To underscore the value of certification to the learning and development profession and to recognize the support from thought leaders in the field, the ASTD Certification Institute (ASTD CI) announces the creation of two new award programs and encourages eligible candidates to apply.

ASTD CI oversees the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) credentialing process. The CPLP credential was launched operationally five years ago; there are currently more than 1,000 CPLP credential holders.

"We believe it is time to recognize employers and thought leaders for their commitment and support of CPLP certification and their contribution to the profession," said Jennifer Naughton, senior director of credentialing at ASTD CI.

The two recognition programs are:

1. CPLP Fellow Program - this honor recognizes thought leaders for their support of the CPLP credential and the learning and development profession.

2. CPLP Employer Award - this honor recognizes employers and the business community for their support of the CPLP credential.

The CPLP Fellow Program will evaluate candidates based on four criteria: authorship; awards and recognition; influential positions held; and career achievement. A CPLP Fellow does not need to hold the CPLP credential.

The CPLP Employer Award will evaluate organizations based on seven criteria: recruitment of CPLP holders; support for CPLP certification; 3-fold recognition of CPLP holders in the organization; number of CPLP holders in the organization; and demonstrated CPLP value proposition in the organization.

Applications are open until September 1, 2011. The awards will be presented at the ASTD 2012 International Conference & Exposition, to be held in Denver, CO, in May.