the ESA Certification program needs to do to meet the ecological professional training needs of the 21st century workforce and the importance of the ESA Code of Ethics in the process. The panel members will provide comparison of the current ESA Certification program with that of other professional science societies. They will engage the audience in developing a list of the job skills and professional development resources they now need to qualify for current ecology jobs that will then be used in upgrading the ESA ecological workforce training activities at the annual meeting and online ESA resources.
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