Skills Development Academy (SDA)

Is there a skill you’re working on, to land that next job or contract? What if you could develop that skill through a real-world project – one that gives you a resume-enhancing experience, a sample for your portfolio, an update to your LinkedIn profile, and a story for your resume?

Many of you have told us that what you want most from ATD-OC are ways to become more marketable. In response, ATD-OC founded Skills Development Academy.

In the SDA, you will be given an opportunity to build and demonstrate a specific skill by means of a real L&D project for a “Client Organization.” Throughout the Client Organization’s project, a practitioner with relevant expertise serves as a “Learning Advisor,” who gives the Skills Developer advice and feedback. Also, the SDA core team is here for support and oversight.

Note: Skills Development Academy is not

  • for those completely new to L&D
  • for those seeking coaching or mentoring
  • a substitute for Total Trainer University or other coursework.


Skills Developer (SD):

  • Develop Skill(s)
  • Targeted learning plans
  • Resume enhancing experience
  • Recognition:
    • Certificate of Completion
    • Letter of Completion
    • ATD-OC website and more

As the Skills Developer, you assume primary responsibility for your Client Organization’s project. Also, with support from the SDA Leadership Team and your Learning Advisor, you develop a customized skill development plan targeted to your needs and goals. You must be an ATD-Orange County Chapter member to apply to be a Skills Developer and must remain a member in good standing throughout the life of the project.

Learning Advisor (LA):

  • Contribute to the professional growth of less tenured professionals
  • Networking with SDs, other LAs, and ATD chapter members
  • Recognition (ATD-OC website and more)

As a Learning Advisor, you will contribute to your Skills Developer's (SD) career by working with the SDA team to develop a learning plan and advising the SD throughout the agreed upon project cycle. You will advise on quality control, recommend course corrections if needed, and provide approval before client submission. You do not need to be an ATD-OC member for this role.

Client Organizations, Corporations, and Nonprofits:

As a Client Organization, you will receive a completed deliverable that will benefit your organization’s needs and goals. You will also build a valuable relationship with the Orange County Chapter of the world’s leading professional association for talent development. Client does not need to be a member of ATD-OC.

The SDA Team – Reach out to us at

  • Kathleen Ashelford: ATDOC VP - Talent Management, SDA Sponsor
  • Tom Partridge: Lead SDA Program Manager
  • Ed Mendieta: SDA Program Manager

Help Wanted: Our SDA team is growing.  Let us know if you want to add your skill to the mix. Let us know what you have to offer.

  • Learning Advisors (LA) Wanted – We Are Looking for Tenured Subject Matter Experts (SME):
    • Training Delivery, Program Design, Instructional Design, Performance Improvement
    • E-learning, Instructor-led Training (ILT), Facilitation, Coaching, Video, Web-based Training (WBT), Distance Learning

We invite you to apply by clicking on the appropriate link below. If you have questions, please email us at

How to APPLY

  • ATD-OC invites perspective Skills Developers (SDs), Learning Advisors (LAs) and Professional Organizations (with candidate projects) to click on respective links below for Applications.

  • You must be an ATD-Orange County Chapter member to apply to be a Skills Developer and must remain a member in good standing throughout the life of the project.

  • ATD-OC SDA Team Members Kathleen Dvorak, Tom Partridge, and Ed Mendieta will review applications, identify opportunities, and provide guidance for completion of deliverables as PMs. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our SDA team members at

Applications (click on the link to the appropriate application):

Skills Developer Application

Learning Advisors

Client Organization (Projects)

Meet our SDA Team:

Sponsors and Partners

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software