A Clovis High School construction teacher in the Regional Occupation Program won CareerSafe’s 2015 Safety Educator of the Year award. John “Jay” Eichmann, one of 12 nationwide finalists, was presented the award at the National Career Tech VISION Conference in New Orleans.
The award was created to recognize educators who instill career skills in their students, while also prioritizing the importance of safety in all aspects of life.
“My students are learning that working safe is the mark of a professional. They realize pretty quickly that they’re training to be professionals in the workforce,” said Eichmann.
After spending almost 20 years working in the electronic systems industry, Eichmann, a former United States Navy member, became involved with Career and Technical Education where he strives to teach students to stay safe when working in dangerous situations.
Part of Eichmann’s class program is to complete the OSHA 10-hour training, which helps students familiarize themselves with safety. Students must complete a safety awareness walk through their campus to learn about chemical storage, lighting safety, non-skid surfaces and fire safety.
“If they already have (the OSHA training) completed, they are ahead of their competition. It does not matter if you are working in construction or working in the mall, you are going to be far above your competition,” said Eichmann.
Eichmann’s students have had success with their OSHA credentials, and virtually every student who has been hired cites his or her OSHA credential as a primary reason he or she was chosen over the competition.
“Hands-on career and technical education classes give [students] the ability to complete tasks, but also proves to them that they need the academic background to be successful,” Eichmann said. Each month, Eichmann distinguishes one standout student and highlights them on the class website.
Clovis High’s Regional Occupation Program students, partnered with local contractors, complete community projects like building eco-friendly gardens, small full-scale homes and the establishing of a Women in Construction Club.
Eichmann also focuses on teaching students necessary soft skills to excel in resume writing and interview techniques. “Partnerships and support is the key to success as teachers,” said Eichmann.
As the recipient of the 2015 Safety Educator of the Year Award, Eichmann was presented with a $5,000 grant for his classroom and a paid membership to ACTE for one year. Eichmann plans to use the monetary prize to give his students their own personal protective equipment to take with them as they begin their careers.