OSHA's previous training program included 12 centers. The new program has been expanded to include 20 centers at 35 locations throughout the country.
"These education centers were selected because they can best support our national training and education mission," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "More than 14,500 students were trained at education centers in 2002 alone. We expect the number of students trained by these centers to double over the next two years and to continue to increase substantially each year after that. The additional centers will help us meet an increasing demand for OSHA training and provide added value to our outreach efforts in a variety of areas, including ergonomics, Spanish language courses and youth initiatives."
The 20 centers will complement the OSHA Training Institute, the agency's primary training center in Illinois. The centers are primarily responsible for training private sector personnel and federal personnel from agencies outside OSHA.
"Training is key to safety and health," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "The more employers and employees know about hazards and protection, the more injuries, illnesses and fatalities can be prevented. Expanding our education centers allows us to reach more people with information that can protect their safety and save their lives."
The centers were selected through a national competition that was announced in February. Evaluation criteria included occupational safety and health experience, non-academic training background, classroom and laboratory availability, and the ability to provide training throughout the region. OSHA provides no funding to the education centers. They support their OSHA training through their normal tuition and fee structures.
The educational centers will also assist the agency in administering the OSHA Outreach Training Program, the agency's primary way to train workers in the basics of occupational safety and health. Through the program, individuals who complete a one-week OSHA trainer course are authorized to teach 10-hour or 30-hour courses in construction or general industry safety and health standards. These individuals go on to train thousands more students each year. In FY 2002, 254,000 people received training from the train-the-trainer program.
A complete list of the OSHA Training Institute Education Centers can be found at www.osha.gov.