Channing Rice (C.R.) Dooley mobilized an entire training effort with an ingenious program that affected millions of employees. This ambitious effort, the “Training Within Industry” program, revolutionized a way of thinking about continuing education, training, and human resource development. Mr. Dooley mobilized the U.S. labor force in unimaginable and unanticipated ways with programs whose effects can still be felt today.
An engineer by training, Mr. Dooley served as president of the Westinghouse Technical Night School from 1906 to 1923. In 1911, he served as Westinghouse Electric’s first head of its education department. After executing other assignments, his skill recommended him to an appointment to organize the massive “Training Within Industry” (TWI) program under the National Defense Committee. He served as its director under the War Manpower Commission until 1946.
TWI was conceived as a resource to help disseminate the best training practices for American industry. The nationwide consulting service was offered to manufacturing companies and government contractors to meet federal quality requirements through the training of their employees. The ultimate success of the program was that it relied on managers and supervisors as trainers, and differentiated training for technical skills, supervisory training, and job management; Mr. Dooley was then able to build national capacity through training as the long-term goal. His programs showed conclusively the relationship between systematically developed training and job performance. Mr. Dooley reported in his analysis of the program that nearly two million training certifications were awarded to supervisors, managers, and senior managers. One can speculate that at least several millions more benefited from the program as the knowledge trickled down.
Mr. Dooley evaluated the effectiveness of these training programs in his “Lens Grinder Study.” His 1940 study addresses the question whether increased training could affect learning outcomes. With formal, on-the-job training, training time was reduced to months instead of years, and this study became the basis for future TWI programs.
TWI was organized at a time of national emergency, when productivity had to be high enough to support the war effort. Mr. Dooley dealt with serious issues regarding domestic production that he responded to with the efficacy of his program. He left his legacy on U.S. companies that saw their effectiveness increase and their activity levy a positive impact on the outcome of WWII. The post-war rebuilding of Japan also utilized the training, human relations, and quality/performance improvement methods of TWI. So influential is the work of Mr. Dooley on the field of human resource development, that he was inducted into the Academy of Human Resource Development Scholar Hall of Fame.
Mr. Dooley’s background in adult education enabled him to create programs with continuing education methods, yet coupling them with the impartation of key training concepts. Mr. Dooley published books and articles about the TWI program, and tried to move the theory of TWI to practice by proliferating the ideas that were so successful with the government program.
C.R. Dooley was an exemplary human resource development professional with a distinguished record of accomplishments in adult and continuing education. The efforts of his visionary work left a lasting imprint on the face of education and training in the United States. Mr. Dooley passed away in 1956.
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