These educational programs have created a series of geospatial workforce curricula composed of professional GIS and remote sensing applications, targeted data, and tailored lessons and classroom support materials.

ESRI and two of its partners, Digital Quest, Inc. (DQI), of Ridgeland, Miss., and Berkeley Geo-Research Group (BGRG) of Orinda, Calif., are combining efforts to expand the educational programs that answer the needs of the quickly growing geospatial workforce. The results of these efforts are receiving recognition in key national geospatial workforce initiatives.

DQI and BGRG have created a series of geospatial workforce curricula-SPACE, STARS, and GEODESY-all contained under a general banner of SPACESTARS. These educational packages are more than tutorials; they are composed of professional GIS and remote sensing applications, targeted data, and tailored lessons and classroom support materials. ESRI software, including ArcView, Spatial Analyst, and 3D Analyst, and key ESRI Press books provide the GIS foundation.

The course of study is central to these geospatial workforce development packages. The DQI-BGRG team crafted turnkey curricula/data combinations. Some are tied to the educational institution's specific county, making the research and evaluation tailored to specific needs. Others employ GIS data for significant geographic locations, focusing on critical application topics including homeland security, economic development, and law enforcement.

The quality and importance of SPACESTARS to the growing geospatial career dialog have garnered praise from two programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor-the Geospatial Technician Apprentice Program (GTAP) and the U.S. Job Corps. GTAP, an endeavor in support of the President's High-Growth Job Training Initiative, is guided by the Department of Labor and developed by the Geospatial Workforce Development Center at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM).

The Geospatial Technology Competency Model identifies key areas of geospatial knowledge and skills. SPACESTARS content has been designed around this model from inception.

Earlier this year, the MTC Institute of Centerville, Utah, which manages 25 of the 120 Job Corps centers across the country for the U.S. Department of Labor, released a report focused on training programs tied to High-Growth Job Training Initiative industry sectors. The document entitled Industry- Recognized Certificate Programs and Job Corps identified the geospatial industry as one of these sectors. SPACESTARS was the lone program MTC endorsed in this category.

Source: ESRI, Dec. 8, 2004

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