Community partners train students in workplace safety

(This story has been updated to reflect that other districts do offer OSHA training. Clarification appended.)

Senior Ashley Rumble will have something special in her wallet when she graduates from school in the Boise School District.

It’s not flashy. It only cost her $8. But, the small, white card is something she hopes will give her a head start on her future career in welding.

Rumble is one of 76 students from Boise’s Dennis Technical Education Center who now carry an OSHA-10 card, signaling that she’s received a sought-after industry safety certification from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“I just wanted something that would give me a leg up on other people who apply for the same jobs,” Rumble said. “It’s something that just shows you’re serious.”

More than a dozen students, Rumble included, received their OSHA-10 cards at a short ceremony at the Dennis Center on Friday. The small ceremony was a unique event in Idaho.

Boise area OSHA director David Kearns said that Boise is one of few districts where students can get OSHA trained, and earn an OSHA-10 certification before they graduate. OSHA is working on expanding the Boise model to other schools.

“It’s very unique,” Kearns said. “There are a lot of workers established in the workforce that don’t already have the knowledge that these kids are going to come away with.”

The Boise School District’s OSHA-10 training was the brainchild of Steve Rosendin, a safety and security specialist at the technical center, who approached OSHA last year about training students.

Young workers, and those new to the workforce, have far higher rates of workplace injury than their more established peers. Training students to recognize and avoid dangerous situations not only helps protect kids, Rosendin said, it also boosts confidence among local businesses that Dennis Technical students are ready for jobs and apprenticeships.

“It’s a bit of a game changer for them,” Rosendin said.

Local professionals were critical to staging the training, Rosendin said. Certified trainers from businesses like Idaho Power, 360immersive and construction companies volunteered to teach parts of the 10-hour course.

Kimberli Reynolds, who used to work at Industrial Hygiene Resources, was part of that volunteer fleet.

“I’m very passionate about safety,” she said. “To be able to help that section of the workforce that’s about to launch, where their accident and injury levels are so high, is just a great thing to me because my kids weren’t getting that.”

One of Reynold’s children works in the construction industry, she said. But, when he was in high school, he didn’t have the opportunity to get OSHA trained. The Dennis center students will graduate with a certification that he doesn’t have.

“Protecting that first layer of the workforce that’s leaving here — it’s very exciting to be a part of that,” she said.

Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect that the Boise School District is not the only district in Idaho with OSHA training. While OSHA director David Kearns was not aware of other school distticts where students can get an OSHA-10 certification when this story was originally published, Kearns and EdNews have since learned that some other districts also provide OSHA training).

Sami Edge

About Sami Edge

Reporter Sami Edge, a University of Oregon graduate, joined Idaho Education News in 2019. She is a 2019 Education Writers Association fellow reporting on Latino student outcomes in Idaho. She also is a 2019 American Press Institute fellow. She can be reached at sedge@idahoednews.org.

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