Earlier today Aera Energy LLC presented California State University, Bakersfield with a $500,000 endowment for an educational concentration to prepare occupational safety and health professionals. The endowment establishes the Aera Energy Concentration in Occupational Safety and Health Management which will help meet regional labor force needs and expand career opportunities in the field of occupational safety and health.
The donation and announcement of the endowment was made during the 2010 Symposium of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) at the Rabobank Convention Center.
"We are pleased to be partnering with CSUB to solidify educational offerings for future safety and health professionals," said Aera President and CEO Gaurdie Banister. "Within oil and other industries there is a tremendous demand for these important professionals, and that demand is projected to grow with pending retirements. Every day we want all our employees and contractors to go home alive and well. Safety and health professionals are vital to achieving that goal for us and all employers in Kern County."
Aera's endowment will support the occupational safety and health management (OSHM) concentration in the environmental resource management (ERM) program in the School of Business and Public Administration. The concentration includes a four-course sequence taught by current industry leaders who provide students with real world experiences and standards.
"We are grateful to Aera for their generous endowment that will help students and industry well into the future," said CSUB President Horace Mitchell. "During these especially challenging financial times, partnerships are essential to ensure students have access to a variety of educational programs, and that businesses will have the qualified employees they need to succeed. We look forward to watching this concentration grow."
Joe Bariffi, principal health and safety advisor for Aera who was instrumental in designing the OSHM concentration, emphasized the challenges of recruiting in his field. "I spent two weeks this year recruiting interns and professionals from across the nation. These professionals are critical and work within every level of the organization. Having a local program will help us as a community to 'grow our own' experts, and CSUB will be providing what employers need."
The OSHM concentration is under way with curriculum developed last year thanks to donations from ASSE and Work Force Staffing. The Aera endowment provides immediate and significant financial resources for courses, adjunct faculty members and student career services, but other partners are needed to ensure long term sustainability. At the check presentation, Banister challenged other businesses to join the effort and ensure long-term program stability.
For additional information about the OSHM program or to become a partner, contact Beverly Byl at CSUB by calling (661) 654-3334.
For more information:Beverly Byl
Media ContactColleen Dillaway, Director of Public Affairs & Communications