Western Maricopa Education Center, a public career technical education district, is the only school district in Arizona offering in-house Occupational Safety and Health Administration training to its students in the form of a 10-hour certification course.
The class is taught by West-MEC professional development staff, offering knowledge and insight to the rules and regulations for on-the-job safety. Students attend lectures and take quizzes and a final test to obtain certification, learning terms and laws about safety in the workplace.
Each year, West-MEC certifies around 800 to 1,200 students. At the moment, classes are being held virtually because of COVID-19 precautions.
OSHA enforces safety and health standards both at the state and federal level, and develops reporting and record keeping systems and training programs for employers and employees.
Many of the industries in which West-MEC students look to acquire jobs require OSHA certification or other safety training as part of the onboarding process, especially ones where heavy machinery or equipment use is common. OSHA certification through West-MEC does not expire, making graduates of West-MEC programs stand out.
“They can go into their careers already certified, which gives them a leg up when they’re looking for jobs in the future,” said industry certification manager Frank Quinn. “And more importantly, they will know what to look for in their workplaces to protect themselves.”