In an effort to bolster environmental safety practices nationwide, Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC) is set to host the Great Environmental Safety Trainers (GreatEST) Institute, welcoming trainers from across the United States for a week-long intensive program beginning May 13.

Trainers hailing from states including Indiana, California, New York, Texas, and more will convene at Scott Community College to acquire essential skills for offering hazardous waste operations and emergency response courses in their respective regions. The GreatEST Institute represents a collaborative initiative aimed at standardizing and enhancing hazardous waste training practices on a national scale.

Unlike traditional classroom-based instruction, the GreatEST Institute places a strong emphasis on hands-on learning experiences. Participants will immerse themselves in simulated hazardous waste scenarios, donning personal protective equipment (PPE) to perform critical tasks such as hazard analysis, monitoring, and sample collection. This practical approach not only enhances skill proficiency but also prepares instructors to effectively train future responders. The media is invited take part in demos on Wednesday, May 15 from 1 – 4 p.m.

Scott Community College's state-of-the-art facilities play a crucial role in facilitating this immersive learning experience. With an expansive 150,000 square foot outdoor lab featuring a simulated waste site and monitoring stations, participants will have access to realistic training environments. Specialized equipment, including fit-testing porta-counts and cascade air systems for SCBA bottle refilling, underscore EICC’s commitment to providing cutting-edge resources for environmental safety education.

The GreatEST Institute is a testament to the longstanding partnership between EICC and the National Partnership for Environmental Technology Education (NPETE). For over a decade, these organizations have collaborated to advance environmental health and safety (EHS) education, particularly in the training of hazardous materials (Haz Mat) instructors nationwide.

Upon successful completion of the GreatEST Institute, instructors will gain access to ongoing support and resources provided by NPETE, ensuring continued professional development in environmental safety education.

By hosting the GreatEST Institute, EICC reaffirms its commitment to excellence in environmental safety training and highlights the importance of collaboration in addressing hazardous waste challenges across the nation. For media inquiries or further information, contact Kirk Laflin, Executive Director of NPETE, at 207-771-9020.