The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) launched an Outdoor Workforce Hub, developed with support from The VF Foundation. 

The launch of the Hub follows a year spent gathering perspectives from ORR members, outdoor industry leaders and community partners to ‘identify opportunities for the $862 billion outdoor recreation economy and the 4.5 million professionals who support connecting people to the outdoors.”

ORR’s website features the Outdoor Workforce Hub with interactive tools for employers, educators, those interested in joining the outdoor recreation industry, and those looking to expand their careers. 

Features include a road map for a 21st-century outdoor workforce; a map of nearly 250 education, trade and training programs for outdoor careers; a primer on outdoor recreation-related jobs and research to help prospective talent, industry leaders, educators, and policymakers understand the depth of outdoor careers; a four-part outdoor workforce expert series; an ORR career path module featuring working industry professionals; materials for career development offices; and links to resources to help outdoor professionals.

“ORR is grateful to The VF Foundation and all of our members and partners who helped make this fantastic new resource a reality,” said Jessica Wahl Turner, president of ORR. “From ensuring that the outdoor workforce is diverse and inclusive to identifying needs like access to affordable housing, creating training programs to fill skills gaps, and combating myths and stigmas about careers in the industry, ORR is proud to be leading the way and seeking collaborative solutions to our shared challenges. More Americans than ever are discovering a passion for recreating outside – it is our job to make sure there are opportunities to turn those passions into careers that support workers and their families for a lifetime.”

“We believe in the transformative power of nature and stand firmly committed to empowering the heartbeat that keeps outdoor recreation alive – its workforce,” said Gloria Schoch, executive director, The VF Foundation and senior director of the VF Corp. “The VF Foundation is proud to support the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable in launching the Outdoor Workforce Hub, a groundbreaking resource that will unlock limitless opportunities for individuals seeking fulfilling careers in the outdoor industry. Together, we are charting a course towards a thriving, diverse and inclusive talent pipeline to help outdoor recreation continue to flourish for generations to come.”

In the lead-up to the creation and launch of the resource, ORR conducted interviews and meetings with a diverse group of stakeholders, culminating in a meeting in Bend, OR, co-hosted with Oregon State University. Over several days, outdoor industry leaders gathered to discuss the issues that they have encountered with the outdoor workforce, the successes that they have had, and to share ideas about the best way to move the industry’s work force toward success.

“Oregon State University’s Center for the Outdoor Recreation Economy is excited to bring new resources to this effort. We look forward to supporting ORR’s launch of the workforce hub and its role in contributing to the creation of career pathways in the outdoors,” said Kate Porsche, interim director of the Center for the Outdoor Recreation Economy at Oregon State University.

One outcome from the conversations is the organization’s Roadmap for a 21st Century Outdoor Workforce with four priorities, found on the Outdoor Workforce Hub webpage as a resource for organizations and those in the outdoor industry. In the coming months, ORR said it would debut a PSA on outdoor careers advertising the value of outdoor industry work to prospective employees in the U.S. 

Photo courtesy Outdoor Recreation Roundtable