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On behalf of DPH and the many partners involved, congratulations to the teen winners and finalists of the 5th annual Safe Jobs for Youth Poster Contest!

Secretary of Labor Ronald Walker congratulates the finalists of the 2015 Safe Jobs for Youth Poster Contest.

MA Secretary of Labor Ronald Walker congratulates the finalists of the 2015 Safe Jobs for Youth Poster Contest.

Last month’s award ceremony at the State House was inspiring as always. Seeing finalists and their families come together with state agencies, community partners, and legislators made it a special occasion for all. The momentum of this one-day event helps us here at DPH stay motivated all year long.

All the finalist posters in this year’s contest have been well-received by teen audiences. But the winning poster, by 17-year-old Cori Farrow of North Attleboro, was a landslide victory among the 68 youth judges from across the state.

Congrats to Cori Farrow of N. Attleboro - the artist behind this year's winning poster!

Congrats to Cori Farrow of N. Attleboro – the artist behind this year’s winning poster!

While we learn a lot every year from going out to youth for their vote about what kinds of messages and designs catch their eye and get them thinking, this is the first time that the winning poster has won by such a wide margin. And it reinforces what many of us already know: social media dominates youth culture today.

Why do teens like this poster so much? Comments from the five youth judging groups included:

  • All teens (and even many adults!) immediately recognize and are drawn to these icons, so it grabs attention
  • While a serious subject, social media lightens the message so it’s more appealing
  • The slogan is catchy, straightforward, and makes a good point: that many teens don’t recognize unsafe working conditions as easily as they do these icons, but they should

The judges also weighed in on why the poster would reach all different types of youth:

  • Since all teens can relate to social media apps, everyone can understand the message
  • Even teens who don’t use social media can still identify the icons, making it clear how teens should approach safety

Take a look at the eleven outstanding poster finalists:

Would you have voted the same as the teens?

Use of social media is something to think about for all who work to promote safer, healthier lives for our future generations: How can we draw on it to help frame positive health messages for teens? The answers likely lie with the very youth we’re trying to reach.

Thank you, Cori, for helping us to raise awareness about the importance of workplace health and safety for teens. The next steps, in spreading the word, creating safer work environments and providing appropriate preparation and supervision to teen workers, are on the rest of us.

Written By:


Health Communications Specialist in the Occupational Health and Safety Program.

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