Focus 4: Broadening Participation and Workforce Development

Education and workforce development and broadening participation are intertwined

Each member of the senior leadership team is deeply committed to improving the diversity of both AI and ES workforces.  This is shown in our extensive broadening participation and workforce development and outreach plans, where we are reaching out to underrepresented populations from K-12 through community college. 

AI2ES leadership is deeply committed to improving equity and to be inclusive and welcoming to all.  As part of this commitment, we have created a strong Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct for AI2ES members.

AI2ES has three overarching goals for both Broadening Participation and Workforce Development.  These goals aim to increase the opportunities for students of all backgrounds to learn more about AI, environmental science, and AI for environmental science.

  • Build a diverse AI for ES workforce by implementing and evaluating an applied AI for ES curriculum at the Community College Level and pilot test at an HSI/MSI
  • Develop and share AI/ES curriculum for K-20 and workforce retraining
  • Broaden and train AI for ES through targeted internships, mentoring and recruitment.

Del Mar College AI Award

The first goal centers on the design and implementation of a new Community College AI program, being developed at DMC and in conjunction with TAMUCC. The award is designed as a multi entry program for professionals to augment their skills, for high school students as a next step in their education, for direct employment. Plans are for classes to start in the fall of 2021 and help start other such programs around the nation.

The South Texas location of the new Community College AI educational program will contribute to the diversification of the AI workforce and test a model to create an Applied AI workforce along with creating a new educational pipeline. The model will be exported nationwide through a collaboration with the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program of two-year community colleges. AI2ES will work with the directors and principal investigators of ATE national centers to disseminate the new curriculum materials through the networks and workshops. AI2ES will push diversity through its recruiting, hiring, outreach, public events and other communication. AI2ES has ambitious goals for diversity recruitment for its team members and will improve its chances to meet these goals through talks and recruiting through SACNAS, CUAHSI and other conferences and organizations promoting entry into STEM and AI for underrepresented populations in our field. 

AI Award Curriculum

AI Award details

Curriculum of the Del Mark Community College AI Certificate

AI Award is Stackable at DMC

Stackable AI award

The AI certificate is stackable in the community college and university curriculum. 

K-20 and Workforce Retraining

AI2ES is actively developing modules for AI and ES for K-12, as well as tutorials for undergraduate and graduate students and workforce retraining.  Many of our outreach efforts are targeted specifically at women, under-represented minorities, low socioeconomic-status students, and first-generation students.

Our specific goals are to:

  • Develop K-12 education modules for AI & ES and share online
  • Develop and teach K-12 modules to low socioeconomic status, first generation, and URM students
  • Develop and teach AI and trustworthy AI tutorials aimed at undergraduates and graduate students for AI & ES and share online
  • Publish at least 4 tutorial papers and shared data and code on AI for ES
  • Publish at least 3 talks for the NCAR Explorer Series per year after year 1
  • Host public demonstrations of AI for ES at events such as the National Weather Festival, Weather Fest, and NCAR Super Science Saturday.
    • This is on hold until the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are eased.
  • Make targeted partnerships to increase the impact of our education and workforce development modules as well as career training.
  • Develop and share an AI ethics curriculum which includes ES ethics.

Targeted Internships and Mentoring

Our internal mentoring and internships will increase participation and provide research and educational opportunities to US citizens, nationals, and permanent residents, especially women and members of underrepresented groups who are undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, industrial fellows, faculty members from all colleges and universities, and others in the activities of AI2ES and its sub awardees. AI2ES will encourage them to pursue careers in science and engineering and will identify actions that will enhance and ensure ethnic/racial diversity throughout the life of the Institute.  Our specific goals for the internships and mentoring are listed below.

  • Mentor all AI2ES junior faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students.
  • Create internships for AI & ES targeting to URMs in private industry partners
    • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, internships will start in year 2
  • Support and hire SIParCS and SOARS internships every year
  • Hire REU students at all sites and work with existing REU programs such as National Weather Center REU program
  • Support immersive visits for postdoctoral researchers and graduate students
    • This is on hold until the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are eased.