Three laws passed by the most recent US Congress–the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the CHIPS Act–are creating strong demand for workers in cultural resource management and will lead to exciting opportunities for synthesis in coming years. A recent article in the New York Times discusses the situation, as does a recent paper by CfAS co-President Jeff Altschul and SRI Foundation Executive Director Terry Klein. Altschul and Klein note that, over the next 10 years, annual spending on CRM will increase from about $1.46 to $1.85 billion, leading to the creation of about 8,000 new archaeology positions, 70% of which will require advanced degrees. Based on current graduation rates, there will be a significant shortage of MA/PhD-level archaeologists. So, this jobs boom is also creating opportunities for archaeology graduate programs in US colleges and universities.
Currently, the greatest demand is for field and laboratory technicians, but as these projects progress there will be increasing opportunities for data analysis and integration. It’s hard to imagine the cultural resource management industry being even larger than the $1.5 billion/year industry it is now. But it is coming, and for CfAS partners and affiliates, the time to plan for the coming data deluge is now!