Over the last few years, alumni noted the lack of graduates achieving employment opportunities from NOAA/NWS. Between 2008 and 2013, due to many factors, very few graduates were hired by the NWS and the number of students participating in NOAA/NWS internships declined. To combat this issue and ensure that NOAA continued to receive a steady flow of diverse employees from JSU, several actions were taken by alumni who are employed by NOAA/NWS. These actions were supported by the NOAA Office of Education and the NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS). Various methods were utilized to build trust and motivate students to become interested in careers within the NWS and other NOAA line offices. An alumni/student mentoring initiative was implemented during the meteorology program’s 40th Anniversary in 2015. During this program, alumni and NOAA/NWS employees provided students with professional development training with the goal of helping students secure coveted scholarships, internships, and employment opportunities.
During the last two years, the partnership between alumni, students, and NOAA increased student participation in internship opportunities by over 200%. The number of prestigious scholarships awarded to students also increased, resulting in students that are better prepared to join the NOAA’s future workforce. Alumni, students, and NOAA/NWS are eager to maintain this partnership through the years to come.