Jeffrey Riddle, Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps, Illinois
Jeffrey Riddle at Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center is seeing the difference CTE and safety training can make in a young person’s life. Over the last five years as a Certified Logistics Associate (CLA) and Certified Logistics Technician (CLT) instructor, Riddle has made it his goal to prepare at-risk young adults through guidance and training to help them become acceptable and productive members of the workforce. One of his biggest accomplishments is seeing his students move forward with the tools and training to better their own lives and create their own successes.
“Making my kids employable is my job,” Riddle said. “But seeing in their writing and hearing in their voice the hope and plans for their future drives my passion to help them succeed.”
Before becoming an instructor, Jeffrey was a Production Supervisor/System Analyst for Inland Steel, where he was able to retire after more than 40 years, at which point he chose to become an instructor. Within his curriculum, it is a requirement that every student complete OSHA 10-Hour training before working. Riddle believes that young workers often lack the experience of being in a manufacturing, construction, transportation or other hazardous work environments and are thus more susceptible to workplace hazards.
“That is why OSHA and safety training in general are so important for young workers ready and eager to enter the workforce,” Riddle said. “They have to realize that careless or inattentive behavior can injure not just themselves, but others too. That being said, with proper and adequate training, jobs are done safely.”
As a former supervisor, Riddle reiterates to his students that at the companies worth working for, employees are the most important asset. The safety training he offers gives his students not only general industry training, but prepares them for life at home and in the world.
Because Riddle’s students are at various reading levels, he likes the online OSHA training. The matching visual and audio motivates them to learn and even absorb new vocabulary. Along with their OSHA training, Riddle’s students receive Manufacturing Skill Standards Council’s Certified Logistic Associate (CLA) and Certified Logistics Technician (CLT). All of his students over the age of 18 are urged to complete forklift safety certifications also.
“Receiving their certification is a big deal as an addition to their resumes,” Riddle said. “Some of [my students] have little to no experience and this can add a pop to their resumes with certifications. . A nationally recognized credential like OSHA is a valuable addition.”
Riddle and his students not only strive to be safe, but utilize their skills and time to volunteer in their local community, and are currently in the process of expanding to incorporate even more opportunities to give back and make an impact. They volunteer and make food donations to the Food Depository in Chicago, and are also hoping to begin volunteering with the Chicago Marathon on a regular basis. On Martin Luther King Day, Riddle and his students participated in their MLK Day of Service where they welcomed the National Director of Job Corps, Lenita Jacobs-Simmons onto their campus. During the service day, Riddle chaperoned students to the Salvation Army Harbor Light facility. Students across all of the programs at Paul Simon are committed to organizing events and helping others at senior retirement centers, food banks and spent time inspiring younger peers. Riddle shares that this spring his students will volunteer with the Chicago White Sox as part of their program.
With their certifications, credentials and licenses in hand, the students at Paul Simon Job Corps are becoming smart, safe individuals who can contribute to their workforce. Their responsibility and proactive attitude is only further emphasized in the good work they are pursuing outside of the classroom. Thank you Mr. Riddle for making both safety and giving back to the community priorities in your classroom. Because of educators like you, we can have a safer, brighter, more caring future in the workplace.
CareerSafe wants to recognize teachers and CTE directors around the country that are taking strides to educate youth in workplace safety. Each month, CareerSafe will introduce you to an educator that has been implementing CareerSafe courses in his or her classroom. These educators strive to make a difference one student at a time. Nominate a teacher today!