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Celebrating ATD’s 75th Anniversary

On January 12, 1943, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 15 professionals from the petroleum industry met for the first time as the American Society for Training Directors, which later evolved into the American Society for Training & Development, and now the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Today, we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the vision and mission those individuals had—to elevate the training profession and support the work of everyone who is dedicated to developing the knowledge and skills of others.

If you were to hold up a map of the world as it existed in 1943, when ATD was founded, and compare it with a map of the world in 2018, you would see many changes, large and small. New countries exist, borders have shifted, and places once considered remote are now reached by modes of travel and communication that were unimaginable 75 years ago.

And just as the world has changed, so too has the world of business. The economy is truly global and interdependent. Technology eliminates boundaries of time and space and allows us to connect and collaborate more efficiently and effectively, and with more people than in the past. Today’s knowledge economy brings new opportunities for developing an agile, innovative workforce. Multiple generations in the workplace create new paradigms for learning.

Our profession has evolved to meet the requirements of a changing world and a dynamic business environment. In the early 1940s, training was essential to meeting business ambitions. Industrial production was ramping up to support a world at war. Workers called to military service left jobs that needed to be filled quickly to keep up with production demands. Today, developing talent remains a critical component of achieving business objectives and growth.

As you know, your work is so much broader than training alone. And the reach of our community is literally worldwide. That’s why the name of our association has evolved over time, and was changed in 2014 to the Association for Talent Development.

Throughout the 75-year history of this association, what has remained constant is its purpose: developing people who develop others. In 125 countries on six continents, you—our members—are building the capability of the workforce so that individuals develop knowledge and skills, organizations grow, and society flourishes. With your passion, commitment, and ability to help people realize their potential, together we are creating a world that works better.

With you, we are celebrating 75 years of an important vision and mission, and throughout 2018 we’ll be sharing reflections, articles, insights, and glimpses back over our history. Join us on social media and share your own stories. After all, this anniversary is really a celebration of you and the work you do every day.

Here’s to the next 75 years!

Tony Bingham

ATD President and CEO