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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Expanded Workforce Development Opportunities are Needed for Transportation Sector Climate Adaptation Professionals

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Early investments in climate change research, policy, and planning focused heavily on climate mitigation—efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Adaptation initiatives are essential to the resilience of the transportation system in the face of increasingly severe climate threats; the failure to adapt will result in repair and recovery efforts absorbing an ever-increasing share of limited transportation resources. The growing emphasis on climate adaptation has created a demand for professionals with a new, interdisciplinary skillset. However, the pathways for developing the skills and competencies for adaptation careers in the transportation field are not well established. The knowledge base for climate adaptation is changing rapidly and the climate adaptation process itself is inherently complex. Training and educational opportunities in climate adaptation are increasing, but remain relatively limited. To understand current climate adaptation workforce development needs, researchers at the University of Vermont surveyed state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations about training needs and opportunities at their agencies and analyzed a survey issued by the American Society of Adaptation Professionals as part of their mentorship program. The researchers also catalogued climate adaptation graduate and certificate programs at universities around the country to assess whether these programs aligned with identified needs.

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