The Future of the EHS Workforce in the High-Tech Sector
SESHA Webinar The Future of the EHS Workforce in the High-Tech Sector February 12, 2020, 4:00 PM EST
Sanjay Baliga and Nikole Reaksecker, Founders of Vichara Partners
Executive Summary of the Webinar:
Many industries, including the high-tech sector, are facing a severe talent shortage. As senior EHS professionals leave the field, the loss of knowledge will jeopardize the industry’s ability to address chemical, physical and biological hazards and risks, threatening the very foundation of the industry and posing serious business continuity concerns. During this SESHA webinar, the founders of Vichara Partners, Sanjay Baliga and Nikole Reaksecker, will explain these EHS labor challenges in greater detail.
More Detailed Explanation of the Webinar:
Employing their extensive education, training, knowledge, creativity, and hard work, Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) professionals in the United States have protected workers, communities and the environment from the hazards of modern society. This is especially the case in the high-tech sector, where a robust EHS workforce have created corporate and industry-wide programs to mitigate harms from chemical, physical, biological, and related hazards inherent in the design, manufacturing, use, and end-of-life of innovative products and services.
The incredibly positive legacy resulting from an experienced national EHS labor-pool seems to now be under threat for a variety of reasons. One reason is shifting demographics. Many EHS professionals who created hazard based corporate EHS programs starting in the 1970s, are beginning to retire in mass and there does not appear to be enough younger professionals to take their place. Another challenge is that younger EHS professionals tend to focus on broad corporate impacts as opposed to specific hazards. Finally, societal expectations have shifted away from life-long careers at one company and this transition makes it exceedingly difficult to develop the expertise needed to be successful at managing a specific company’s risk.
Moreover, there also appears to be a shift in corporate demands for a robust EHS workforce. Stakeholders are mandating more responsible corporate behaviors, focusing on the sustainability of supply chains, products, and services. The shift from command and control government regulations to market-based mechanisms has dramatically changed the landscape. Companies that have not traditionally invested in strong EHS programs are now being held to a higher standard, requiring them to commit EHS resources to manage societal mandates and risk. However, the traditional mechanisms companies used in the past to access EHS knowledge to address hazard and impact are changing. For example, the long-established hiring practices of companies have changed moving from retaining specialized experts to generalists. More and more, companies are relying on outside EHS expertise outsourced to consulting companies or contractors.
These EHS labor demand and supply dynamics could create havoc in the next ten years and beyond, potentially jeopardizing the corporate EHS programs that kept us safe and sustainable. It’s safe to say that without a robust EHS workforce, the hazards and harms from an increasingly high-tech society will not be understood and managed.
SESHA and the sustainable business advisory group, Vichara Partners, are embarking on a year-long program to understand these EHS workforce concerns. During this SESHA webinar, the founders of Vichara Partners, Sanjay Baliga and Nikole Reaksecker, will explain these EHS labor challenges in greater detail.
Sanjay Baliga, a globally recognized expert in sustainable business and corporate risk management, has over a quarter century of professional experience working at the interface of sustainability-related science, management and policy. Baliga is a Co-Founder and Senior Partner at Vichara Partners, a global advisory group. Before founding Vichara Partners, Baliga was Director of Sustainable Manufacturing at the global industry association, SEMI and its affiliated technology partner associations, the Fab Owners Alliance (FOA), the FlexTech Alliance, the MEMS and Sensors Industry Group (MSIG), the Electronic System Design Alliance (ESD Alliance), and the PV Group. At the time of this departure in 2018, SEMI represented more than 2,000+ member companies located around the world, all involved in the manufacturing of high technology devices for the electronics, automotive, renewable energy, defense, lighting, and medical industries. Baliga served on the SESHA national board of directors from 2008 until 2017.
Nikole Reaksecker has over 25 years of professional experience working in natural resource policy, business administration, stakeholder engagement, corporate social responsibility, regulatory compliance and environmental education. Reaksecker is a Co-Founder and Senior Partner at Vichara Partners, a global advisory group. Before founding Vichara Partners, Reaksecker was Chief Engagement Officer at Eco-Engage, a boutique advisory practice that she created in 2012 to provide consulting services to non-profit organizations, professional societies and small companies. Her work focused on outreach and media relations as well as support to companies examining the social and environmental impacts of their business operations. She led strategic planning initiatives, facilitated on-site workshops, and worked closely with clients to increase their organizational effectiveness. Reaksecker is skilled at building consensus, cultivating strategic partnerships, facilitating dialogue and improving communication across organizations. Throughout her career, Reaksecker has been known for creating a culture of collaboration, bringing together people with a variety of viewpoints to protect the environment. She has worked extensively with government, industry, not-for-profit organizations and advocacy groups to find common ground among uncommon allies.
For More Information About the SESHA / Vichara Partners EHS Workforce Development Initiative:
Please visit: https://www.vicharapartners.com/workforce-development
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