Washington State Training Center Wins START Award

The site teaches at-risk high school juniors and seniors to make aerospace parts from blocks of titanium, aluminum, nylon, and phenolic resin.

The Work Force Development Center in Mukilteo, Wash., has received its second safety and health award from the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), which announced the award June 2, saying this one is for the center's second work site for aerospace assembly training. It is the ninth work site in the state to be recognized through the START program -- Safety through Achieving Recognition Together.

Last year, the center's first work site was the first Washington nonprofit to ever receive the award, which recognizes occupational safety and health excellence that leads to a safer workplace, lower costs, and improved morale.

WFDC is a nonprofit vocational training organization that provides apprenticeships for disabled, socioeconomically disadvantaged, or otherwise at-risk high school juniors and seniors in aerospace assembly. The students earn minimum wage and high school credit while getting valuable experience with the tools and processes in the aerospace industry to prepare them for entering the workforce. The second work site specializes in using Computer Numerical Controlled machine tools that cut, drill, and carve out aerospace parts from blocks of titanium, aluminum, nylon, and phenolic resin.

"Learning to work safely in an industrial environment is an essential part of our students' educational experience," said Carmela Morelli, WFDC's director of Human Resources & Student Services. "We are so proud of our employees and students for their commitment to following the guidance of the L&I safety and health consultants."

To participate in the program, employers must have an injury rate below their industry's average for at least a year and must also allow safety and health experts to visit the work site and review workplace hazards, examine safety and health programs, and interview workers and managers. "Work Force Development Center is clearly a safety leader in the community that others can learn from," said Lou Flores, Consultation Program manager for L&I's Division of Occupational Safety and Health. "This award is a tribute to the center's hard work and commitment to making sure that trainees and employees are safe on the job and learn safe work habits that will last a lifetime."

For more information on START, visit www.Lni.wa.gov/Safety/Topics/AtoZ/Start/.

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