The Continuing Education Program (CE) has been a central component of the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety since its inception in 1977. The CE program covers the vast geographic area of Region X that include Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska, and diverse rural and urban workforce. It works to serve occupational health practitioners, employers, and employees through courses that address common needs across states and industries. To effectively deliver courses in this challenging region, the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety uses a combination of open-enrollment courses in large population centers (Seattle and Spokane, WA; Portland, OR; Boise, ID; and, Anchorage, AK) and alternative methods (video, e-learning, and customized on-site training) to provide training in more remote areas. Using sound training methods, the Northwest Center offers a consistent schedule of high-quality safety and health training programs and courses.
The Northwest Center for Occupational Safety and Health has leveraged its resources to expand offerings through liaisons with several additional CE training programs. In 1995, the DEOHS CE program was approved as the Region X Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Education Center and offers authorized OSHA Training Institute (OTI) courses to its yearly schedule of classes. In 2003, CE became a member of the Western Region University Consortium (WRUC) funded by the NIEHS Worker Education and Training Program to deliver high-quality training to workers involved in handling hazardous waste or in responding to emergency releases of hazardous materials.
CE also works to address the professional practice training needs by collaborating with local occupational health and safety organizations, businesses, labor groups, and government. CE worked with Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, businesses and labor groups to provide content and a forum to explore the science and best practices for several emerging issues including the safe use of hazardous drugs, global harmonization, and underground construction safety. Another example is CE's participation in the Washington Safety Patient Handling Steering Committee (SPH) - a labor, management, and government partnership established following the 2006 passage of legislation requiring safe patient handling programs in Washington acute are hospitals. Currently, CE is starting a new effort in the area of sustainability by collaborating with new partners (e.g. Northwest Green Chemistry and Northwest Health Environment and Laboratory Professionals) to offer training on the transitioning to safer chemicals, alternative chemical selection, and implementation of green practices. These collaborations have supported new grant opportunities, such as the one with Molecular Design Research Network, which allows CE to serve as a catalyst for discussing strategies for communicating safe chemical use.