Rhodes program featured at safety council


Danae King | The Lima News Nanette Smith, with Rhodes State College, speaks about the college's Environmental, Health and Safety program at the West Central Ohio Safety Council on Tuesday morning.
Danae King | The Lima News Nanette Smith, with Rhodes State College, speaks about the college's Environmental, Health and Safety program at the West Central Ohio Safety Council on Tuesday morning.

LIMA — When Nanette Smith’s students leave her class at Rhodes State College, they’re able to teach others what they’ve learned.

Though it’s not a teaching program, being able to train others is an important part of the Environmental Health and Safety Technology program at Rhodes.

“My students are competent [Environmental Health and Safety] professionals when they leave,” said Smith, an assistant professor in the program, who spoke to the West Central Ohio Safety Council on Tuesday morning.

The program is meant to “prepare students to apply skills in science, communication, health issues, environmental compliance and workplace safety,” according to Rhodes’ website.

About 73 business people attended the presentation, during which Smith described the program, its benefits and was hoping to allow for more exposure to the program, which is about 10 to 15 years old.

It typically has five to 10 students a semester, and, though small, the relatively young field is gaining popularity, Smith said.

“There are a lot of people who want to have that expertise who are already working,” Smith said. “You don’t have to be the person in the role to get the degree.”

The associate degree program can be applied in many ways, including leading to careers as safety specialists or coordinators, environmental technicians, data collection and more, Smith said.

It can also be used to further an employee’s education and extend his or her job responsibilities.

“It’s a good opportunity for not only young people but for those who are already working in an environment that EHS is of value, that their workers become more educated and have more of a background in EHS,” Smith said.

Students learn problem-solving skills and how to respond to hazards that may come up. They’re also trained to be part of a team and to assess problems with others, she said.

“Students were getting exposure to a lot of things so they were competent,” she said.

Smith wanted the attendees to know the Rhodes program is strong.

“I do want to encourage you to consider Rhodes,” she said. “Whether it’s additional training or going for a full-fledged degree.”

The program has online options as well.

“Lifelong learning is critical, especially in the EHS field because rules are always changing, regulations tend to become stiffer over time,” Smith said. “The more workers who are educated in this area, the better for the company. It’s an investment.”

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