Penn State Management Development Begins Yearlong Commemoration of 90th Anniversary

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Established in 1915, Penn State Management Development has provided education and training to more than 5,000 businesses and industries throughout Pennsylvania and around the world. With its continuing education network and faculty, who all have real-world business experience, Management Development is continuing to help companies educate and train their most valuable resource - their workforce.

Penn State Management Development, one of the nation's first continuing education programs, is celebrating its 90th year of helping businesses and industries educate and train their workforces to be competitive in the marketplace.

In 1915 when The Pennsylvania State College's Board of Trustees created management education, the movie "Birth of a Nation" premiered, Kraft introduced processed cheese, taxi rides cost a nickel, and the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, beating the Philadelphia Phillies four games to one. For a brief history of Management Development, see the attachment.

"From our beginnings as Engineering Extension, we have grown dramatically as an education and training resource for organizations not only in the Commonwealth, but also throughout the country and around the world," said Dr. Wesley Donahue, director of Penn State's Management Development Programs and Services, a unit of Penn State Outreach. "We have served more than 5,000 organizations in the last 90 years. Today, we deliver more than 200 education and training programs annually."

Management Development kicked off its yearlong 90th anniversary celebration during the Penn State Continuing Education Council meeting, because of Management Development's close partnership with Continuing Education. Management Development collaborates with Continuing Education offices at each Penn State campus to bring its education and training programs to businesses and industries throughout the state.

A highlight of the anniversary celebration was a presentation by Alexis M. Herman, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, who discussed the "U.S. Workforce: Ways to Understand it and Leverage It." Herman served as America's 23rd Secretary of Labor and the first African American ever to lead the U.S. Department of Labor. She currently is chair and chief executive officer of New Ventures Inc.

"We have a noble mission," said Donahue. "What has kept us in business all these years is our distribution network and our philosophy. We are unique in management education, because we have a tremendous continuing education network that serves every county of the Commonwealth, and we have our own faculty. Each of our faculty members has academic credentials and at least 10 years of real-world business experiences."

Donahue noted that Management Development matches faculty with the needs of clients to create customized education and training programs for on-site delivery, to offer courses online or to arrange public programs for groups of businesses at locations almost anywhere in the world. "Our goal is always to improve an organization's most important resource - its workforce."

Management Development's approach is working for clients, according to a recent survey. Clients report that for every dollar spent on Management Development programs they received $10 in economic benefits, including increased revenue, cost savings and cost avoidance. Clients also report 98 percent satisfaction with both Management Development programs and instructors. In addition, they report improvements in communication, work climate, customer satisfaction, morale, job satisfaction, job performance and retention.

Management Development's core of six full-time faculty and its cadre of professional associates (Penn State faculty and industry experts) are affiliated with six Penn State academic colleges. Management Development also collaborates with Penn State's Continuing Education network and Outreach Client Development unit to establish relationships with businesses and organizations in Pennsylvania and beyond.

One client, Gwendolyn D. Rosser, organizational development consultant at Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network, which has facilities in Allentown and Bethlehem, Pa., has been working with Management Development since 1998 to provide a Leadership and Supervisory Skills Development program to first-line managers, patient-care coordinators, nurse supervisors, directors and other staff interested in preparing for managerial roles within the health network. "The program enables them to function better as leaders, coaches and performance models as they work toward excellence in quality and service," she said.

Management Development also is working with Horsehead Corporation, headquartered in Monaca, Pa., to train engineers and managers in the Six Sigma method of process improvement. "Our goal is to improve efficiency and reduce costs," said Ed Beatty, manager of Six Sigma and special projects. "We have several projects in progress and have already seen benefits."

Gannett Fleming Inc., an international consulting engineering and planning firm with almost 2,000 employees, also has benefited from collaborating with Management Development. As a result of the project management certificate program Management Development and the company developed and delivered to 400 project managers, the company has rewritten its Project Management and Quality Guidelines. Dr. Thomas M. Rachford, corporate quality manager, said, "The Penn State program was of enormous value to us."

As Management Development commemorates 90 years of outreach to the business community, Donahue said he hopes the next 90 years will be as successful and challenging. "It is very rewarding to help companies and nonprofits grow and prosper."

For more information about Penn State Management Development Programs and Services, visit

Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce.


Deborah A. Benedetti

Outreach Marketing and Communications

The Pennsylvania State University


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