AIHA Works with NACOSH to Promote Careers in OHS

In November, AIHA participated in a stakeholder meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) that focused on growing the next generation of occupational health and safety professionals. As many current OHS professionals near retirement, the field is in need of a new generation to protect worker health and safety. Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels has tasked NACOSH with developing recommendations on how to foster the OHS field and how to grow the next generation of OHS professionals. As part of this process, NACOSH began holding a series of stakeholder meetings, the third of which took place on Nov. 15.
AIHA Past President Daniel H. Anna, PhD, CIH, CSP, and AIHA Director Cathy Hovde, CIH, CSP, attended the Nov. 15 meeting on behalf of AIHA. Anna expressed concern over the lack of public awareness about the industrial hygiene profession.
“We see the need and we see that the jobs are there, but there are challenges in identifying qualified people,” he said.
Asked to discuss AIHA’s initiatives to promote careers in OHS, Anna described the many services the association offers to help generate and sustain interest in the profession, including AIHA’s Mentoring Program; AIHA’s Future Leaders Institute, which aims to develop leaders within the association and the IH profession as a whole; and AIHA’s award-winning IH Professional Pathway program, which provides materials that illustrate the knowledge, skills, and experience needed at each stage of an industrial hygienist’s career. Anna also noted the professional and educational support AIHA provides students and professionals in the IH and OHS fields across the country, as well as the American Industrial Hygiene Foundation (AIHF), which has provided more than $1.8 million in scholarships to hundreds of IH students since 1982.
Hovde highlighted two more initiatives specifically designed for teenagers: Safety Matters, a program jointly introduced by AIHA and NIOSH; and NIOSH’s Talking Safety curriculum, which is intended to be used in a classroom or group training setting. She urged other stakeholder organizations participating in the meeting to use these programs as a springboard to further promote the OHS profession.
“If you’re an organization or group that’s interested in learning more, [these programs are] already put together, ready to go, and pretty easy for you to take and work with in your own organizations,” she said.
Anna expressed AIHA’s appreciation for the opportunity to participate in discussions about the future of the OHS profession and stated that the association will continue to share updates as these efforts progress.
“This really is an initiative that affects all of the stakeholders,” Anna said. “We are happy to share and collaborate and combine efforts. It’s not just a single association issue; it’s an issue that cuts across all of us, all workplaces, and all communities out there.”

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