Webinar to Address CEA Workforce Challenges
Researchers from Cornell University will present a free, one-hour webinar on “CEA Workforce Development Study: What Makes a Successful Indoor Farmer Operations Manager?” on June 18, at 2 p.m. EDT.
The webinar will be presented by Anu Rangarajan and Whyte Marschall and is part of a series presented by Greenhouse Lighting and Systems Engineering (GLASE).
The National Science Foundation-funded research project entitled “Strategic FEW (food, energy, water) and Workforce Investments to Enhance Viability of Controlled Environment Agriculture in Metropolitan Areas” (CEA Viability in Metro Areas) seeks to help the CEA industry develop a skilled workforce that will allow it to scale.
As part of this project, Rangarajan’s team has conducted research to understand the workforce/labor needs of the broader hydroponics industry (greenhouse and indoor vertical farms). The project has surveyed dozens of stakeholders.
In 2019, 12 industry members were brought together in an intensive workshop whereby participants reflected on the skills sets required to be an Indoor Farm Operations Manager. The chart is currently being reviewed by peer growers worldwide, who are being asked to respond to how important each skill set is and how frequently it is conducted. Based on stakeholder input the chart will be used as a starting point for prioritizing training modules.
Next, a deeper analysis of each skill will be conducted to translate this research into a teachable vocational curriculum.
In this presentation, Rangarajan will share preliminary research findings, outline our ongoing efforts to develop a solid empirical basis for CEA workforce development training programs, and invite GLASE webinar audience members to participate in this important study.