August 20, 2018 / Larry Sloan​

Supporting Careers in Industrial Hygiene

Editor’s note: this is the sixth and final post in a series on AIHA’s 2016-2018 strategic plan. The previous posts are “Where in the World Are We with Our Strategic Plan?,” “Tending Our Content,” “Maximizing Value for Members,” “AIHA as Coalition-builder,” “Partnering to Generate Content,” and “Delivering Value to Local Section.” The 2016–2018 AIHA Strategic Plan is available on the AIHA website (PDF).


In this final installment of our series on AIHA’s current strategic plan, I’ll discuss strategic focus area #6—supporting IH professionals throughout their careers. One of the ways that we provide this support is through the IH Professional Pathway,™ which defines the needs of professionals at every stage or level of the career so that we can provide services and resources to support the unique needs at each level.

Examples of recent successes in this area include the following:

  • In 2017, we identified and developed two new pieces of content for the IH Professional Pathway™: the technical path for the IH who is pursuing a career path as a specialist in one or more technical areas, as opposed to managing a program of IH; and the 5th level for the IH professional who is at or near retirement and wishes to give back to the profession while passing the torch to the next generation of IH professionals in the workplace. We have defined and continue to enhance our definitions of the needs of these two groups so that we might increase our engagement with them.

  • Through the IH Professional Pathway™ program we have been able to incubate some new programs, specifically the #IAmIH movement, which inspires a grassroots approach to improving the visibility of the profession; and the Women in IH community (member login required), which provides specific support and resources to women leaders in IH.

What’s ahead? Here are a few examples:

  • This autumn, watch for the roll-out of a self-assessment tool on the AIHA website. This tool will lead the user through a brief series of questions to help them identify their career level and then provide customized, targeted information about education and other resources that might be helpful at that level.
We will provide additional information about the 5th level for Emeritus Professionals, as well as opportunities to leverage the knowledge of the AIHA Fellows. For both groups, we will continue to find ways for them to give back to their profession and engage with and mentor professionals from different generations. We are working to define the education needs of the 2nd level (Early Career Professionals) in more detail. AIHA sometimes struggles to maintain relationships with Early Career Professionals after they graduate and enter the work force. An accurate and detailed understanding of their needs for education and other resources will help AIHA to maintain relationships throughout the pre-certification years.AIHA recognizes the need for assisting members with the development of leadership and management skills at all levels of their career. We are working toward partnering with other organizations to provide access for our members to information on leadership and management topics such as communication and business acumen. In addition, we will develop PDCs on leadership and management skills featuring material from our own members with their permission. And in September we will hold the AIHA Future Leaders Institute, which focuses on the development of leadership skills in rising IH professionals.

This concludes our series of blogs on AIHA’s 2016–2018 Strategic Plan. Last month, the AIHA Board of Directors approved a new plan covering the years 2019 through 2021. The plan is available on our website, and AIHA President Cindy Ostrowski will have an article about it in the September issue of The Synergist. If you have any comments or questions about AIHA’s strategic direction, please feel free to contact me​.

Larry Sloan​

Larry Sloan is AIHA’s CEO.


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