Environmental Literacy and Workforce Development (ELWD)

The scientific, technical and communication skills needed to address the daunting environmental challenges confronting our nation are critical to developing a national workforce capacity. The Congressional report, Rising above the Gathering Storm, states that building a workforce literate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is crucial to maintaining America’s competitiveness in a rapidly changing global economy. These skills are also necessary to advance cutting-edge research and to promote enhanced resource management. In recognition of these needs, the America COMPETES Act 11 mandates that NOAA build on its historic role in stimulating excellence in the advancement of ocean and atmospheric science and engineering disciplines. The Act also mandates that NOAA provide opportunities and incentives for the pursuit of academic studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Workforce needs are reflected in the broader science and technology communities of both the private and public sectors with whom Texas Sea Grant works to fulfill its mission.

An environmentally literate person is someone who has a fundamental understanding of the systems of the natural world and the relationships and interactions between the natural and built environment and the ability to understand and use scientific evidence to make informed decisions regarding environmental issues. These issues involve uncertainty and require the consideration of economic, aesthetic, cultural and ethical values.