Workforce Climate Change Literacy: Needs Assessment and Strategy (2016)


In early 2016, the Department of the Interior directed all bureaus to assess workforce climate change literacy and articulate a training strategy for enhancing climate change literacy and capabilities. In response, the National Park Service (NPS) prepared a Workforce Climate Change Literacy: Needs Assessment and Strategy, which came out in late 2016.

The 2016 assessment and strategy builds on two previous surveys, the Intermountain Region Climate Change Training Needs Assessment in 2011 and the Climate Change Interpretation Survey in 2015. Although caution should be exercised in extrapolating the results from these surveys across the entire bureau, they suggest that a concerted effort is required to ensure a basic understanding of climate change is enjoyed equitably across all occupational categories.

What you’ll find

The 2016 Needs Assessment lays out seventeen statements of climate change literacy and capabilities. These statements provide a narrative accounting of the types of climate change knowledge and skills that should be conveyed through training and information exchange. The document then lays out a table that pairs the statements of literacy with occupational categories, to indicate the basic literacies and capabilities that are desirable for employees in various career fields.

The training strategy laid out in the needs assessment acknowledges that climate change is a dynamic issue, and that employees will need to consider the implications of climate change throughout their careers. The strategy also acknowledges that efforts to enhance climate change literacy must be holistic and interdisciplinary. As a logical extension of the training continuum, the NPS will cultivate communities of practice that support response efforts through ongoing dialogue and collaboration.

The report presents an inventory of current climate change literacy offerings throughout the park service. It recommends further review of needs assessments and training strategies across the Department, and compilation of a full account of all current and planned training efforts. Such an inventory will also identify outstanding gaps in current training efforts and provide a direction for future development.

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