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CWU’s Safety and Health Management Receives Grant for Risk Management Minor

The Institutes Griffith Insurance Education Foundation awarded Central Washington University’s Safety and Health Management (SHM) program with a $15,000 grant to enhance the recently developed Risk Management Minor. 

The generous grant, received this June, is a part of The Robert P. Ashlock Risk Management and Insurance Development Program established by The Institutes Griffith Insurance Education Foundation. 

“We were pleased to select Central Washington University as the recipient of this grant,” said Frank Paul Tomasello, senior program director for the Institutes Griffith Insurance Education Foundation. “The Ashlock program assists with the development of post-secondary risk management insurance education for new and existing academic programs, like the one at Central.”  

There is a great demand for the Risk Management Minor at CWU with more than 35 students currently enrolled within six months of commissioning the minor. The minor is part of the SHM program that enrolls 100 students and graduates 35 industry-ready professionals each year. More than 650 safety and health professionals have graduated from CWU thus far with that number growing each year. 

“There are thousands of risk management positions opening up around the globe,” said Sathyanarayanan Rajendran, program director of the Safety and Health Management program. “There aren’t enough graduates to fill these positions in the workforce. They call this the silver tsunami, where the population of professionals are aging and retiring.”

The grant is set to go towards a number of different areas within the SHM program. This includes four new risk management and insurance courses that will develop the curriculum and other lecture materials including case studies. The new classes are as follows:

- SHM 450 Commercial Property Risk Management and Insurance
- SHM 451 Commercial Liability Risk Management and Insurance
- SHM 452 Risk Management for Public Entities
- SHM 453 Construction Risk and Insurance Management

In addition, the grant will create lecture materials for three existing courses and develop marketing materials to advertise the Risk Management Minor in order to recruit students to attend CWU. The funds will also allow the SHM program to explore the feasibility of creating a new, 100% online, Bachelor of Science degree in risk, insurance, and safety management. 

In addition to traditional risk management positions, employers are creating positions that are hybridized with safety and health management positions, and there is a void in the industry of professionals who have both health/safety management skills and risk management/insurance skills.

According to Rajendran, there isn’t anywhere in the country where a Risk Management Minor is located within the same program as safety and health. 

“70% of our safety and health majors are deciding to go into the minor,” Rajendran said. “So, having that dual skill-set, they are opening themselves up to a completely brand-new industry and their career path is going to be very successful.”

CWU’s Risk Management Minor provides an in-depth knowledge needed to assess and respond to the numerous hazard (insurable) risks faced by all organizations. It also helps to prepare students by helping them build a strong foundation in the science of risk management. Students gain practical skills to avoid, reduce, and manage risk. The program also helps to develop and implement a balanced hazard risk financing strategy using retention, transfer, and hybrid strategies. 

Media contact: 

Traci Goff, Director of Foundation Relations, (509)963-2160,

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