College of Education > News and Publications > News: 2009 > Workforce Education and Development Initiative Renewed

Workforce Education and Development Initiative Renewed

David H. Monk, dean of Penn State's College of Education, and Craig Weidemann, vice president of Penn State Outreach, recently signed an agreement that extends the Penn State Workforce Education & Development (WED) Initiative for another three years, into 2012.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – David H. Monk, dean of Penn State's College of Education, and Craig Weidemann, vice president of Penn State Outreach, recently signed an agreement that extends the Penn State Workforce Education & Development (WED) Initiative for another three years, into 2012.

The Penn State WED Initiative has been a research alliance between Penn State’s College of Education and Penn State Outreach since 2003. Its mission is to support the development of the workforce in Pennsylvania and beyond primarily through the application of Penn State resources to conduct economic and workforce analyses for employers, industry partnerships, nonprofit organizations, and government entities.

The WED Initiative has completed major studies of the effects of, among other matters, the closing of the Willow Grove (Pa.) Naval Air Station, eliminating price caps on electricity, competitiveness of powder metallurgy, plastics manufacturing, commercial sports, teen pregnancy, green jobs, self–organizing systems, trade associations, automobile purchases, community development, construction of electricity transmission lines, school dropouts, long–term health care, uses of unemployment insurance records, and youth employment. The work of the Initiative often is visible in op–ed columns and in interviews and articles appearing in print and nonprint media.

Since January 2007, the WED Initiative has produced over 100 economic impact analyses through its Economic and Workforce Brief series. The Brief series contains one–page, no–math, no–jargon macroeconomic reports of how gains or losses of jobs in an industry affect total jobs, payroll, and property taxes in a county or group of counties that form a commuting path for workers in the affected industry. For additional information about the capabilities of the WED Initiative, see http://wedi.psu.edu/joomla15/index.php/penn-state-links. Legacy publications of the Initiative prior to 2005 are listed at http://wedi.psu.edu/joomla15/index.php/component/content/section/5.

The Penn State WED Initiative often conducts research analysis about topics and issues that, at times, are the focus of vigorous debate and public attention and that frequently are associated with diverse stakeholders who represent divergent opinions. The Initiative adds value, attention, and discussion to this debate by conducting and reporting research and analysis for decisions affecting economic and workforce development using the most objective approaches possible. The research and analysis of the Workforce Education & Development Initiative are pursued independent of the commercial or political interests of any actual or potential sponsor of WED Initiative work.

Rose M. Baker and David L. Passmore lead the Workforce Education & Development Initiative. Baker and Passmore are researchers and professors at Penn State and leaders of the Penn State WED Initiative. Since June 2008, they have been contributing columnists for a regional business newspaper, Pennsylvania Business Central, in which their biweekly column, Economic and Workforce Briefing, translates their recent economic, demographic, and workforce research into policy commentary and practical implications for a 16–county region of central Pennsylvania. Baker and Passmore are assisted during the current year by three graduate research assistants.