A tiny grant is expected to yield major benefits for students at the Schoharie campus of the Capital Region BOCES Career & Technical School.
The Lowe’s Charitable Educational Foundation awarded the school $900 from its Toolbox for Education grant program to foot the cost of federal workplace safety education for 36 students.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s CareerSafe course is a 10-hour, Internet-based class that covers workplace safety, personal protective equipment, hazardous materials, safe equipment use and other topics, said the school’s principal, Denise Capece.
There are divisions of the class dedicated to seniors in both the Construction & Heavy Equipment and Power Sports Equipment Technician courses. Upon successful completion, students get a card verifying they’ve had the training, which is required by many companies that typically have to pay for the course for new employees.
“It’s a really good credential for them to go out into the workforce with,” Capece said.
The relevance and importance of the course was obvious and not an issue of concern until recently. It was paid for by New York state through the 2010-11 school year, when the funding dried up.
“We were crushed,” Capece said.
Luckily, the school was able to funnel juniors and seniors into the training that year — so last year’s seniors didn’t miss out.
Capece said the school drafted a grant application and sent it to SkillsUSA, a national organization of career and technical school students.
Though it will help students make their way into the workforce, the training is more about keeping them safe while they’re earning a paycheck, SkillsUSA New York director Bruce Potter said in a news release.
“One young person is killed every five days in work-related accidents. In order to help combat this alarming statistic, SkillsUSA has formed an alliance with Lowe’s and CareerSafe,” Potter said. “The CareerSafe program offers the OSHA 10-hour safety card for training that is designed to provide high school students with the fundamental safety information needed in the workplace.”