100 Years, 100 Stories
It’s a record year for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training center at Metropolitan Community College’s Business & Technology campus.
The Region VII OSHA Training Institute Education Center, which serves Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa, trained 1,243 people between Oct. 1, 2014, and July 31 of this year. (By the end of September, when the federal government’s fiscal year ends, the Region VII center expects the final tally to hit at least 1,400 students trained.)
These are best-ever numbers for MCC’s OSHA training center and a 60 percent improvement over the same period a year ago. Jim Wellman, who heads the center (and is also director of the environmental health and safety program at MCC-Business & Technology), offers several reasons for the uptick.
One is that the Region VII center has expanded the number of “host training organizations” from four when Wellman arrived in May 2013 to seven now. These are typically two-year schools in other parts of the region — such as Crowder College in Neosho, Mo., and Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield — that host OSHA training courses.
Another factor is a “really good bump” in the volume of contract training with a host of business clients, companies primarily in the Greater Kansas City area that send employees here.
The Region VII center’s expert instructors, who bring with them significant industry experience, also attract students.
“We have been very, very deliberate over the last two years in continuing to increase the quality of our instructors and the bench strength we have,” Wellman says. “We’re always on the lookout for qualified instructors. And we do get repeat customers because of the quality of our instructors.”
OSHA training courses last from half a day to four full days.
The Region VII training center offers 33 OSHA courses. Most popular: the four-day sessions that cover OSHA regulatory requirements for either general industry/manufacturing or the construction industry. (OSHA is part of the U.S. Department of Labor, and Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez will be visiting the Business & Technology campus Aug. 18 to see how the MoWINs training grants are changing people’s lives.)
But the OSHA training center also has courses that “go into a lot more depth on a few of the OSHA regulations,” Wellman says. Like “Cranes in Construction,” a three-day class. Or four-day courses on respiratory protection and machine guarding requirements.
In addition to workers sent to OSHA training by their employers and people who sign up on their own, you’ll also find MCC students in these courses who are working on associate degrees or certificates in environmental health and safety.
OSHA training provides those who take courses with up-to-date knowledge (and continuing education credits) on the latest workplace regulations. And that training helps companies assure compliance with OSHA requirements.
There are 27 OSHA education centers across the country. In this four-state area, MCC’s Region VII center competes with the Midwest OSHA Education Center, whose training sites include St. Louis University.
But MCC’s OSHA center not only trains more people, it also holds the distinction of being one of the first four OSHA education centers in the country, started in 1992. MCC’s center is also one of only three that has been in continuous operation since that year, Wellman says.