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Workforce Education and Development

Welcome to the Workforce Education and Development program at the Pennsylvania State University. We appreciate your interest in our program. It is one of the oldest academic programs offered by Penn State.

Program Mission

The mission of Penn State’s Workforce Education and Development (WFED) program is to promote excellence, opportunity, and leadership among professionals in the field of workforce education and development, including professionals employed in secondary and postsecondary education institutions, social services, employee organizations, and private sector businesses.

Faculty in the program strive to attain a cost-effective academic program that is recognized nationally as among the best of its type in scholarship, leadership, and professional preparation.

Doctoral students may choose from three different emphases: human resource development/organization development; school-to-work; and secondary career and technical education leadership. Master's degree students have these three choices, plus an additional emphasis in teacher certification.

Undergraduate Programs and Certification

Workforce Education and Development offers a variety of pathways to earn an undergraduate degree with an emphasis in Career and Technical Education (CTE) or Workplace Learning and Performance (WLP). 

The CTE emphasis offers an undergraduate degree through a large off-campus degree and non-degree program leading to two types of certifications: Pennsylvania CTE Teacher Certification and Co-Op Certification.

The WLP emphasis offers flexible programs enabling working professionals to take courses and earn credits in a variety of ways including earning professional certificates, an associate degree, and a baccalaureate degree.

Any questions about Career and Technical Certification, Cooperative Education Certification and Undergraduate WFED studies should be directed to Mark Threeton at [email protected].

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Refer to the College of Education's scholarships and financial aid information that is available to support the twenty-first century workforce in transforming our economy for the future of work!

Undergraduate Programs and Certificates

Workplace Learning and Performance (WLP) Certificate Programs

As part of Penn State's top-ranked Workforce Education and Development program, four certificate programs (Supervisory Leadership, Operational Excellence, Instructor Development, Advanced Instructor Development) are designed to provide you with solid professional preparation and recognized credentials. If you have some college experience and at least two years of relevant work experience in either the public or private sector, these certificate programs may be right for you. Each certificate program is aligned with U.S. Department of Labor sponsored competency models and focuses on skill sets and competencies that are essential to a globally competitive workforce.

 

You may apply the credits earned in these certificate programs toward the Bachelor of Science Degrees in Workforce Education and Development, WLP emphasis satisfying many of your required and elective courses.

 

Supervisory Leadership Certificate (9 credits)

This certificate program is designed primarily for you if you are engaged in a supervisory role in the workplace, to equip you with the contemporary supervisory leadership competencies that you need to function effectively in today's ever-changing and highly diverse workplace. This certificate can be earned by completing the courses below:

 

 - WFED 310 Leadership Competencies for Supervisors (3 credits): Designed to teach contemporary supervisory leadership competencies for mid-career learners with front-line supervisory responsibilities in the workplace.

 

 - WFED 411 Occupational Safety and Health for Workplace Professionals (3 credits): This course assists participants in creating and supporting workplaces and educational environments free of occupational safety and health hazards. The curriculum meets requirements for OSHA-30 General Industry Safety and CPR and AED Training, as well as the safety elements of the approved program evaluation (PA 339 review) facilitated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. 

 

 - WFED 450 (US; IL) Cultural Diversity in the Workplace (3 credits): Provides opportunities for students to explore different cultures and mores that are changing the dynamics of the workplace.

 

Operational Excellence Certificate (9 credits)

If you have demonstrated high leadership potential, this certificate program can provide you with an introduction to the philosophies and practices of lean and six-sigma. More and more industries are adapting these quality methods and standards to their organizations to reduce waste, increase productivity, and solve problems effectively and efficiently. This certificate can be earned by completing the courses below:

 

 - WFED 405 Project Management for Professionals (3 credits): Covers the essential concepts and skills needed to make effective contributions on projects, on time and within budget.

 

 - WFED 410 Leadership Competencies for Professionals (3 credits): Designed to teach contemporary professional leadership competencies for workforce professionals who may not currently have supervisory responsibilities.

