Texas Mutual gives OC safety programs a boost

Jose Torres, Safety Services Consultant for Texas Mutual, and Tiffani Price, OC Associate Vice President for Adult, Continuing, and Workforce Education, shake hands over the $100,000 check presented to the college Thursday in the Saulsbury Campus Center foyer by Texas Mutual Insurance. (Ruth Campbell|Odessa American)

Texas Mutual Insurance Company on Thursday awarded Odessa College a $100,000 grant for its safety training program.

The funds are used for a wide variety of safety classes and certifications for the community, students and instructors.

Safety Training Instructor Dean McCann in Continuing Education said everything from first aid and basic safety orientation courses geared toward the Permian Basin to instructor safety courses are offered through OC.

These are not whole semester courses. They could take four hours or a whole day because it’s a certification not a degree, McCann said.

Additionally, some Texas Mutual funds can be used to pay for outside instructors to teach a certain course.

Jose Torres, Safety Services Consultant for Texas Mutual, said what keeps Texas Mutual coming back to OC, in part, is the support they get from the college. He noted the large amount of students and staff that turned out for the check presentation in the foyer of the Saulsbury Campus Center.

“It just shows us that there’s an eagerness in this area to get training done, to be safer to make West Texas and Odessa safer for everybody in the community,” Torres said.

Torres added that workplace safety is paramount, especially in West Texas.

“We have a lot of workers that come out to this area, performing oil and gas and service industry construction and being able to have those workers come out here, work safe and go home safely, it’s paramount for us in this area,” he said.

Torres said the company’s mission extends into helping prevent workforce accidents.

“We’ve said for a long time that workplace safety education is a sound investment. … It’s been a pleasure to watch this program grow and be able to provide a wide variety of safety classes to community employers, workers and the public, helping to reduce workplace accidents and injuries,” he added.

“Odessa College has utilized grant funds to conduct training and acquire materials for Build the Basin, a program that uses virtual reality, videos and interactive sessions to explore lifesaving actions and responsibilities that each individual can use as a safety leader. The grant additionally has helped offer safety rescue curriculum specifically for the energy industry, as well as CPR and first aid and training for local community and ISD partners. During the 2023 academic year Odessa College was able to train 52 (students) in CPR and first aid and 60 students in safety and rescue specific to the energy industry. The college also utilized the funds to train local early childhood care workers, owners and employees on situational awareness, helping to strengthen some of the most valuable employees in the region,” Torres said.

OC President Gregory Williams thanked McCann, Jessica Jordan, department chair of Occupational Safety and Environmental Technology (OSET), and Assistant Professor of Occupational Safety and Health David Davis, for their work and leadership.

He also thanked Texas Mutual for its gift to the college.