Part of the University of Findlay’s mission and vision is to offer students a transformative experience by leveraging the University’s location, size and values to provide experiential learning in every program of study. A prime example of this transformative experience is the networking relationship, now 30-years strong, between UF’s Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health Management Programs and its nationally recognized All Hazards Training Center (AHTC).
UF’s academic programs include a Bachelor of Science in Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health Management and a Master of Science in Environmental, Safety and Health Management. Certificates in emergency and disaster management and environmental management are also available at the graduate level. The undergraduate program combines class work with professional internships and hands-on training in worker safety, emergency preparedness and response, hazardous materials transportation, hazardous waste operations, first aid/CPR, and confined space entry and rescue at the AHTC, which is located just four miles from the UF campus.
The AHTC trains across a spectrum of key industries, including public first responders, energy and petroleum, agribusiness, consumer product manufacturing, automotive, chemical production and shipping, foods and beverages, transportation, electronic news gathering, education and more. UF students not only get the theory and experiential learning from the academic programs, but also the hands-on training and required certification to begin work early in their education through networking opportunities within the industry through the AHTC.
While completing their degrees, all of the undergraduate and many of the graduate students in UF’s academic programs take several of the AHTC training courses. “These courses are one of the things that sets our graduates apart from students coming out of other academic programs and ensures they will get a good paying career,” said Tim Murphy, Ph.D., chair of the Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health Management Programs at University of Findlay. UF students typically complete workshops at the AHTC that not only span across the primary regulatory agencies and training requirements, but also count toward credits for graduation.
The hands-on training students receive includes everything from controlling an incidental spill, and entering the hot zone to offensively stop a spill to responding to natural disasters, medical, security, fire and more. Eve Gray, a 2006 graduate of UF’s Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health Management Program, continues to use the knowledge she gained through the AHTC. “As a student, I certainly took advantage of just about every course the center offered. The courses offered a different experience than my other college courses. I was able to learn and apply technical skills through coursework and almost more importantly, live hands-on experiences. From the courses I took, ranging from hazardous waste operations and emergency response certifications to train-the-trainer courses, I continue to use the material I learned from the AHTC today in my career as a terminal, transport and rail emergency preparedness group supervisor for Marathon Petroleum Company,” said Gray.
Since 1986, UF’s AHTC has trained nearly a quarter-million professionals in a wide range of safety, security, emergency preparedness and response and environmental management workshops. Many among those have been UF alumni returning for continued professional development, thus completing the circle of successful industry networking. Very few universities in the United States have both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in environmental safety along with a nationally recognized training center that develops and delivers customized corporate-wide training to both the private and public sectors. “This network of key industries and clients opens the door for our students to apply for a host of different opportunities. In fact, companies come to us asking for UF ESOH students and alumni,” said Kevin Smith, Director of Program Development at the AHTC. He estimates that nearly 80 percent of student internships and career opportunities have resulted from connections with the AHTC.