Jay Eichmann, Clovis High School, Clovis, California
John “Jay” Eichmann from Clovis High School located in Clovis, California began teaching six years ago after nearly twenty years working successfully in the electronic systems field. Eichmann explains that his decision to change careers came down to wanting to give back and “share [his] love of the profession” with young people. “As an electrical technician, I was installing electronic systems that are always changing. After many years of installing and training users on the systems in an educational setting, I thought why not become an educator. Many of our career tech educators in this school are re-entry teachers who have previously worked in the industry they instruct,” continues Eichmann.
For his students to be active learners in the classroom, Eichmann believes that career and technical education classes have the unique ability to show students the need for applying information first. “Hands-on career and technical education classes give [students] the ability to complete tasks, but also proves to them that they need the academic background to be successful,” he explains.
Credentialing has and continues to be an important aspect of the CTE programs at Clovis High School. Six years ago, Eichmann began to use OSHA 10-Hour safety training through CareerSafe Online. “I want my students to graduate the class with some tangible credentials and [CareerSafe] is the most bang for my buck and what can help them regardless of industry,” Eichmann says, “It applies across the board. I’m thrilled with online OSHA.” Eichmann explains that finding sponsors for funding OSHA safety training for his students was difficult at first, but now the school district is able to help with funding along with corporate sponsors because the school district sees the importance and benefits of the credential. “This credential is the number one reason students get hired in jobs before any of their peers.”
As juniors, Eichmann’s students take the OSHA 10-Hour General Industry safety training. If they choose to continue the pathway as seniors, they are required to take the OSHA 10-Hour Construction Industry safety training. The first unit for Eichmann’s classes is OSHA and without the CareerSafe program, he says his students would do all the work without earning a credential because he is not an OSHA authorized trainer. Eichmann feels that for CTE classes in particular, it can be more difficult to find a substitute that can work with students on their skills. “[CareerSafe] is my go-to lesson plan for sub days when I have to be away from class.”
According to Eichmann, OSHA training has made his students more aware of safety. “My students are learning that working safe is the mark of a professional. They realize pretty quickly that they’re taking training to be professionals in the workforce…they’re good at reminding teachers too,” he says. In addition to OSHA training, Eichmann’s students are also given projects at the start of the year to do research on particular safety areas and make posters that are displayed throughout the classroom and job sites. “My students also take a safety awareness walk through our campus to notice things related to safety like the fire lane and chemical storage,” he describes.
His students have had success with their OSHA credentials, and virtually every student who has been hired, cites his or her OSHA credential as a primary reason he or she was chosen over the competition. “It does not matter if you are working in construction or working in the mall, you are going to be far above your competition,” explains Eichmann. Many of his students apply for apprenticeships and the first thing they will have to do is complete OSHA training. “If they already have that completed, they are ahead of the competition.”