We ended the last fiscal year in a place none of us could have foreseen a year earlier in a full-on fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020-2021 fiscal year, which began on July 1, 2020, saw the Professional Development Program (PDP) operating in full pandemic-required remote mode for all program deliveries. To see how everyone in the organization quickly and competently pivoted from in-person classroom training and the regular routine of in-person work, meetings, and sponsor interactions felt both gratifying and inspiring. PDP maintained consistent levels of funding while continuing to provide high-quality continuing professional education and training programs for the public service workforce throughout New York State (NYS) and beyond. During the past year, PDP obtained 22 awards totaling over $35 million. Over the past three fiscal years, PDP’s consistent level of awards has produced an average indirect cost recovery for the University of $3.3 million. PDP continues to maintain its position as leader among the University’s centers in generating a stable level of indirect cost recovery, even during the pandemic.
PDP’s staff of over 180 professionals spent a major portion of the 2020-2021 fiscal year converting in-person, classroom-based programs to instructor-led/synchronous deliveries via Webex, while also designing a number of new asynchronous online courses. This allowed PDP to continue to offer a wide range of training programs designed to bolster workforce development. The pandemic notwithstanding, PDP successfully offered 2,890 instructional activities to over 497,000 attendees, figures which track well with previous, pre-pandemic fiscal years. PDP generated over 821,000 contact hours of training in its various educational program offerings during 2020-2021.
The primary focus for PDP staff remains the development and delivery of education and training programs employing the principles of adult learning theory. Our programs are designed to produce effective workforce development outcomes to support on-going employee growth and skills building, while continuing to meet agency-specific needs. PDP’s offerings cover a wide range of subject matter areas and primarily supports employees who work in the social and human services fields.
PDP programs continued to effectively assist various state, local government, non-government organizations, and not-for-profit workers and organizations to improve their overall job knowledge, skills, and abilities. This results in an improved and more productive workforce for the people of New York State. PDP will continue to maintain its high educational and professional standards to ensure quality control over all offerings. The organization uses various evaluation modalities to verify that these offerings effectively meet the education and training needs of our participants.
For 2020-2021, the majority of PDP’s program delivery addressed employees of the NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations (GOER), the NYS Department of Health (DOH), numerous local government agencies throughout NYS, as well as early child care providers statewide. The primary program areas included child welfare training, early childhood education and training, temporary assistance policy training, and computer and information technology training, along with others. PDP’s overall sustainability continues to be strong as it expands its delivery of high-performance programs for the public service workforce in NYS and beyond. We greatly value the partnerships we have with our sponsors and will continue to work closely with them on innovative program design and delivery.
Our programs would not be of the high quality we require without a talented and dedicated staff. It is important to acknowledge their many substantial contributions during the difficult 2020-2021 fiscal year. We faced an unprecedented change in our operations, while all of us faced the personal challenges to ourselves and our families brought about by the pandemic. And still, PDP’s work continued at a fast pace throughout the year. Our sponsors continued to ask for more online program delivery as the needs of the NYS workforce and the citizens of NYS did not diminish. If anything, the needs increased as many New Yorkers faced previously unknown hardships. I want to thank PDP Director Deborah McGuire for her dedicated leadership and vision, the PDP Management Team: Julie Aversa, James Bonville, Colleen Faragon, Colleen O’Grady, Diane Hodurski-Foley, Penny LaRocque, Molly McHale, Patricia Seeberger, Edward Skawinski, Bryan Sotherden, and John Thompson for the excellent leadership of their respective programs. And thank you to our talented program supervisors, trainers, curriculum/course designers and developers, program evaluators, IT staff, computer programmers, finance, and program support staff. We all look forward to the new year ahead.