Boulder, Colo., August 19, 2021 — Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), the nonprofit trade association of the outdoor industry, and several partner organizations this week announced the launch of the Outdoor Industry Workforce Assessment. The survey, which will gather information about industry needs for workforce development and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), was designed and developed by faculty from Oregon State University and is being supported by several partners including The VF Foundation, Path to Peak Education & Consulting and the Confluence of States.
OIA and Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) are encouraging their members to participate in the survey in order to capture as many data points as possible in an effort to gauge current efforts and to steer and measure future programming. In addition, the State Outdoor Business Alliance Network (SOBAN), the Confluence of States, and Basecamp Outdoor are sharing the survey with outdoor employers in their networks, and Path to Peak Education + Consulting is acting as a strategic research partner to help establish clear benchmarks top priorities.
“Research and access to data of this kind is one of the cardinal benefits we offer our member companies in order to ensure outdoor businesses are able to adapt in time and in step with the shifting employment landscape,” says OIA Executive Director Lise Aangeenbrug. “It’s important to know what jobs our industry currently has as well as what skills and jobs companies will need in the next years and decades. The more companies that participate in this survey, the more robust the data, the more helpful the insights and the more productive our collaborative work will be toward creating inclusive pathways for outdoor employers and employees of the future.”
“This is an important opportunity to gain a better understanding of our industry,” says Outdoor Recreation Roundtable Executive Director Jessica Turner. “What we learn through this research will help us make better, more strategic decisions about how to grow and promote opportunities within the outdoor recreation economy to new and diverse audiences and better align our industry needs with trainings and programming at all education levels.”
The survey, which launched August 6, will remain in the field until September 30. The research partners recommend that each outdoor company convene a committee that includes executive leadership as well as HR, people and culture, DEI and employee resource group managers and department leaders to complete the survey together.
“We are proud to support this research effort, and we expect the findings to be incredibly valuable to the outdoor industry,” says The VF Foundation Executive Director, Gloria Schoch. “By defining where the outdoor recreation economy stands in terms of workforce development and DEI practices, we can better identify the most promising pathways to improvement.”
Results of the survey will be available in late 2021, and the partners expect to begin developing workplans based on the research results in early 2022.
To learn more about this collaborative research effort, visit the survey website.
Outdoor Industry Association
Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA unites and serves manufacturer, supplier, sales representative and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business innovation and outdoor participation. The OIA is based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org.
Outdoor Recreation Roundtable
The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable promotes the growth of the outdoor recreation economy and outdoor recreation activities and is the leading recreation coalition with 34-member associations serving over 110,000 businesses. ORR’s members represent America’s hunting, fishing, RVing, biking, hiking, camping, ATVing, diving, horseback and skiing communities among many more.
Oregon State University
Oregon State University’s Center for the Outdoor Recreation Economy is a partnership of OSU’s Division of Extension and Engagement, the College of Forestry, and OSU-Cascades. The Center is committed to providing the research capacity and relevant programming that will lead to new and better opportunities for the outdoor recreation workforce. These programs will draw on strong industry partnerships, along with the University’s well-earned reputation as an R1 research institution and a leader in education, innovation, and engagement.
The VF Foundation
Since its inception, The VF Foundation has donated more that $50 million globally to support non-profit organizations in driving movements for the betterment of people and the planet, including actions that define Worthy Work, embrace the fact that Outside Matters, and empower diversity, equity, and inclusion as we are Free to Be. Learn more at https://www.vfc.com/our-company/the-vf-foundation.