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Sara Rattigan

 

Posted by Sara Rattigan, Health Communication Specialist at DPH.

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First place winner Shari Coté stands beside her poster

This week was an example of what makes my job worth it. At a State House ceremony, our community partner MassCOSH and eight state agency members of MA YES Team came together to honor the eleven teen winners of our third annual Safe Jobs for Youth Contest.

MDPH’s Teens at Work Project, within the Occupational Health Surveillance Program, is largely data driven: We track info on the number and types of work-related injuries to MA teens as a critical starting point for intervention development. While our work is essential to keeping teens safer on the job, we rarely get to work directly with youth.

But once a year, through our poster contest, we call directly on teens to help us raise awareness among their peers about this important issue. And every year we are blown away: this year by the quality of the 174 entries, the thoughtful comments from 60 youth judges, and the attendance at our winner event.

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The crowded Member’s Lounge at the State House.

This year’s ceremony was brimming with diverse attendees—winners and their families, agency and community partners, state legislators, press. Keynote speakers MA EOLWD Secretary Joanne Goldstein and MA DESE Deputy Commissioner Alan Ingram shared words of wisdom about everyone’s role in helping to protect young workers on the job. Secretary Goldstein (@MassLWD), along with our partner Commonwealth Corporation (@CommCorp_MA), even live-tweeted through the event and was picked up by Governor Patrick (@MassGovernor)!

Who would think a simple contest could create such dialogue about an issue that is too often overlooked? Our goal was to raise awareness among teens, and teens helped us to reach even farther.

Congratulations to this year’s Safe Jobs for Youth Poster Contest Winners!

End today on a youth high note: View the 2013 winners.
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You can also view the MassCOSH Press Release of the awards ceremony.

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