February 2011, Volume 15, Number 1


Overcoming Language Barriers for Safety, Health

Diverse workers

A recent grant from the Department of Labor is helping MDC’s North Campus promote occupational safety and health in small businesses with Spanish- and Creole-speaking workers. Aimed at providing introductory training to employees with limited English proficiency who work in high-risk industries such as construction, the Susan Harwood Training Grant Pilot Program offers training needs assessment; outreach to workers and employers; training materials and delivery; and employer technical assistance.

Filling a Need

Currently, there are no occupational safety and training materials available in Haitian-Creole, and Spanish materials are available for only a limited number of topics.

The $100,000 grant enables MDC to develop training materials for the construction industry – and industry in general – in English, Haitian-Creole and Spanish. MDC also holds workshops – one covering workers’ rights and responsibilities, and the other serving as an introduction to health and safety, which are given in Haitian-Creole and Spanish.

First of Its Kind

MDC plans to use the findings of the project evaluation to continue improvement efforts in occupational safety and health training.

“We are very pleased with this grant award, which speaks directly to the mission of Miami Dade College to provide access and training to the underserved,” said Dr. José A. Vicente, president of MDC’s North Campus and MDC West. “Everyone in the community benefits when our most challenged populations and small businesses have a pathway to success.”

— NM

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