By providing their students with safety training, educators gain the satisfaction of knowing they have educated their students academically and improved their students' safety and employability.





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Randall Hancock, Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, Florida

 

3 years ago Randall Hancock got a new job – and an important first task.

“I was required to train students in workplace safety using the OSHA-sponsored guideline,” Hancock said through an ASL interpreter. “My supervisor had learned about CareerSafe Online, and we decided to try it.”

Hancock teaches Building Construction Technologies 1, 2 and 3 for high school and middle school students at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. His students (99% of whom are deaf) must take the OSHA 10-Hour Construction Industry course and receive the wallet-card credential as part of their classroom grade. Given the differences in syntax between ASL and English, Hancock – who is deaf himself- goes above and beyond to offer in-class lecture and one-on-one assistance for students who need help completing the course. This level of dedication to his students’ success is telling of the significance of safety in his classroom.

“We don’t want to send students home with a severed finger; in fact, students are not allowed to handle power tools or equipment until they have demonstrated competency after both CareerSafe training and tool-handling and modeling training,” Hancock said. “As a boarding school, we are responsible for teaching the importance of safety both inside and outside the classroom.”

The 77-acre campus offers not only the option of boarding opportunities, but also grants students hands-on construction experience as part of the campus Career and Technical Education program. Hancock’s classroom provides student access to both a painting room and a sizeable woodshop. In addition to these two resources, students engage in an ongoing renovations project, dubbed “Kids’ Town,” where students learn to tear down a structure’s exterior sheathing to replace water-damaged materials with new ones.

Students also use their developing skills to give back to the community through Habitat for Humanity, a global nonprofit housing organization. With participation both on campus and off, Hancock aims to create a student-centered environment that fosters youth-empowerment.
“For them, to be motivated is to provide them with the hands-on experience [they need] so they’re not just sitting back and listening in the lecture,” Hancock said. “This way, the lesson has meaning for them.”

Hancock’s students come from a multitude of backgrounds, and often don’t have skills or experience to support the in-class knowledge they obtain, he said. While some may struggle with the course, receiving the credential ends up being a proud moment for all.

Hancock spoke specifically of one student who was almost denied a job, until he showed his OSHA 10-Hour wallet credential.

“The boss was rather uneasy about hiring a deaf person, but when the student pulled out his OSHA certification from CareerSafe, he was hired immediately,” Hancock said. “The advantage he had to his hearing counterparts was holding the certification to obtain employment.”

This is one of many stories Hancock has proving that, despite the additional challenges his students may face, they are in no way hindrances to student success. It is still possible to go above and beyond to ensure all safety practices and standards are met, according to Hancock.

“There’s not a big difference whether you’re deaf or not [when it comes to safety],” Hancock said. “Your eyes will teach you the importance of safety.”

Further supporting this point is one grand accomplishment; this past April, the school sent a total of 13 students to the Florida SkillsUSA state competitions and all 13 individuals medaled in various events. This included 4 students from Hancock’s classroom, who competed in TeamWorks.

“It was wonderful,” Hancock spoke of the win. “I wasn’t expecting it, but it’s a good representation of what they’re learning at school. In the competition, they get judged on being safe throughout the tasks assigned.”

And what is Hancock’s desire for his students’ future?

“[The school and I] want to be able to prepare students for employment or college as soon as they march off the graduation stage,” Hancock said.

 

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!

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