Safety Today Secures Tomorrow at the Alaska Job Corps Center
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Safety Today Secures Tomorrow at the Alaska Job Corps Center

The Alaska Job Corps Center does not take safety for granted.  Their program is far more comprehensive than the standard safety program focusing on standard trips and falls.  And that is why the Alaska Job Corps leads the way as a center with a strong safety culture.

In any organization safety discussions can be tedious.  However Alaska’s  program is anything but dull.  Instead it is introduced and frequently relaunched with energy, enthusiasm and participation.

This week’s full day Safety program offered usable and live advice and practice. The exciting program is offered quarterly to keep the intensity alive.  In addition, all new employees and students receive major safety orientation upon entry, just to ensure that no one is unclear about the continual requirement for a safe environment.

Timely near-misses reporting, behavioral safety incidents, and situational awareness training are the normal benchmarks of a safety program.  However the Alaska Job Corps goes way beyond these minimums and projects safety training to the next level, allowing it to becomes a part of the live everyday culture. The significant take-away is that all staff and students consider safety as an integral part of their individual lives now and in the future in their careers, at home and in their communities.  Safety is a significant building block of life training and the multiplier effect goes on to help in every personal and professional arena.

Here are some of the details of this week’s full day safety program:

  • Local Palmer fire department brought  Firechief John McNutt, firefighters, Lt. Jana Powell and Heather Buben along with vehicle and equipment to center and offered hands-on training and practice with extinguisher and fire.
  • Detective Glenn Klinkhart with Police Department gave critical instruction on various apps for students to use for social media—specifically on security related to personal safety, stalking, bullying and locational identification.
  • Poster contest and Essay contest entries were displayed and awarded
  • Elaine Banda, training specialist with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development offered important information about occupational safety and health.  She is a dynamic presenter and engaged the audience fully.
  • Electrical classroom showcased OSHA material, Personal Protective Equipment and an Arc Flash Protection suit—all necessary in the electrical trade.
  • Carpentry classroom demonstrated proper use of ladders, the proper way to identify and fix frayed wires, cables, cords.
  • Water/Wastewater classroom offered instruction in confined space entry, tools, and specific lab work for safety  in trade
  • Culinary Arts classroom focused on food safety and reaching across all areas
  • Certified Nursing Assistants classroom displayed hands-on info about hand sanitation and hand washing.
  • Accounting and Office Assistant classroom showed information and hands on material regarding the proper form of correct ergonomics in the workplace
  • Business Construction Technologies classroom prepared and showed a OSHA video
  • Protective Services classroom demonstrated particular trade safety gear along with creating and displaying a fully detailed diorama on safety.
  • A large Safety Banner with Chugach Alaska corporate logo was signed by all staff and students willing to take the pledge of safety.

Center Director Malyn Smith is passionate about safety and the need to cement a solid safety foundation for all.  She shared personal stories about training her own mindset to be alert and aware in the face of unexpected surroundings.  She explained how she taught herself to not become a victim and how not to freeze in a unsafe situation.

Despite the many programs and speakers, a full day conference can become somewhat tedious. And this is where the innovative “flash dances” come in.  At preplanned intermissions, a great selection of fun music started and for ten minutes staff and students alike became animated in a quick and aerobic rush of controlled and safe chaos.  At another program break, homemade chocolate bars and bottles of water energized the event.  Planning for these necessary revivals helped make the whole day program continually vitalizing.

So the day after the Safety Program, what do we see on center?  Well first of all we have just experienced an early morning earthquake and an ice storm, brought on by a large melt.  Everyone is wearing cleats.  There is no horseplay.  The Accounting students sent an email to the Center Director applauding the informative program.  Unsolicited Staff comments include the adjectives, “refreshing” and “productive.”  Safety is clearly on the minds of the over 300 people at the Alaska Job Corps Center.  And that is the way it should be, says the Center Director.  “We want safety to be part of our live and engaging culture at the Alaska Job Corps Center.”

Chugach Educational Services is the center operator of the Alaska Job Corps Center.

Story by Barbara Hunt for Job Corps; photo credits to Shelly Laug

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