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Looking to The Future, American Society of Safety Engineers Expand Its Reach to Students

Posted in on Mon, Oct 22, 2007

Des Plaines, IL (October 22, 2007) — In light of the shrinking workforce, which continues to age and retire while the demand for occupational safety, health and environmental professionals continues to grow, the American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) President Michael W. Thompson, CSP, took steps to promote the profession in schools and noted to members, “this is a call to action for each of us.”

In a letter sent recently to high school counselors countrywide on the importance of the occupational safety, health and environmental (SH&E) profession and the many opportunities available, Thompson noted, “The SH&E profession is a dynamic and rewarding one, one that continues to grow worldwide and to make a difference as SH&E professionals work around the clock to make sure the millions of people who go to work every day return home safely.”

In the letter, Thompson included a copy of the “Career Guide to the Safety Profession” developed jointly by the ASSE Foundation (ASSEF) and the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP). The Guide is also available on the Foundation web site at under publications. Thompson asked the counselors to share this information with their students and parents.

“We hope you will share this information with your students and their parents in an effort to educate them on the many diverse opportunities available in the occupational safety, health and environmental profession,” Thompson wrote. “This profession requires highly educated, competent and motivated practitioners. The Guide provides an overview of the challenging careers available to safety and health professionals along with critical information needed in selecting the right undergraduate and graduate programs that meet the individual needs for entering a career in safety as well as continuous professional growth.”

Thompson also noted that ASSE is an organization that supports its members on all levels, including students through mentoring, career counseling as well as scholarships. The ASSE Foundation provides scholarships, research grants, professional development grants and more for safety, health and environmental students.

In his November 2007 Professional Safety Journal editorial Thompson notes, “As we look to the future, ASSE and each of us as members and SH&E professionals must find ways to pay it forward – for our profession and for the students of today, our future leaders.”

Other ASSE efforts aimed at reaching youth about safety and the SH&E profession include the annual ASSE kids’ “Safety-on-the-Job” poster contest for children aged five through 14; the “Safety Suitcase”, an interactive tool used by ASSE members in elementary schools to educate nine to 11 year olds about safety, found at; the annual Future Safety Leaders Conference to be held in November in Nashville, TN; the more than $106,000 in scholarships available to students from the ASSE Foundation; the 50 ASSE student sections operating countrywide; and scholarships provided to students to attend the annual ASSE Professional Development Conference each June.

As for the aging workforce, ASSE experts note that while the baby boomer generation, those born between 1946 and 1964 and known to be the largest segment of our population today, is aging and beginning to retire, the labor pool following this generation is shrinking. Companies are not only faced with losing qualified and valuable employees, but having a hard time replacing them. This includes the SH&E field.

Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, Illinois-based ASSE is the oldest and largest professional safety society and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its 31,000 members manage, supervise and consult on safety, health and environmental issues in all industries, government, education, labor and insurance. For more information please go to the ASSE membership page at

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