History of the OCDP | Workforce Education and Development | SIU

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History of the Off Campus Degree Program

The Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) Bachelor's degree in Workforce Education and Development (WED) had its beginnings in 1914. The major was originally entitled Occupational Education. The department updated and changed the name to Vocational Education Studies in 1984. In 1991, the department again updated the curriculum and was renamed Workforce Education and Development.

The concept for the WED off campus program originated with Southern Illinois faculty, who identified a need for individuals with competencies in occupational skill areas to become qualified to instruct others in their area of expertise. The military service component was first offered at Scott AFB, Illinois in 1973. Quickly the program moved to other Air Force bases. In 1978, the WED program was opened at San Diego Naval Base and the Organizational Training and Development specialization is now offered at 15 off campus locations.

The concept for the WED off campus program originated with Southern Illinois faculty, who identified a need for individuals with competencies in occupational skill areas to become qualified to instruct others in their area of expertise.

The program delivered off campus is essentially the same as that offered on the SIUC campus. It is altered in format so that classes will not interfere with civilian, civil service and active duty military personnel schedules. Coordinated by a full-time, on-site faculty member, courses are taught by on-site representatives, campus faculty who travel or the weekend classes, or adjunct faculty from the surrounding area.

Although the delivery format of the courses was developed to meet the needs of active-duty military personnel, most students who work full-time find it convenient. The Organizational Training and Development specialization prepares people for human resource development positions in business, industry, and government and for instruction in colleges and technical institutes. Many graduates pursue advanced study and leadership in the military, business/industry, or education. The value of the degree to meet a wide variety of personal goals is illustrated by the large number of graduates who have been promoted, who have entered military commissioning programs, or pursued supervisory, management, training and education careers upon completion of the WED degree.

Many graduates pursue advanced study and leadership in the military, business/industry, or education.

Today, the WED program is one of the largest programs of its kind in the United States, enrolling 1,000 students at 15 locations and has proudly graduated over 18,000 military personnel and civilians. Any individual who is qualified for admission to a post-secondary institution and has at least two years work experience in an occupational specialty or career field is qualified to begin studies toward a Bachelor of Science degree in Workforce Education and Development, with a specialization in Organizational Training and Development. Opportunity for full-time or part-time enrollment is available. Based upon how much community college, military experience, and other experiential credit a student has completed upon admission, it is possible to earn the degree by completion of one year's full time work in the WED major.