A message from USGIF CEO, Ronda Schrenk
Dear USGIF Community,
As the CEO of USGIF, I am proud to lead an organization that is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the geospatial intelligence workforce. We believe that a diverse workforce is essential to our success as an industry. We are committed to reaching the next generation of geospatial professionals during their middle school and high school years.
Why is diversity so important in the geospatial intelligence industry? First and foremost, a diverse workforce brings a variety of perspectives and experiences to the table. This diversity of thought leads to better decision-making and problem-solving, which is critical in an industry that is constantly evolving and facing new challenges.
In addition, a diverse workforce is essential to ensure that we can meet the needs of our national security mission. Our community comes from a variety of backgrounds and cultures; we must have a workforce that reflects this diversity, so we provide the best possible solutions.
So how do we reach the next generation of geospatial professionals during their middle school and high school years? One of the key ways is through education and outreach programs. We need to work with schools and community organizations to provide students with opportunities to learn about geospatial intelligence and the many career paths that are available in this field.
We also need to make sure that we are reaching out to students from diverse backgrounds. We must work with organizations that serve underrepresented communities and provide scholarships and other opportunities to help these students pursue careers in geospatial intelligence.
USGIF showed our commitment to students from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented communities during our recent GEOINT Symposium in St. Louis. We hosted a cohort of local high school students who are participating in the “Entry to Executive” Program in geospatial studies. This program is a partnership between USGIF and Gateway Global American Youth and Business Alliance Academies.
High school students from across St. Louis who complete the program receive a certificate from the Geospatial Technician Program with Emphasis on Geospatial Intelligence. This certificate demonstrates to potential employers that the students have mastered the basics of geospatial knowledge and are ready for entry-level positions. In less than two years, 30 students have received these certificates. Gateway Global and USGIF are committed to the continuing success of this effort to create opportunities in the geospatial industry for students from diverse backgrounds.
Finally, we need to make sure that we are creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all geospatial professionals. This means promoting diversity and inclusion at all levels of our organizations, from the leadership team to the entry-level positions. We need to make sure that everyone feels valued and respected, regardless of their background or identity.
Thank you for your continued support of USGIF and our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Chief Executive Officer
USGIF | United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation