208274 Expanding green jobs and sustainability initiatives within the NIEHS Worker Training Program

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 8:30 AM

Sharon D. Beard, IH , Worker Education and Training Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC
Since 1987, the federal National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Worker Education and Training Program (NIEHS WETP) has provided an effective, accountable structure for training workers who handle hazardous materials, hazardous waste, or respond to emergencies involving these materials. Many of the more than 2 million workers trained since the program began have been associated with the cleanup of this country's hazardous waste or Superfund sites. Such work has long been recognized as protecting the environment and the health of surrounding communities. In today's terminology, these are "green" jobs. Proper training assures that green jobs are safe jobs.

These are documented models of effective training interventions that can be expanded or duplicated according to the needs of this country, its employers and the workforce. The Minority Worker Training program, for example, is a carefully designed intervention aimed at increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in the construction and environmental remediation industries. It provides pre-employment literacy and life-skills training, construction skills training and environmental worker training including hazardous waste. Combined with on-going mentoring and follow-up, this program has achieved great success with over 7400 workers trained since 1995 at a 68% job placement rate in moving young under served workers into long-term employment including, most recently, in the area of energy retrofitting and solar panel installation.

During this presentation, specific strategies will be shared on how programs are integrating appropriate health and safety protections into new curricula for the green job industry.

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the need to ensure that green jobs are safe jobs and that health and safety training be a strong consideration when developing green job initiatives. Describe and discuss strategies for integrating appropriate health and safety protections into new curricula for the green job industry.

Keywords: Occupational Safety, Underserved Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Sharon Beard is an industrial hygienist with the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences' Worker Education and Training Program. She has expertise in H&S training and has been active in minority worker training programs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.