 

 - WFED 451 Lean-Sigma for Professionals (3 credits): This course focuses on essential lean and six sigma concepts to improve processes in any industry.

 

Instructor Development Certificate (9 credits)

This certificate program is ideal for a first-line supervisor, training specialist, or technical/occupational specialist who is responsible for training, supervision, and/or employee development. Human resource specialists, corporate trainers, and organization development practitioners can also benefit from this certificate. This certificate can be earned by completing the courses below:

 

 - WFED 105 Integrated Curriculum Implementation (3 credits): Occupational analysis for instructional planning; emphasis on instructional methods to deliver a competency- based program in an integrated learning environment.

 

 - WFED 106 Program and Facilities Management (3 credits): Organization and management of learning laboratory to facilitate the delivery of a competency-based program in a safe environment.

 

 - WFED 207W Assessment Techniques (3 credits): Assessment, recording, and reporting of learning in an integrated competency-based education system.

 

Advanced Instructor Development Certificate (9 credits)

This certificate program is a continuation of the Instructor Development Certificate, designed for you, if you have completed the Instructor Development Certificate and wish to step up into an associate or bachelor's degree program. This certificate can be earned by completing the courses below:

 

 - WFED 270 Introduction to Industrial Training (3 credits): Overview of training profession. Introduction to economic and psychological foundations.  Examination of relationship of industrial training to education.

 

 - WFED 413 Vocational Education for Special-Needs Learners (3 credits): Introduction to program modifications, supplementary services, and resources required for special-needs learners.

 

 - WFED 471 Training in Industry and Business (3 credits): Appraisal of training functions and development of competencies in work analysis, design, development, delivery, and evaluation of training.

 

For additional information, please contact:

 

Mark Threeton

Professor In Charge, Associate Professor of Education

411E Keller Building

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: (814) 863-5361

[email protected]

 

Apply Now!

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Penn State's Workforce Education and Development program offers certificate programs as well as undergraduate degree programs leading to a Bachelor of Science.

 

Students interested in these programs leading to the bachelor's degree in Workforce Education and Development should be employed, or wish to be employed, as faculty members, trainers, administrators, or researchers in settings emphasizing education for work in private sector firms, schools, occupational home economics, cooperative education, youth apprenticeship, or employment and training.

 

Associate Degree

The Associate Degree in Workforce Education and Development can serve as a stand-alone credential or a stepping-stone to the B.S. in WFED. You may apply the credits earned in the Associate Degree toward Bachelor of Science Degree in Workforce Education and Development, Workplace Learning and Performance Emphasis, satisfying many of your required and elective courses. 

 

Bachelor’s Degree

Workforce Education and Development at Penn State is a unique college program for people who have completed career and technical education (vo-tech) programs in high school or postsecondary technical colleges. This program aims to prepare you to teach the occupational area you studied before coming to Penn State.  WFED graduates earn the Bachelor of Science degree and a Pennsylvania Certificate that allows them to teach in public schools. 

 

This degree is for people who completed technical programs, such as automotive technology, auto body technology, carpentry, commercial art, computer networking, cosmetology, culinary arts, drafting, electrical technology, electronics, graphic arts, HVAC, machining, masonry, plumbing, welding, and much more...  

 

Workplace Learning and Performance Emphasis

The Workplace Learning and Performance emphasis in WFED is offered in collaboration with Penn State Continuing Education. This emphasis is designed for working professionals in any industry and covers a full range of subjects including supervision, training and development, project management, safety and health, to name a few.

 

The WLP emphasis in WFED offers four Certificate Programs, an Associate Degree and the Bachelor of Science Degree, providing you with the step-up opportunity. The occupational learning experiences and the credits earned through an accredited technical/professional associate degree and/or the Associate Degree and Certificates in WFED may contribute to completing the courses for the B.S. Degree.

