ographers' employment; the displacement of aerospace workers with complementary skills; and economic globalization, which carries the potential for substituting foreign for domestic workers. During the 1980s, the discipline did a phenomenal job of attracting new students who came to see geography as the steppingstone to a satisfying and productive career. Our challenge for the 1990s is in identifying new niches of employment for the students we have so successfully attracted to the field, in marketing ourselves to potential employers as effectively as we have to potential students, and in helping students make the difficult transition to a highly volatile, competitive, and uncertain labor market.

Our interviews with AAG corporate sponsors have implications for the undergraduate curriculum. The debate over geography as a broad-based liberal arts discipline or as a technical, semiprofessional field ignores the realities of the current labor market. Sponsors told us that they want employees who can combine technical skills with a broad-based background. Geography's comparative advantage over other social sciences lies in its ability to combine technical skills with a more traditional liberal arts perspective. Successful geography programs will be those that are able to find the appropriate balance of field-based technical skills like GIS, cartography, and air photo interpretation with competence in literacy, numeracy, decision making, problem solving, and critical thinking.

The effects of geographic education initiatives on the labor market for geographers will be played out over a geographically disparate landscape of teacher certification requirements, high school geography requirements, and university entrance requirements. Because education, including geographic education, is largely a local matter, local geographers are best equipped to keep tabs on state certification requirements and their effects on the demand for geography teachers, university requirements and their effects on precollegiate geography training, and the trickle-up effects of the implementation of National Geography Standards. •

Literature Cited

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Fierman, J. 1994. The contingency workforce. Fortune January 23:30-36.


Kutscher, R.E. 1993. Historic trends, 1950-1992, and current uncertainties. Monthly Labor Review 116(110):3-10.


Martin, J. 1992. Your new global workforce. Fortune December 14:52-60.


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PATRICIA GOBER is Professor of Geography at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-0104. Her areas of interest are population and urban geography.

AMY GLASMEIER is Associate Professor of Geography and Regional Planning at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 19802. Her areas of expertise include economic and industrial geography, public policy, and trade and technology.

JAMES M. GOODMAN is Geographer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society, 1145 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036-4688. His areas of interest are geography alliance management, outreach programs in geographic education, and American Indian lands and resources.

DAVID PLANE is Professor and Head of the Department of Geography and Regional Development at the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721. His areas of interest are population geography and regional science.

HOWARD STAFFORD is Professor of Geography at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0131. His areas of interest are industrial location and regional economic development.

JOSEPH WOOD is Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Geography and Earth Systems Science at George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444. He studies and writes on the American settlement landscape, from colonial New England villages to contemporary suburbs, and is presently investigating the increasing Vietnamese presence in northern Virginia.



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