Eastern, Western Partner to Enhance Worker Safety

Signing photo

OSHA safety courses are now available in Bowling Green and Owensboro, thanks to a new partnership between Eastern Kentucky University and Western Kentucky University.

EKU’s OSHA Training Institute Education Center and WKU’s Division of Extended Learning and Outreach have engaged in a pilot host site training agreement, signed by officials from both universities in a ceremony on Friday, Feb. 6, on the Richmond campus.

Eastern houses one of 27 OSHA Training Institute Education Centers in the U.S. and the only such center in Kentucky. During 2013-14, the EKU-based center enrolled more than 1,800 students in designated OSHA-numbered courses in Richmond and Louisville and across an eight-state region, with additional courses provided for the U.S. Army in Kuwait and South Korea. In addition, EKU authorized outreach trainers conducted 820 classes for more than 9,000 students in the 10-hour and 30-hour classes for general construction and industry.

“The EKU Center has grown from serving 68 students in 2003 to serving more than 1,800 students last year in the designated OSHA-numbered courses,” EKU Provost Dr. Janna Vice noted. “Our partnership with WKU can help us reach even greater numbers.”

The EKU-WKU partnership “will make OSHA training delivery more seamless, more convenient and less costly for industries in western Kentucky,” said Tammy Cole, system director for EKU’s Center for Career and Workforce Development.

Officials at the two universities will collaborate to create a master schedule of appropriate classes, with EKU’s Training Institute Education Center processing registration, fees and prerequisite verifications as well as providing instructors, curricula and material assignments for each course. WKU’s Division of Extended Learning and Outreach will assess needs in the region, promote the courses in appropriate venues and provide space and on-site coordination.

“We are delighted to enter into this agreement with our friends at EKU,” said WKU Provost Dr. Gordon Emslie. “This initiative strongly supports WKU’s mission to provide lifelong learning opportunities and to enrich the quality of life for those within our reach.”

WKU Career and Workforce Development “has strong partnerships with businesses and industries throughout the WKU service area, providing a variety of high-quality professional development programs,” Dr. Sue Parrigin, program manager, said. “This new partnership with EKU allows us to expand our programming to include authorized OSHA training, which is not currently available within the Barren River and Green River regional development districts.”

Dr. Parrigin said that the partnership will expand opportunities to meet essential workforce training needs in the region.

“We are extremely excited to partner with EKU to provide this additional high-quality program and look forward to expanding this partnership even further in the future.”

Classes will begin later this semester at WKU’s Knicely Conference Center on Nashville Road and in the Badgett Conference Room on the WKU-Owensboro campus, Parrigin said. “We hope to begin registrations by March.”

In 2007, the OSHA center at EKU entered into an agreement to provide on-site OSHA safety courses for the U.S. Combat Readiness/Safety Center at Fort Rucker in Alabama, and that relationship has expanded in recent years. Over the past five years, the Center has ranked in the top 10 nationally in numbers of students served.

For more information about the Bowling Green and Owensboro courses, call 270-745-1912 or e-mail cpd@wku.edu, or contact Dr. Sue Parrigin at 270-745-1916 or sue.parrigin@wku.edu. For more information about the OSHA Training Institute Education Center at EKU, contact Tammy Cole at 859-622-6299 or tammy.cole@eku.edu.

Published on February 06, 2015