250200 Creating a New Generation of OHS Professionals

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kevin Riley, MPH PhD , Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Sarah Jacobs, MPH , Labor Occupational Safety & Health (LOSH) Program, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Homero Harari, MSc , Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA
A number of factors have contributed to a shortage of occupational health and safety professionals in the United States in recent years. An aging workforce combined with fewer professional training opportunities has resulted in a steady decline in the number of young people pursuing careers in industrial hygiene, occupational medicine or nursing, or university research and teaching. These developments have occurred during a period of particular need. Since 1970, U.S. employment has nearly doubled, from 56 million workers at 3.5 million work sites to 105 million workers at nearly 6.9 million sites. Workers today face a wider array of hazards resulting from changes in job opportunities, growth in the low-wage service sector, and emergence of contingent work and other forms of work insecurity while fewer American workers are protected by unions. The need for a new generation of occupational health and safety professionals and advocates has never been greater. This session will examine strategies for fostering a new generation of OHS professionals. Individual presentations during the session will focus on existing pathways for young people entering the field, including the Occupational Health Internship Program and the NIOSH Education and Research Centers. Presentations will describe the methods used to attract and train young professionals, strategies to insert them into the labor market, and the successes and current challenges the programs face. The discussion will also focus on how to attract a more diverse group of professionals that match the increasing diversity of the U.S. workforce.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Describe the existing career pathways in OHS. Identify the principal challenges for recruiting a talented and diverse pool of young professionals into the field. Assess the viability of existing career pathways for ensuring the development of future OHS leaders.

Keywords: Professional Training, Challenges and Opportunities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I serve as site coordinator for the Occupational Health Internship Program in Los Angeles and am familiar with existing career pathways in the OHS field.
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.