There are several ways that career and technical education instructors across the country develop and prepare students for high-wage, high-skill, high-demand careers. CareerSafe’s similar goal to deliver Safety Education for America’s Future is one that cannot be successful without the help and advocacy of thousands of educators nationwide.
The Safety Educator of the Year Award was established to recognize educators that instill these career skills in their students, while also prioritizing the importance of safety in all aspects of life. CareerSafe is excited to announce the winner of the 2015 Safety Educator of the Year Award — Mr. John “Jay” Eichmann, a construction teacher from Clovis High School’s Regional Occupation Program (ROP). Eichmann was one of 12 nationwide finalists for the Safety Educator of the Year Award. He received the award in front of his peers at the National Career Tech VISION Conference in New Orleans.
“My students are learning that working safe is the mark of a professional. They realize pretty quickly that they’re training to be professionals in the workforce,” said Eichmann. After spending nearly 20 years working in the electronic systems industry, Eichmann’s passion for education, driven by the support of his wife and two children, led him into Career and Technical Education (CTE). As a former member of the United States Navy, Eichmann strives to give his students the courage needed to become leaders in society, and to know that even when working in dangerous situations, they can have the confidence and knowledge to work safely. Part of his class program is to establish a safety mindset by completing OSHA 10-Hour training and becoming familiar with safety and health principles by completing a safety awareness walk through of their campus to learn about safety topics such as chemical storage, lighting safety, non-skid surfaces and fire safety.
“If they already have [the OSHA training] completed, they are ahead of their 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,” explained Eichmann.
Eichmann’s 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.
“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,” Eichmann explained. Each month, Eichmann distinguishes one student that displays strong leadership, academic, and safety skills, and highlights them on his class webpage.
Innovative education presents Eichmann with chances to prepare his students for their futures with real world work experiences. His vision has always been to teach students to take the skills that they learn in the classroom and apply them to any project or problem they encounter in life. Once his students are satisfactorily prepared with technical skills and safety training, they are able to use their education to work and volunteer in the community. Clovis High School ROP students partner with local contractors to complete many community projects each semester, including the construction of an eco-friendly garden, the building of small full-scale homes, and the establishment of a Women in Construction Club.
In addition to technical skills training, Eichmann’s class focuses on employability by teaching his students the necessary soft skills to excel in resume writing and interview techniques. “Partnerships and support is the key to success as teachers,” said Eichmann. As the recipient of the 2015 Safety Educator of the Year Award, Eichmann was presented with a $5,000 grant for his classroom and a paid membership to ACTE for one year. He plans to use the monetary prize to enhance his students’ educational experience both in and outside his classroom, including providing his students with their own personal protective equipment to take with them as they begin their careers.
No job is worth a young worker’s life. With educators like Eichmann preparing students with career and safety skills, we are one step closer to lowering the injury and fatality rates for young workers. Eichmann is setting a new standard for preparing America’s future workforce. Please join us in congratulating Jay Eichmann as the 2015 Safety Educator of the Year!