History and Rankings

A brief description of the history of the WF ED Program within the College of Education at Penn State University.

The Workforce Education and Development program originated in 1920 in the School of Engineering and was called the Department of Industrial Education. On June 11, 1923, the Department of Industrial Education moved from the School of Engineering to join three other academic units - Agricultural Education, Education and Psychology, and Home Economics Education - to form the School of Education, now the College of Education.

In 1925, new graduate programs in Vocational Industrial Education were inaugurated. The first Master's degree in Industrial Education were conferred in August, 1929. In 1939, the first doctoral degree in Industrial Education were conferred upon Edward C. Estabrooke and George H. Parks. These programs now lead to degrees of Master's of Arts, Master's of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy.

In 1944, the Department of Industrial Education was officially designated as the agency for the State Department of Education for the administration of Occupational Competency Examinations to qualified applicants in central Pennsylvania.

In 1963, the designation Department of Industrial Education was changed to the Department of Vocational Education. In 1977, the Department of Industrial Education changed its name to the Department of Vocational-Industrial Education.

In 1994, Dr. Kenneth C. Gray, Professor-in-Charge of Vocational Industrial Education, conducted a contest among the graduate students resulting in a name change from Vocational Industrial Education to Workforce Education & Development. The Workforce Education & Development program at Penn State has been recognized consistently by U.S. News & World Report as being among the top three vocational education programs in the United States.

In 2014, Dr. William Rothwell, SPHR, RIDC, CPLP Fellow Professor, announced a new online Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Organization Development and Change (OD&C).

Rankings of Penn State's Workforce Education and Development program by U.S. News & World Report

2014- Ranked No. 1
2013 - Ranked No. 2
2012 - Ranked No. 1
2009 - Ranked No. 3
2008 - Ranked No. 2
2007 - Ranked No. 2
2006 - Ranked No. 1
2005 - Ranked No. 2

2004 - Ranked No. 3
2003 - Ranked No. 3
2002 - Ranked No. 2
2001 - Ranked No. 2
2000 - Ranked No. 2
1999 - Ranked No. 3
1998 - Ranked No. 3
1997 - Ranked No. 3