The safety profession's future is very bright, post 9/11, according to Cooper's students. "Most see the profession transitioning from its current 'technical' role to a high-powered managerial role, with others saying both managerial and technical aspects are important," he says.
Here are some comments from IU safety students about what attracts them to the field:
- "Safety has personal meaning to me following a tragic event in my life."
- "It enhances management skills."
- "Safety is about learning the psychological aspects of the workplace."
- "It enhances 'life skills'."
- "Makes joining the fire department easier."
- "There is the growing significance that safety plays in the world now."
- "Safety teaches management to people from 'blue-collar' backgrounds."
- "Lots of job opportunities in safety, especially since 9/11."
Cooper says most of his students are high-school graduates who have gone on to college, and chose safety as a way to learn about the world of work. A few have worked previously and see safety as a way of gaining a formal education. About half intend on being safety professionals. Some see a future in risk management.