DIRECTOR (Two to be elected)
Bret M. Clausen, CIH, CSP, CHMM, ARM Director – Corporate aHSSE&Q Talent and Technical Services CH2M Hill Constructors, Inc. Loveland, Colo.
I believe we must improve our outreach to penetrate multiple audiences in order to increase awareness of industrial hygiene. This awareness needs to clearly and concisely explain the benefits provided to society by the services of the profession, and target junior high and high school students to build interest in STEM education, with a graded shift to more focus on industrial hygiene as a specific STEM field professional opportunity in high school and on into higher education. Millennials tend to want instant gratification, so demonstrating tangible benefits of practicing industrial hygiene to society, while providing opportunity for good compensation and great flexibility in where they work and the kinds of challenges available, can be key to attracting their attention and guiding them into the pathway to practicing industrial hygiene. A parallel but inescapable issue that must be recognized and addressed is the changing reality of the scope of practitioners’ activities. More and more industrial hygienists are actively involved in safety, environmental protection, product stewardship, etc. We must embrace this changing reality openly and incorporate it into the outreach described above. If we do so effectively, I believe it will enhance our ability to attract more of the best and brightest to become industrial hygiene practitioners.
CDR Bradley S. King, PhD, MPH, CIH Senior Industrial Hygienist U.S. Public Health Service NIOSH, Western States Division Denver, Colo.
It’s been my experience that personal connections often yield the greatest success in increasing awareness of the field and recruiting new professionals. An “I.H. Ambassadors” program could be developed to identify and select industrial hygienists willing to make those personal connections at local schools and universities for students with little knowledge of the field. These local ambassadors could showcase not just the field, but the meaningful impact their work as an industrial hygienist has had on others’ lives. Outreach materials have been developed and could be utilized to supplement their personal stories with great examples of engaging work performed by industrial hygiene leaders, including Board members. We must remain cognizant of growing widespread concerns among young people about the increasing amounts of student debt incurred while pursuing their education. Further work to enhance and enlarge available scholarships and to advertise the availability of funds to students who may not know these resources exist is vital. In this way, interested students can know they have financially viable opportunities to pursue their education. In exchange for this support, young professionals who received scholarship support (particularly from sources such as the AIHA Foundation) could be utilized as one source of I.H. Ambassadors, returning on occasion to their alma maters or local schools, highlighting their educational journey and inspiring young students to follow suit.