Outdoor Recreation Roundtable Launches Resources for Growing the Outdoor Workforce of the Future

Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) is thrilled to announce the launch of a new Outdoor Workforce Hub, developed with support from The VF Foundation. The launch 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.

The Outdoor Workforce Hub debuts on ORR’s new website and features a number of interactive tools designed to help employers, educators, and those interested in joining the outdoor recreation industry, as well as those looking to expand their careers in the sector, including:

  • A new Roadmap for a 21st Century Outdoor Workforce;
  • A first-of-its kind map of nearly 250 higher education, trade and training programs for outdoor careers;
  • A primer on outdoor recreation-related jobs and existing research to help prospective talent, industry leaders, educators and policymakers alike understand the breadth and depth of outdoor careers;
  • A four-part Outdoor Workforce Expert series;
  • An ORR Career Path Module featuring real professionals across the industry;
  • Materials for career development offices; and
  • Links to other impactful resources to help outdoor professionals thrive.

“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, VF Corporation. “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 this new resource, ORR conducted several months of interviews and meetings with a diverse group of stakeholders, culminating in a convening in Bend, Oregon, 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 workforce into a new era of 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 key outcome of these conversations is a Roadmap for a 21st Century Outdoor Workforce—four core priorities for a thriving outdoor workforce with associated strategies. This roadmap will have a home on the Outdoor Workforce Hub webpage and be available as a resource for organizations and individuals across the outdoor industry. In the coming months, ORR will also debut a new PSA on outdoor careers to advertise the value of outdoor industry work to prospective talent around the United States. For more information, or ways to get involved, you can contact Chris Perkins at ORR@recreationroundtable.org.