Since earning her doctoral degree in counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1980, Judith Ettinger, PhD, has spent her career supporting others as they develop their own career plans.
Over the years, Dr. Ettinger has also taken on many roles at UW-Madison, where she is currently the manager of the school’s Facilitating Career Development (FCD) program and an instructor and master trainer. The FCD program is a CCE Registered Credential Training Provider (RCTP) for individuals interested in obtaining the Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF), CCE’s flagship credential.
“When I first started here, I worked on a number of projects that were funded by the state and federal governments that were related to career development,” she says. “Some involved idea generation, some were writing curriculum, some were planning conferences and training opportunities. It was a wide variety of activities, but the central topics were the same—career planning and development.”
She considers career development to be a vibrant and ever-changing field, adding that “I liked the idea of using labor market information and career information to help people make better-informed decisions.”
In the beginning, she never really felt like she was a natural teacher, she says, “but I ended up being one, and having really good experiences that I hadn't expected. Over time, I really took on that role of teacher and trainer. I've been in that role for decades now, and I still love it.”
UW-Madison’s FCD program began in the 1990s with face-to-face training and eventually became hybrid before converting to remote learning during the pandemic. The courses remain virtual, and Dr. Ettinger and her students have embraced the changes.
“The range of people is much broader, which makes it more interesting for everyone in the class,” she says, “and much easier to access for people who have young children, or perhaps a disability, and those who really struggle with a travel plan.”
Some of Dr. Ettinger’s students are required to obtain the GCDF credential in order to be hired by Workforce Development, Inc., in Rochester, Minnesota, or during their first year of employment, while others seek to sharpen their skills or make a career change.
“Everyone who participates is motivated, because they really want to do better at their job and improve their skills,” she says. “The GCDF credential shows their area of expertise, and I think the public looks for that. Everyone wants to learn from someone who is competent, and the GCDF is a badge that shows that a person has specific competencies. I think it’s a really effective way to communicate that to the public.”
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