WETP Strategic Plan
Worker Education and Training Program
In February 2007, the staffs of the Worker Education and Training Program (WETP) and the National Clearinghouse began the process of reviewing and updating, as necessary, the WETP Strategic Plan published in 2002. The WETP developed this strategic plan to be consistent with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) vision, which includes identification and prevention of hazardous exposures. The WETP uses the environmental sciences to reduce risk and protect worker and public health through training. As was the case in developing the initial NIEHS WETP Strategic Plan, stakeholder (awardees, other Federal agencies, and Champions of the Program) inclusion was a central part of the process.
To achieve this, key issues were identified and shared with the Clearinghouse Advisory Board in March 2007. In March 2007, at the National Trainers' Exchange, the WETP used a group activity during a plenary session to obtain input from the attendees on the program's direction for the next five years. The WETP staff also participated in many of the Awardees' Advisory Board meetings in an effort to inform Advisory Board members of this effort, and to gather their thoughts as to where the program should be headed.
A champions' meeting was held on September 25, 2007 to gain input from those outside the organization, but familiar with the program. These champions included individuals with expertise in occupational health and safety and knowledge of the WETP. The meeting primarily focused on the strategic issues facing the program, giving rise to discussions about several topics, including the need to: expand the program; continue developing partnerships with a variety of organizations; give minority populations more access to information; continue to integrate advanced training technologies into the training; and demonstrate the importance of the WETP's work in the national emergency response arena.
This process also concluded that the WETP Core Program rests on the recognition in the environmental response and cleanup community that worker protection is dependent on the compliance by contractors and governmental agencies with the provisions of 29 CFR 1910.120 . That is, whether traditional superfund sites, uncontrolled hazardous waste sites, or sites emanating from a natural disaster or an act of terrorism, the components of worker protection do not change.
Finally, the WETP Awardee Meeting and Workshop, titled The Future of Hazardous Materials Cleanup and Training (http://tools.niehs.nih.gov/wetp/events.cfm?id=2426) , was held October 17-19, 2007 in Chapel Hill, NC. This meeting allowed the WETP to present key priorities and solicit final input into the strategic plan. The strategic plan owes its insights and direction, in large part, to the hard work of the WETP staff, the awardees who provided input and feedback, and the program's champions.