The nature of Continuing Education is collaborative, diverse, cooperative, collective, varied, multifarious, and most of all united. IACET Continuing Education and Training Professionals unite regularly to present learning opportunities across industries in an effort to support the learning and development needs of our constituents. In our work with executives, directors, managers, instructors, subject matter experts, instructional designers, technology staff and stakeholders, we value diversity and respect others.
This is not lip service. We live it every day through the Commission and Council, and in our Board Room. Through the collaborative unifying of different schools of thought, philosophical foundations, professional experiences and sheer intellect, we make good things happen! As an international organization, our mission is to improve the quality of continuing education and training through Standards and Accreditation with a vision of advancing the global workforce. It would not be possible to achieve this vision without the ability to reach consensus and cultivate a culture to advance our mission.
In the midst of this global pandemic that has changed all of our lives – the way we learn, do business and think – we find ourselves at the forefront of a social injustice crisis, where people of color have experienced and continue to experience untimely deaths at the hands of law enforcement. America is positioned front and center on the global stage. And the entire world is listening, watching, participating, and joining the fight against injustice in their respective countries and via social media.
Change is constant, it is real, and it is imminent. IACET has experienced the ‘Moving of Cheese’ over the last year or more. We have had mountain highs and valley lows with some pitfalls in between. Our ability press forward as thought leaders is the reason we are able to persevere. It is that level of tenacious self-determination that has brought us from being managed by an association management company to being fully staffed, independent and operational. This could have only been achieved by recognizing and acknowledging differences, valuing each others’ voice, respecting one another, and trusting each others’ capabilities.
As a Standards Developing Organization, we bring structure and value to training and education. These frameworks provide guidance and accountability in the delivery of programs and services. And while there is no one size fits all in this industry, the ability to be agile is what breeds success in complying with the Standards. Similarly, there is no push for a National Standard in law enforcement reform at this time, but it is my hope that our country’s leaders not only recognize that Standards can be applied to their industry, but to the community that holds our public servants to their oath of serving and protecting. It is not a perfect solution, but it does provide a structure that can essentially curtail bias.
Understanding that implicit bias exists as does the institution of racism, we will work together through honest admiration, respect, and acceptance to achieve great outcomes. I encourage you to participate in healthy and constructive dialogue with members of your respective communities to combat systemic discriminatory practices. People young and old, from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds are working together on solutions. Let us all be part and parcel of this great effort. The time is now. The time is always now.
Casandra Blassingame, MEd, is the Chief Executive Officer of the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET). She is a recognized leader in adult and continuing education and has over 20 years of experience in higher education, continuing and professional studies, and workforce development. Prior to joining IACET as CEO, Casandra was the Vice President of Education Services for the American Gear Manufacturers Association where she led the organization’s effort in achieving and maintaining IACET accreditation. She has also served as an IACET commissioner, reviewing dozens of applications, and an IACET Board Member.