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Tad Hughes

Tad Hughes

Class of 2018

Sr. Training Specialist
City of Fort Collins


Leading up to my decision to pursue the OPWL M.S. program in 2015, my professional background had been purely instructional design and teaching for nearly 8 years, spanning federal and local government, finance, and classroom teaching. I knew that my professional experience had built a strong foundation for building training of all types. However, I felt there was something missing: Performance improvement that was not related to training. This revelation came about slowly, but earnestly over time as I witnessed many training solutions fail to reach the results they were intended to reach. Additionally, I noticed a trend in professional articles geared toward non-training performance improvement, but I realized I was very unfamiliar with what they were talking about.

After researching several programs, I decided that the OPWL program was for me. Primarily, I was attracted to the robust curriculum that includes a series of semester-long projects with real-world clients, as well as faculty who have worked in industry for decades. Though challenging, the learning experiences are invaluable. For example, the projects I worked on included:

  • A program evaluation for a national laboratory concerning the effectiveness of their hazardous waste compliance and tracking system;
  • A needs assessment for a large manufacturing company that was concerned about their employee turnover rates; and
  • An instructional design project for a company that specializes in providing commercial aviation training.

Now that my time in the OPWL program is over, I feel more confident than ever that I can help my organization stay focused on results and recommend solutions that will last for the long term. If you decide to enter the OPWL program, you will be challenged and there may be some long nights ahead, but the journey is worth the destination.