 

For students pursuing credit by portfolio for work-related experiences, the following requirements apply:

 - Must be actively enrolled as a workforce education degree seeking student; 

 - Must verify 8,000 hrs. of work experience directly related to an area of technical instruction; and 

 - Be advised, if approved, work-related experience credits will be awarded as transfer credits, which will not apply toward a semester schedule or in meeting financial aide requirements. 

 

Please note that the checks and application are processed by two different departments, so please make sure all of the above is understood and taken care of prior to submission because the check will be cashed even if credits are not posted until a later term due to non-enrollment. 

 

What to submit?

 - Application (Note: please contact Staci Lynch at [email protected] for application and proper mailing address).

 - Resume, verifying 8,000 hrs. of work-related experience to an area of technical education.

 - Teaching Certificate.

 - Check made payable to the Pennsylvania State University in the amount of $390.00.

 

For additional information, please contact:

 

Staci Lynch
Administrative Support Assistant
409J Keller Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-0805
[email protected]

 

Mark Threeton

Professor In Charge, Associate Professor of Education

411E Keller Building

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: (814) 863-5361

[email protected]

Graduate Degree Programs

 

Apply Now!

Master of Education (M.Ed.) - University Park

The M.Ed. candidates must complete six credits taken outside of the Workforce Education and Development program and three credits of WFED elective. A candidate for the M.Ed. must complete three credits of WFED 59, Individual Studies and a comprehensive exam. See the full list of program course requirements.

 

For more information on the program and faculty, please contact the WFED degree graduate staff assistant:

 

Jennifer McLaughlin (University Park)
Learning and Performance Systems department
Administrative Support Assistant
301 Keller Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-2596
[email protected]

 

Apply Now!

Master of Science (MS) - University Park

The culminating experience for the Master of Science (MS) degree is a thesis, essay, or paper acceptable to the student's adviser and graduate program director. An MS candidate must complete the three–credit course WFED 550, Research in Workforce Education. Candidates who choose to complete a formal thesis that will be submitted to the Graduate School must complete six credits of WFED 600, Thesis Research. Those choosing to complete a paper or an essay must enroll in a minimum of three credits of WFED 596, Individual Studies. Students must be enrolled during all semesters in which they are working on the manuscript. See the full list of program course requirements.

 

For more information on the program and faculty, please contact the WFED degree graduate staff assistant:

 

Jennifer McLaughlin (University Park)
Learning and Performance Systems department
Administrative Support Assistant
301 Keller Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-2596
[email protected]

 

Apply Now!

Master of Professional Studies - World Campus

The Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) in Organization Development and Change is an online degree aimed toward professionals in fields such as talent management, corporate development and performance improvement in government, nonprofit organizations and industry. The program is designed with an international focus, ensuring that students are exposed to global issues and the way change is occurring around the world and will emphasize the importance of technology when it comes to facilitating change.

Students in the Organization Development and Change program will have the opportunity to build portfolios, collections of work samples that they have accumulated throughout their programs that they can share with prospective employers. More details on classes can be found on our course list.

The M.P.S. in Organization Development and Change is a degree offering of the Workforce Education and Development program in the Department of Learning and Performance Systems in the Penn State College of Education. It is offered as an online degree program through the Penn State World Campus.

For more information on the program and faculty, please contact the OD&C program staff assistant:

Whitney DeShong (World Campus)
Learning and Performance Systems department
303 Keller Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 865-0473
Fax: (814) 865-0128
[email protected]

facebook PennStateODC

 

Apply Now!

Doctoral Degree Programs (Ph.D.) - University Park

The Pennsylvania State University Workforce Education and Development (WFED) program offers a graduate degree program leading to degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Students interested in this program should be employed in or aspire to be employed as faculty, trainers, administrators, or researchers in education-for-work settings such as business, industry, health fields, occupational home economics, cooperative education, youth apprenticeship, or employment and training.

