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Work Force Development Center Earns Second Safety Excellence Award

Work Force Development Center (WFDC) in Mukilteo has received a second safety and health award from the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). This one is for the center’s second worksite for aerospace assembly training.

The worksite is the ninth in the state to be recognized through the START program, which stands for Safety through Achieving Recognition Together. In 2015, the center’s first worksite was the first Washington nonprofit to ever receive the award.

The START award recognizes occupational safety and health excellence which leads to a safer workplace, lower costs and improved morale. It’s modeled after a federal program.

The WFDC is a nonprofit vocational training organization that provides apprenticeships for disabled, socioeconomically disadvantaged or otherwise at-risk high school juniors and seniors in aerospace assembly. Students earn minimum wage and high-school credit while getting valuable experience with the tools and processes in the aerospace industry to prepare them for entering the work force.

The award winning worksite specializes in using Computer Numerical Controlled machine tools that cut, drill and carve out aerospace parts from blocks of titanium, aluminum, nylon and phenolic resin.

“Learning to work safely in an industrial environment is an essential part of our students’ educational experience,” said Carmela Morelli, WFDC Director of Human Resources & Student Services. “We are so proud of our employees and students for their commitment to following the guidance of the L&I safety and health consultants.”

To participate in the program, employers must have an injury rate below their industry’s average for at least a year. They must also allow safety and health experts to visit the worksite and review workplace hazards, examine safety and health programs and interview workers and managers.

“Work Force Development Center is clearly a safety leader in the community that others can learn from,” said Lou Flores, Consultation Program Manager for L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health. “This award is a tribute to the center’s hard work and commitment to making sure that trainees and employees are safe on the job and learn safe work habits that will last a lifetime.”

WFDC has 54 employees and 99 high school-age student trainees from schools in three counties at its aerospace assembly training center worksites in Mulkiteo.

Photo credit: San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives viaHackers / No known copyright restrictions