FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (June 4, 2015) -- A Fort Leonard Wood employee is one of only nine professionals in the nation this year to receive a highly regarded credential.

John Arata, the chief of the G-3 Training Division at the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, was presented the Certified Professional in Learning and Development Contributor2 Award by the Association for Talent Development on May 18, during the annual ATD Awards Ceremony, held in Orlando, Florida.

"I have known and worked with the eight other awardees. They are an amazing group of professionals, each with many personal and professional recognitions. They are successful authors, business owners, university staff and faculty and government employees. They all have the achievement of excellence in common. I'm very happy and humbled to be in their number," Arata said.

The annual awards ceremony honors individuals for advancing the knowledge and practice of talent development and organizations for demonstrating how a commitment to developing talent in the workplace drives the performance of business worldwide.

"The CPLP Contributor2 Award Program recognizes select CPLP credential holders for their outstanding support and promotion of the CPLP program. The CPLP is the professional distinction which may be earned by people whose job is helping employees to develop their talent, knowledge and skills in the workplace," Arata said.

The CPLP is the workforce training and education profession's equivalent of the certified public accountant, the professional engineer or the project management professional.

The CPLP credential is earned through a two-stage process, including passing a knowledge-based exam and the evaluation of a work product submitted by the candidate.

Arata has held the CPLP credential since 2006, the first year the credential was offered.

Arata said he has enjoyed working with the CPLP program for the past nine years.

"It has given me the chance to help give back to a profession I've been in for more than 30 years, and to see others in the learning and talent development field grow, mature and 'earn their spurs,'" he said.

The Colts Neck, New Jersey, native retired as an Army lieutenant colonel before working as a civilian for the Army.

The chief of the G-3 Training Division, he manages an organization that provides learning assistance and teaches Soldiers who come to Fort Leonard Wood and the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence for professional military education or functional training.

"The G-3 Training provides digital mission command systems training, computer-based gaming and battle simulations, runs the consolidated installation library and supports approximately 450 international military students and their Families who come to MSCoE for training each year," Arata said.

There are currently more than 1,800 CPLP credential-holders worldwide.

"If you don't keep growing personally and professionally by being a lifelong learner, you become stagnant. Learning helps keep you relevant and helps you to meet the needs of an ever-changing environment," Arata said.