The Trinidad State Junior College Occupational Safety and Health program began offering courses via distance learning in 1996, and with the assistance of this and a prior Training Project Grant from NIOSH, all required and most elective courses for the TSJC Occupational Safety and Health Associate of Applied Science degree program were converted for Internet delivery. The vast majority of the students in the online degree program have been and continue to be individuals who, for various reasons, gained an interest in occupational safety and health and were transferred or promoted into positions in this discipline, but who have not previously completed a formal education in this field. With the gradual reduction of funding to higher education across Colorado bringing TSJC's annual budget from over $13 million in the late 1990s to just $6.5 million for the 2006-2007 academic year, funding from NIOSH has allowed the OSHT program to not only survive, but also to thrive and continue to grow. Perhaps most importantly, as enrollment in the degree program grew dramatically during the same time period that funding lessened, NIOSH-funded tuitionships for students who had no access to other types of financial assistance for their higher education allowed those students to achieve their educational and professional goals. Additionally, it is obvious that the need for occupational safety and health training and education via distance learning, and specifically, through the Internet, not only continues to exist, but is growing at a steady rate. More specialized online safety training is also in demand, for Spanish speaking employees and trainers, as well as for medical and dental health care workers and military personnel.
Trinidad State Junior College, Occupational Safety and Health Technology Program, Trinidad, CO 81082