2016 Safety Educator of the Year - Sharon Singleton

2016 Safety Educator of the Year, Sharon Singleton and Lisa London

CareerSafe is proud to announce Sharon Singleton of Liberty Corner, New Jersey, as the winner of the 2016 CareerSafe Safety Educator of the Year Award. Singleton was one of five nationwide finalists for the award. Lisa London, CareerSafe Director of Strategic Alliances, presented Singleton with the award at the ACTE Awards Banquet in Las Vegas Wednesday night.

Singleton is the Structured Learning Experience Coordinator at Bonnie Brae, a nationally accredited residential treatment center that provides a home, treatment and education to boys and young men in crisis ages 8 to 21. An important part of her job involves preparing students for transition and discharge, including teaching them life skills such as teamwork, self-advocacy and building interpersonal relationships. While treatment is the most vital aspect for the residents, Singleton says she is striving to create more opportunities for them to learn various mechanical and social skills.

In 2008, while brainstorming ideas to provide students with increased job skills and employment experience prior to their discharge from Bonnie Brae, Singleton and her colleagues came up with "Brae Builders." Brae Builders is a program where students go offsite to work with local Habitat for Humanity chapters twice a week, gaining technical skills, soft skills and safety training in the process.

Within the Brae Builders program, Singleton explained that young men who apply and are accepted are given the title of apprentice and then enrolled into CareerSafe Safety Awareness Training courses, while they begin learning under more experienced students in the program. Students who are interested in a promotion are provided the opportunity to complete OSHA 10-Hour safety training and receive the title of Master Brae Builder. Even if students choose not to participate in the Brae Builders program, Singleton strongly recommends them to take the OSHA 10-Hour General Industry Course as it enhances their employment opportunities.

She regards safety as a top priority that not only allows the program to be incident-free after 100+ students, but also motivates residents to continuously make smart, informed life decisions.

"It is especially important because there is a sense of immortality with young adults and the workplace inexperience adds to the potential for injuries," Singleton said.

As of now, the Brae Builders have built over 40 homes, and Singleton shared that the young men who have participated in Brae Builders are proving to be more successful than their peers who did not, recognizing the benefits that career and tech education are having on them.

"[The boys] often don't have confidence, they don't have self-esteem," Singleton said."They don't have that inner voice telling them they're great. And [after receiving career and tech education skills] they do. They come to me, and they're so excited about receiving their OSHA 10 credential. They know they can be certified, that they don't have to live the life their mom or dad did and can achieve something for themselves."

Singleton also received a letter of congratulation and commendation from Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. Dr. Michaels letter highlighted the important role educators play in youth safety and in preparing students for their future careers, and praised Singleton for her dedication to these essential tasks. It is this devotion that has provided foundational safety and health skills to many students who truly need it to succeed, he said.

CareerSafe is thrilled to be honoring Singleton and is looking forward to seeing her impact on both current and future students. CareerSafe thanks ACTE for hosting the Awards Banquet, and sends our heartiest congratulations to everyone who received an award and/or recognition that night.

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