 

The Ph.D. degree requires, among other matters:

 - Maintenance of satisfactory scholarship, with a minimum grade-point average of 3.00 for work done at the University;

 - Completion of Scholarship and Research Integrity (SARI) requirements;

 - Attainment of doctoral candidacy status;

 - High-level competence in the use of the English language, including reading, writing, and speaking;

 - Over some twelve-month period during the interval between admission to the Ph.D. program and completion of the Ph.D. program, enrollment at least two semesters (summer sessions are not included) as a registered full-time student engaged in academic work at the University Park campus;

 - Completion of research requirements, in lieu of typical communication and foreign language requirements for most Ph.D. programs;

 - Completion of the Ph.D. program, including acceptance of the doctoral dissertation, within eight years from the date of attainment of doctoral candidacy status; and

 - Successful completion of a comprehensive examination, acceptance of a dissertation, and completion of a final oral examination for the Ph.D. degree.

 

Requirements of emphases within the Ph.D. program can be found in the WFED Handbook. To find out what WFED graduate courses are offered and when, please see our course list.

 

Ph.D. students are eligible to compete for a limited number of graduate assistantships that may become available to serve the research, teaching, and service missions of the WFED program. The regular graduate faculty for the WFED program consider applications in the light of faculty needs and availability of University funding for graduate assistantships. Applications are due on January 29 for assistantships that could be awarded for the upcoming academic year. For more information, see the Graduate Assistantship Application.

 

If you are ready to proceed to the application but have NOT read the Graduate School requirements, please visit their website.

 

If you have read the Graduate School requirements and are ready to apply, you may proceed to the application.

 

For more information on the program and faculty, please contact the WFED degree graduate staff assistant:

 

Jennifer McLaughlin (University Park)
Learning and Performance Systems department
Administrative Support Assistant
301 Keller Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-2596
[email protected]

Professional Development

Professional Personnel Development Center (PPDC)

The Center provides teacher preparation, online resources, and in-service programs that prepare Pennsylvanians to meet professional standards as career and technical educators. Through these programs, participants may earn state teacher certification and become eligible to teach technical career programs in career and technical schools in Pennsylvania.

 

Check out what our Professional Personnel Development Center can do to upskill and reskill you and your workforce.

 

For more information, please contact:

 

Staci Lynch
Administrative Support Assistant
409J Keller Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-0805
[email protected]

Additional Information

 

Faculty and Staff

Department Head
Susan M. Land[email protected], 814-865-1958, 301A Keller Building

Professor In Charge
Mark Threeton[email protected], 814-863-5361, 411E Keller Building

Director of Professional Personnel Development Center
Cynthia Pellock[email protected], 814-863-0802, 411D Keller Building

Associate Director of Professional Personnel Development Center
Mark Threeton[email protected], 814-863-5361, 411E Keller Building

Program Faculty

Wesley Donahue, [email protected], 814-865-7074, 303 Keller Building - Full CV

Michael Harvey[email protected], 814-867-2652, 411C Keller Building - Full CV

William Rothwell[email protected], 814-863-2581, 310B Keller Building - Full CV

Mark D. Threeton[email protected], 814-863-5361, 411E Keller Building

Hyung Joon Yoon[email protected], 814-865-1876, 310A Keller Building

William T. Brendel[email protected], 814-863-0907, 409A Keller Building

Affiliate Faculty

Susan Cromwell
Leonard Pollack
Jong Gyu Park
Craig Weidemann

Emeritus Faculty

Edgar I. Farmer
Kenneth C. Gray
Richard A. Walter
Fred Welch
Judith Kolb
David L. Passmore

Staff

Jennifer McLaughlin (University Park)
Learning and Performance Systems department
Administrative Support Assistant
301 Keller Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-2596
[email protected]

Doctoral Program Admission Deadlines

Doctoral students are accepted for Fall admission. The following are the deadlines:

 

 - January 29th – those students who want to be considered for funding, please submit the Graduate Assistantship Application.

