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NAWDP’s origins can be traced back to the 1984 formation of the National Job Training Partnership, Inc. (NJTP), a 501 (c)3 organization with the mission of promoting cooperation and providing information in support of programs under the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) and related programs.

Based on recommendations by the JTPA Advisory Commission, and with a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, NJTP launched the Partnership for Training and Employment Careers (PTEC) in 1989 as a project to help professionalize the field.

In 1992, PTEC was incorporated as a 501(c)6 non-profit association to offer workforce development professionals a national association for skill-building, recognition and standards. At the same time, the NJTP was renamed the Partnership Education Fund (PEF).

In 1994, members voted to change PTEC’s name to the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP). Today, NAWDP and PEF share the same Board of Directors and staff.

NAWDP approved the plan to offer the Certified Workforce Development Professional (CWDP) certification in 1997, and it was endorsed by the NAWDP Board and launched in 1999.

In 2004, three specialty endorsements were added to the CWDP: Job Seeker, Business Services and Management Services. The Youth Services Endorsement was added in 2006, and in 2013, the CWDP competencies were updated and approved.