What type of skills will young graduates need when they enter the workforce in the coming years?
Dr. Jon McChesney: Recreation is at the core of a social profession, thus demanding the need for social intelligence and a relationship orientation for graduates. The need for connection is perhaps greater than at any time in our history, given the loneliness epidemic, the increase in depression, and suicide. Professionals need to be mindful of the issues facing our country and demonstrate sensitivity and appreciation for diversity and cultural agility. Creativity, innovation, and adaptability to change will continue to be important as recreation is forced to evolve in a Covid-19 world and beyond.
Are there any particularly good places in the United States for graduates to find work opportunities in this field after they graduate?
Dr. Jon McChesney: Typically, graduates have good job opportunities throughout the United States, given the magnitude of the industry. For example, event planning was a 33% growth industry, and in 2019 tourism employed one in every ten people on Earth! Covid-19 has had a profound impact on recreation, parks, and tourism, but there will be a recovery. We are currently seeing a resurgence in outdoor recreation and people experiencing parks throughout the country. Graduates will need to continue to nurture their professional network and be patient with the current job’s climate.
How do you envision technology impacting this field in the next 5 years?
Dr. Jon McChesney: The recreation field has not always embraced technology, given our roots in play, community building, and the outdoors. Technology has been used extensively in marketing processes, but the integration into programming efforts has not been as robust. Covid-19 has forced agencies to embrace technology in recreation program delivery, which has the potential to be empowering. Our profession needs to consider a paradigm shift to more of a facilitator role, with municipal recreation agencies operating as a clearinghouse of programs and services, rather than a focus on direct service. Such a dramatic shift would require significant use of technology.
Published on October 14, 2020