Neshoba Central students earn OSHA certification
Thirty-nine Neshoba Central High School students earned OSHA 10 certification in recent weeks, putting them “a step ahead” when they enter the workforce, administrators said.
The certification program provides students with basic and more advanced training about common safety and health hazards on the job. Students received OSHA 10 course completion cards at the end of the training.
The certification will be a major plus, administrators said, to help students secure future jobs in a number of industrial fields.
Dr. Lundy Brantley, superintendent of education, said OSHA 10 certification “is part of our vision to graduate kids with more than a diploma because credentialing is very important to career success for these kids.
“When these students go to an employer who requires OSHA 10, that employer is saving time and money because they don’t have to be trained.”
The group included 25 engineering students and nine agriculture/FFA students. Engineering and agriculture along with digital media are three career technical programs offered at the high school.
Engineering teacher Sedera Anderson initiated the OSHA classes, which students took last semester while the school was on a hybrid schedule.
“Any kind of industry has to follow OSHA guidelines,” she said. “We did the general industry so it kind of covered all of them.”
The students, many of which aspire careers in such fields as engineering, architecture, computer science and music production, underwent at least 10 hours of online training on 14 different levels.
“They had to complete each levels and score 70 or above to move to the next,” Anderson said. “They had to pass the final exam which covered all levels with a 70 or above score.”
The levels included such things as fire hazards, ladder safety, hazardous materials, ergonomics, among others.
“It even talked about harassment in the work place,” Anderson said. “It basically covers any work hazards that may affect an industry.”
Engineering student Logan Flowers was eager to gain the certification. When asked his reasoning, he quickly replied: “Well, I’m not going to lie to you. It can increase my paycheck!”
Flowers hopes to pursue a career in computer engineering or computer science after college.
He said attaining the OSHA certification could have been difficult at times but “it was all about how much you applied yourself.”
He particularly enjoyed the class on the different types of hard hats.
Most of the other classes were things you were taught as a kid but not the hard hats, he said.
Flowers also liked the class on workplace violence, which addressed how to report harassment as well as how you would defuse an unexpected situation.
Agriculture instructor Derek Huffman said the certification is already paying off for some of his students who have part time jobs.
“From a vocational setting these days, having OSHA certification gives these students an advantage,” he said. “Some businesses in our community have already offered some of our students a pay increase.
“If they go into a vocational workforce setting after school or college, they have to meet OSHA guidelines and the certification gives them that advantage.”
High School Assistant Principal Dana McLain noted that these students would have an advantage over other uncertified job seekers with the same qualifications.
McLain said the OSHA 10 certification program was “just another example of how our district is really investing in our students. We really want them to excel once they graduate from us.”
The Neshoba County School District paid for the students to go through the program.
“The district showed that we care enough to invest in our students’ success,” she said. “Typically, the individual or the employer has to pay for this training. When our students present their cards which show their OSHA 10 certification, that gives them an advantage.”
High School Principal Jason Gentry said the certification gives the students “a leg up on the competition. We have always said when two people are neck-in-neck for a job, if one of them has this certification, it gives him or her an advantage in moving forward. That’s real important to us.”
“It taught them that they will have a voice in any industry they work in by being knowledgeable on OSHA. They will be involved because they see the hazard each day,” she said.