The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) Foundation aims to break new ground in the way it helps occupational safety and health professionals advance their careers and better protect workers. The Foundation seeks volunteers for a task force that will develop a comprehensive educational framework to support safety and health professionals at every phase of their careers.
Once formed, the task force, supported by J. Alssid Associates, will map the various career pathways of safety professionals, whether they enter the profession as students, career changers or former military members. Even current safety professionals looking to enhance their skills will be part of the mapping analysis. “We’re looking to meet learners wherever they are in their careers so we can help create a highly skilled and more inclusive safety workforce that meets the evolving needs of employers,” said ASSP Foundation Chair Trish Ennis, CSP, ARM, CRIS. “It’s all about helping safety professionals get the education they need to thrive.”
According to ASSP research, about 40 percent of workplace safety professionals travel a traditional education pathway from K-12 to postsecondary education and beyond while 60 percent take a non-traditional path into safety from other disciplines. In addition, nearly 80 percent enter without a safety-related degree, showing that safety is not a linear profession like medicine or law. The growing challenge for companies is to ensure all safety professionals have the specific skills to succeed in the workplace regardless of how they entered the profession.
“We are strategically positioned to help a wide range of safety professionals learn, adapt, grow and lead in dynamic and constantly changing work environments,” Ennis said. “By focusing on the broader development of the safety workforce, our Foundation will strengthen the pipeline of professionals who will ultimately help our organizations provide safer environments moving forward.”
The task force will model and promote education and training pathways that are grounded in industry standards and responsive to labor market needs as more than 120,000 safety positions are open nationwide. The diverse group of members being sought will represent educators, practitioners and employers throughout the profession. The new educational framework will align with the global framework from the International Network of Safety and Health Professional Organizations (INSHPO) that defines the role, functions and competencies of occupational safety and health professionals. The framework will also be informed by ABET accreditation standards and other quality programs and certification bodies. The ASSP Foundation is accepting applications for the task force through Nov. 11.
For more information, visit www.assp.org.