709 Mentoring New Meteorologists in the National Weather Service to Meet the Evolve Initiative

Tuesday, 14 January 2020
Hall B (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Matthew E. Anderson, NOAA/NWS, Morristown, TN; and D. Hotz

Traditionally over the last several decades entry level meteorologists in the National Weather Service (NWS) were labeled as interns. Interns would first be exposed to upper air, climate, and public service tasks with a slower progression to the duties of the forecaster. Depending upon the office, it could take 2 or 3 years before interns gained proficiency in the critical tasks of issuing forecasts and warnings. One of the “unlocks” in the National Weather Service’s Evolve initiative is the implementation of the GS 5-12 progression for newly hired meteorologists. This initiative re-classified the intern and general forecaster into one new meteorologist category. Newly hired meteorologists are now gaining proficiency in all of the routine forecast duties at a much faster pace than before. The first year requires two different residence courses coupled with hours of online training and implementation into the forecaster rotation.

The NWS in Morristown, TN welcomed 3 new entry level meteorologists during the beginning of the GS 5-12 progression. The office developed a new mentorship program and an accelerated training plan to quickly bring them into the forecaster ranks. The new meteorologists were paired with mentors to help them progress through training and duties at a much faster pace. A new schedule was also developed to keep these new meteorologists paired with their mentors as often as possible. This approach worked well for the NWS in Morristown, TN to quickly enable these new meteorologists to issue forecasts, warnings, and provide effective Impact-Based Decision Support Services.

This presentation will highlight some best practices of mentoring new meteorologists and available resources to guide both mentors and mentees.

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