American Industrial Hygiene Association’s (AIHA®) efforts to grow the next generation of occupational safety and health professionals has gotten a boost in the form of an Innovation Grant from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Foundation.

A documentary and a graphic novel

The $10,000 grant, which is intended to help raise awareness about innovation efforts within the association community, will go to AIHA’s IH Professional Pathway™ program, a comprehensive member outreach and public awareness program that was developed and launched by AIHA in 2016. The grant will allow AIHA to expand the program by developing more outreach materials in 2017 including a documentary on industrial hygiene and a graphic novel, bringing the program's career characters to life. 

Attracting new professionals to occupational safety and health careers is crucial, according to Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety & Health Dr. David Michaels, who said the problem is exacerbated by the aging OSH workforce and increasing number of retirements.

"Growing concern" about the shortage

“OSHA recognizes the shortage of younger occupational health physicians and nurses, safety professionals, industrial hygienists and ergonomists,” said Michaels. “There is growing concern about how these gaps will be filled and whether the necessary steps are being taken to grow the next generation of occupational safety and health professionals.”

The IH Professional Pathways program is helping to address that shortage.

Keeping the momentum going

"Industrial hygiene is critically important to people everywhere; these professionals save lives and keep workers safe. We are excited to keep the momentum going through this grant," said AIHA Marketing Manager Ben H. Rome, who had a large role in the development of the multi-faceted outreach program.

AIHA will be publicly recognized at ASAE's 2017 Great Ideas Conference in Orlando, Fla., in March and during ASAE's 2017 Annual Meeting, which will be held Aug. 12-15, in Toronto, Canada. As an award recipient, AIHA's proposal abstract for its IH Professional Pathway program will appear in an e-publication highlighting all 2017 IGP awardees.