Terms of Reference


In recent years, the changing private sector landscape in atmospheric sciences has exposed existing gaps in the education and preparation of the atmospheric science workforce and the skill sets needed for private sector employment. An AMS information statement recommends that students seek instruction beyond the core of the meteorology curriculum. This suggests that standard atmospheric science coursework is not sufficient in preparing them for careers in the private sector. Students and faculty from several atmospheric science programs have expressed that there is a clear lack of awareness regarding existing private sector career opportunities and the requisite skill sets to pursue those careers.

To address this systematic lack of awareness concerning the pathway to private sector employment, a workshop was organized by a small group, consisting of academic and private sector representatives, that took place at NCAR in Boulder, CO (summer of 2019). This ad hoc committee exists to carry forward the effort to “mind the gap” between what students are trained for and what skills the private sector needs.


This ad hoc committee is tasked to share information, create engagement opportunities across the academic, government, and private sectors, and identify best practices of how the three sectors can best align educational requirements to needed skill sets.


To develop better strategies to educate the next generation of atmospheric scientists for industry needs.


The Ad Hoc Mind the Gap Committee will lead the following AMS activities:

Identify curriculum gaps & challenges that lead to a lack of preparation for students pursuing careers in the private sector.

Discuss these gaps & challenges to identify creative solutions that can be scaled across the academic and private sectors.
Identify and foster best practices that can be used by academic programs to modify their curricula to address these gaps & challenges.

Identify and foster best practices for private sector partners to take a more active role in directly addressing skill gaps through internships, capstones, and partnerships with academic programs.

Promote future venues for sparking mutual innovation between the private sector and academia, driven by the needs for educating students.

Committee Structure:

The Ad Hoc Mind the Gap Committee will be structured as follows:
Will be a temporary “ad hoc” Committee, reporting to the Board on Strategic Topics (BEST).

Will have a two-year “ad hoc” designation upon which the BEST Chairperson(s) will recommend to the Commissioner whether or not to terminate the committee or present to the AMS Council justifying its change to full committee status.

Will consist of six (6) to fifteen (15) professional members including the Chairperson(s).

Professional membership terms (nominally) will consist of three (3) year terms with 1/3 typically rotating off the Committee each year.
Membership terms will begin immediately upon approval by the Commissioner of this ad hoc committee and again each year at the AMS Annual Meeting.

Membership shall represent the three (3) community sectors (e.g. private/commercial, government and academic). At least one student member is also encouraged.

At least one (1) member shall represent, in a liaison role, the Commission on Professional Affairs. This member shall be approved by the Commissioner, Commission on Professional Affairs.

At least one (1) member shall represent, in a liaison role, the Education and Human Resources Commission. This member shall be approved by the Commissioner, Education and Human Resources Commission.

Candidate committee members will be nominated by the Committee Chair and approved by the BEST Chair and the Commissioner of the CWWCE.

At the discretion of the Chair, with BGS Chair and CWWCE Commissioner consent, a Committee member who does not participate in Committee activities for a period of twelve or more months can be removed and a replacement named.

The Chair, shall be an ex officio non-voting member of the BEST. This designation of non-voting may change if/when the Committee becomes a full committee.