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Preparing the next generation of industry talent.

Workforce Development

Learn about how EMA is working to bolster the pipeline of tomorrow’s minerals industry leaders.


Developing the Talent Pipeline

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence projects that the world will need to open more than 380 new mines for graphite, lithium, nickel and cobalt alone, in order to meet demand by the year 2035. However, without skilled talent, the industry’s ability to produce the necessary quantity of these minerals efficiently, safely, and sustainably is in jeopardy. In fact, nearly three quarters of industry executives said this talent shortage is holding them back from discovering and delivering on production targets and strategic objectives, according to a survey by global consultancy McKinsey & Company. This is largely due to an aging workforce entering retirement and a dearth of high school graduates entering the relevant post-secondary degree programs.

Even if more students were to pursue such degrees, the United States currently lacks the capacity to train them. Forty years ago, 25 American universities maintained accredited mining and mineral development programs. Today, only 14 exist. According to the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration, the number of graduates has decreased by 43 percent since 2015 alone. The number of geological engineering programs has dwindled to only 13, and metallurgical engineering stands at just 8.

Mining Schools Act

EMA is leading a coalition of 18 universities and 28 associations in voicing support for the Mining Schools Act of 2023. The Mining Schools Act helps to bridge the gap in U.S. educational capacity by revitalizing university-level mining programs by establishing a grant program for mining schools in order to recruit students and carry out studies, research projects, and demonstration projects related to the production of minerals.


Careers in the Minerals Industry

The minerals and mining industry offers a variety of career opportunities across several disciplines. The industry is at the forefront of tomorrow’s technology, and professionals in the industry are making a difference in the modern world. Whether it’s business, engineering, science, robotics, or artificial intelligence, the industry has a lot to offer. Examples of career tracks include:

  • Geology and geology engineering
  • Mining engineering
  • Metallurgical engineering
  • Hydrology
  • Biology
  • Environmental science
  • Industry hygiene
  • Electrician
  • Heavy equipment operator
  • Boilermaker
  • Welder
  • Surveyor
  • Mechanic

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