Worker Training Program

Sharon D. Beard is the director of the NIEHS Worker Training Program, an innovative program that supports development and delivery of safety and health training programs for workers involved in hazardous waste cleanup and emergency response throughout the nation. Training is delivered by universities, unions, community colleges, and non-profit organizations who are funded through cooperative agreements with the NIEHS Worker Training Program.

An industrial hygienist, Beard has worked with the program for over 25 years. She first became involved with responsibilities to coordinate, evaluate, and improve initiatives surrounding the Environmental Career Worker Training Program (ECWTP), formerly known as the Minority Worker Training Program. The ECWTP trains individuals from disadvantaged and underrepresented communities for sustainable careers in environmental restoration, construction, and other fields. In 2013, Beard was honored with the Lorin Kerr Award from the American Public Health Association (APHA) Occupational Health and Safety Section for her leadership of the ECWTP.

Today, Beard continues to use her expertise to provide expert review, guidance, and leadership in managing a diverse, multi-million-dollar portfolio of NIEHS-funded worker training grants in the areas of hazardous waste handling and transport, emergency response, and nuclear and radiation safety. Beard also works with colleagues in the NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training to facilitate research translation through the Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) Program. PEPH is an umbrella program that brings NIEHS stakeholders together in the shared goal of advancing the impact of environmental public health research at local, regional, and national levels. Notably, Beard is also active in helping address issues surrounding diversity and inclusion at NIEHS.

Beard works on numerous committees to raise awareness and promote engagement on topics surrounding equity, environmental justice, and occupational health. She is currently a member of the NIEHS Diversity Speaker Series Planning Committee, the NIEHS Environmental Health Disparities and Environmental Justice Facility, the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice, and the Brownfields Federal Partnership Interagency Working Group. She is also a member of the APHA and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienist. 

Beard holds a Master of Science degree in environmental science and management from Tufts University in Massachusetts where she received the prestigious Environmental Science and Management Fellowship from the National Urban Fellows, Inc. She also holds Bachelor of Science degree in biology with a minor in business from Western Carolina University in North Carolina.

Selected Publications and Reports