The Association for Talent Development (ATD), formerly American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), is a non-profit association for workplace learning and performance professionals.
ATD has an international as well as US membership base (more than 100 countries; 122 U.S. chapters; 26 global networks, and 12 global partners). The association’s membership work in various types of organizations, including government offices, and independent consultants and suppliers.
Based on findings from a 2004 Competency Study, ATD created a competency model as a guide for its professional constituency. The model includes three tiers: foundational competencies, areas of expertise (designing learning, improving human performance, delivering training, measuring and evaluating, facilitating organizational change, managing the learning function, coaching, managing organizational knowledge, and career planning and talent management), and roles, and is a frame of reference for career growth and professional development. This model is a basis for ATD’s Certified Professional in Learning and Performance credential offered by the ATD Certification Institute.
ATD was founded as the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) in 1944. The organization began in New Orleans during a training committee meeting of the American Petroleum Institute in 1942. The following year, a group of 15 “training men” met for the first board meeting of the American Society of Training Directors in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
They became the governing body of the association, which convened its membership in Chicago in 1945. Other local, regional, and industry-specific training groups gradually aligned with ASTD. At the 1946 convention, ASTD adopted a constitution with the goals of: raising awareness on the standards and prestige of the industrial training profession and furthering the professional’s education and development.
ASTD retained these points as their official mission, even as the profession evolved and the business world changed. In 1964, the association changed its name to the American Society for Training & Development. ASTD eventually widened its focus to connect learning and performance with business results. In 2000, the organization chose to refer to itself just by the letters ASTD, to underscore that it wanted to broaden its scope as a professional organization. It adopted the tagline, “create a world that works better.”
On May 6, 2014, in order "to better meet the needs and represent the work of this dynamic profession," the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) was rebranded to the Association for Talent Development (ATD).
ATD conducts several research projects each year on the workplace and investment in learning.
ATD hosts many annual conferences in different cities around the U.S.: International Conference & Exposition, ATD TechKnowledge Conference and EXPO, Telling Ain’t Training Conference, LearnNow Conference, and Learning Transfer Conference. Additionally, each fall ATD hosts the ATD Chapter Leaders Conference (ALC) in the Washington DC area. This conference is held to bring leaders of local ATD chapters together in one place and discuss how to better lead the organization on a local level. The full conference features numerous breakout sessions from individuals in the learning and development field from around the country and a keynote speech from the president of ATD, Tony Bingham.
ATD also creates career services, certificate programs, and workshops. The association also awards companies, individuals, and teams for their contributions to the field of workplace learning. Along with ISPI, ATD offers a regional OPAL award for Team Excellence.