 - April 15th – deadline for international students. This deadline is due to the time-frame needed for Global Programs to process the International Visa Documentation. The process cannot begin until you have accepted your offer of admission/paid your acceptance fees. Therefore, international students must apply by the April 15th deadline for processing purposes.

 - June 30th – This deadline is for students who do not wish to be considered for funding.

 

Applicants must have successfully completed a master's degree from an accredited institution, having earned at least a 3.0 grade point average. All students are expected to exhibit:

     - Academic competency,

     - Effectiveness in interpersonal relations,

     - Written, and oral communications.

     

    Prerequisites

    Students should be able to document a minimum of two years full-time employment in the workplace. Relevant examples include the following:

     - career and technical education,

     - vocational guidance,

     - industrial training,

     - military technical training,

     - safety education or technical education,

     - or, related experience acceptable to the faculty.

     

    Step 1:  Graduate School Application

    Complete the online Penn State Graduate School application. Be sure to pay the application fee as outlined on the Graduate School application form. 

     

    When completing the online Graduate School application, you will be asked to answer a series of questions or provide written statements regarding the following information:

     - Resume or curriculum vitae.

     - Letters of recommendation from two people who are best qualified to evaluate your ability to succeed in graduate study. The Graduate School application will ask you to submit the names of references along with their email addresses. Your reference will receive an email directing them to the site to upload a reference letter. You will be notified via email when they have submitted their letter, however you will not be able to view the letter.

     - A statement of personal career history and objectives for the future and how the Ph.D. degree will help you accomplish your goals.

     - A written statement of your research interests including how this corresponds with WFED faculty member(s) with whom you would like to work with and why.

     - A description of your scholarly or applied research studies or reports that involved data collection and analysis.

     - A description of other activities in which you plan to be engaged during your Ph.D. study other than taking classes to accomplish your career goals.

     - A scholarly writing sample related to Workforce Education and Development, which utilizes the APA 7th Edition Publication Manual.

     - An analytical response to a case study facilitated by the program faculty.

     

    Step 2:  Workforce Education Development Program Material

     - As part of the online application process, applicants are required to electronically upload a copy of an official transcripts/documents from all post-secondary institutions attended. Upon online acceptance of a program recommendation for admission, applicants will be notified that official/original transcripts/documents must be sent from the originating institutions for review by the Graduate School, in order to finalize an admission decision. 

     

    Transcripts/documents must be in the official language of the institution(s) attended, but if that language is not English, an official English translation must also be sent. The Graduate School will review all official documents to finalize the offer of admission. An offer of admission will be revoked if official/original documents are not received by the Graduate School within specified deadlines, or if official/original documents differ from the copies uploaded by the applicant prior to the offer of admission. For applicants whose degree conferral is in progress at the time of uploading copies, the deadline specified for receipt of official/original documents will allow for the passage of the reported date of degree conferral, and that conferral must be confirmed on the official/original documents received by the Graduate School, in order for the offer of admission to be finalized.

     

     - International applicants must take and submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System),with the exceptions noted below. The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based test, 213 for the computer-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the internet-based test.  Applicants with iBT speaking scores between 15 and 18 may be considered for provisional admission, which requires an institutional test of English proficiency upon first enrollment and, if necessary, remedial course work. The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 6.5. Submit official scores using Penn State's Institution Code: 2660. To find out more about the TOEFL Exam visit the TOEFL website. International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement who have received a baccalaureate or a master's degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States, and Wales.

     

    Students taking the TOEFL should use school code 2660 to send scores to Penn State. 

     

    History and Rankings

    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 and Development. The Workforce Education and 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 J. Rothwell, SPHR, RIDC, CPLP Fellow Professor, announced a new online Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) in Organization Development and Change (OD&C).

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

    2018 - Ranked No. 2
    2017 - Ranked No. 2
    2016 - Ranked No. 1
    2015 - Ranked No. 1
    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