It should be noted that the title of this presentation includes the terms "interactive" and "cooperative" with respect to opportunities for collaboration between the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and the National Association of Industrial Technology (NAIT) and makes no mention of safety program accreditation. However, as I accumulated data and ideas for this presentation, and in my numerous conversations with colleagues and members of both ASSE and NAIT, all roads eventually led back to the topic of safety program accreditation and how ASSE and NAIT should, or should not, be cooperative in that endeavor. It should be noted here that ASSE does not accredit safety programs but has a long-standing professional relationship with the American Board of Engineering Technology (ABET) for that purpose. While it was certainly not my intention, I don't think I could have stumbled upon a topic with more academic opinion and passion than the one I have chosen to undertake here. Additionally, I am quite unsure if my colleagues who prompted me to raise this issue were wishing me ill or well. Remember the old proverb…don't kill the messenger. In most cases the only way some safety professionals would even discuss the issue was under the condition of anonymity. At any rate, here goes.
While ASSE and NAIT have, for many decades, been the most influential organized bodies of association, collaboration, and education in all things occupational safety and industrial technology in the United States, the American Society of Safety Engineers is, without question, the leading body of safety education and the premier sponsor and advocate for safety professionals around the country. As a professional organization ASSE provides educational programs, sponsors safety oriented legislation, and is a strong promoter of professional membership development among its members. Having worked with ASSE for many years both as a safety professional and a safety academic, I have nothing but praise for the leadership and mission of ASSE and the support they have given to our academic specialty group. ASSE, by its very name, is safety.
Similarly, the National Association of Industrial Technology provides the same professional opportunities to its membership encompassing a wide range of specialties across the industrial technology profession. Having recently attended the NAIT executive board meeting inSt. Louis, I can testify to the passion these men and women have for the field of industrial technology, both academic and professional. The NAIT executive director and associate director were adamant in their desire to provide only the very best for their organization. One major difference that is painfully obvious between ASSE and NAIT is that while ASSE can focus efforts solely on safety related issues, NAIT encompasses a vast array of specialties including, safety, graphics, manufacturing systems, industry, and electricity/electronic/computer technology to name just a few. The NAIT specialty divisions are many and the resources, as in all academics, few.