News & Events

Waubonsee Grant Will Help Temporary Workers

Waubonsee Community College’s Workforce Development Division will offer a free workplace safety seminar on Dec. 15 for employers about keeping temporary workers safe. “Playing it Safe: What Every Staffing Agency Needs to Know about OSHA Regulations,” will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Aurora Campus, Room 160. The seminar will go over the increased safety risks faced by temporary workers, liability of staffing agencies to ensure the safety and health of temporary workers and information about Waubonsee’s OSHA-funded Basic Safety Training program.

The training is made possible because Waubonsee has again received the U.S. Department of Labor’s Susan Harwood Training Grant to provide training to temporary workers. Waubonsee officials will use the $107,525 grant to help employers provide health and safety training for the region’s exceptional number of temporary workers. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration awarded a total of $10.5 million in one-year federal safety and health training grants to 80 nonprofits across the nation. The grants are to provide education and training programs to help high-risk workers and their employers recognize workplace hazards, implement injury prevention measures and understand rights and responsibilities. Waubonsee is one of only 26 recipients to receive the grant as a follow-up to the 2014 grant cycle, awarded for demonstrating an ability to provide services.

“Faced with a rebounding yet fragile economy, employers are increasingly turning to temporary help to fill a labor force gap,” said Cheryl Gray, Waubonsee Workforce Development Grant Writer. She stated that in Kane and Kendall Counties during 2014, the number of temporary jobs exceeded the national average by 267 percent. She added that during 2011-2015, the region’s temporary services industry grew by 72 percent, compared to growth across the country, which averaged 24 percent.

The primary goal of the grant is to reduce workplace risks for temporary workers by increasing their safety knowledge. Training topics include worker rights under OSHA, lockout/tagout, machine guarding, hazard communications, materials handling, ergonomics, respiratory protection, electrical safety, means of egress, powered industrial trucks and fire safety. Training will be provided in English and in Spanish. Free seminar tickets for the Dec. 15 training session are available at or by calling (630) 906-4132.

“The training that we have accomplished and the fact that we are the only ones in the country doing it, that’s something Waubonsee can be proud of,” said Lesa Norris, Waubonsee Dean for Workforce Development.

Norris said that there are nearly 300 staffing agencies in the five counties that Waubonsee serves.

“We don’t take that for granted in this region,” Norris said. “The fact that Waubonsee jumped on it right away and got this grant shows that. This year we are the only college in the state who received these funds.”