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Local Government Academy

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Literacy

Mission: To provide educational programs and continuing training for municipal officials in Southwestern Pennsylvania, primarily Allegheny County.

Results: Over the past 25 years, LGA has consistently produced programs on virtually every aspect of municipal affairs from collecting taxes to road maintenance to strategic planning. Most notably, LGA presents programs that promote economic development and revitalization, environmental quality, and intergovernmental cooperation. Programs are presented to municipal employees and elected officials to help them perform their duties with greater efficiency and effectiveness.

Target demographics: Local governments, community groups and citizens interested in good government within the 10 county region of southwestern Pennsylvania

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1,500 +

Geographic areas served: southwestern Pennsylvania

Programs:

The Newly Elected Officials Course is a one-of-a kindcourse, unique in Pennsylvania for its scope and content.  NEOC provides acomprehensive overview of the duties of municipal officials. The course is held following every localelection and has been distinguished as a recipient of the League of WomenVoters Good Government Award.


Course content includes information on Powers and Duties of Local Officials, Municipal Finance, Public Safety, Ethics, Human Resources, Intergovernmental Cooperation, Planning and Public Works.

Community Stories

24 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

7 loisd

Client Served

Rating: 5

I appreciate the difference between local governmental officials having "on the job" and "formal" training. To serve the public interest through the first experience without benefit of the second is a little like a rookie being handed a game plan and calling plays during the big game. LGA's Newly Elected Official's Course came in time for me to understand what I had struggled with a year before as a rookie governmental official. My course work cut through some rough spots, providing me a much clearer view to local governance and as a bonus, much more confidence. All learning is experience based, true, but so much of LGA coursework is underlined by using the experts to teach these courses. We need these guides in a classroom full of peers who are living through very similar situations. This formal learning enabled an environment that allowed me to excel. I could feel it florish before the course was over. As a result, I want to continue to excel in government and foster this knowledge. I am so much more interested in our superseeding laws, land use, human resources, public safety, infrastructure, and ethics, to name a few because I have a much needed understanding to effectively govern over these areas. I had been elected a year before this course. LGA's founders and executive staff cared enough to understand that to provide a very solid curriculum and line up the best instructors is key. I will thank them by continuing to put this knowledge to better use and long as I can and passing the idea on to others. We as a nation can have no better goal than that.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I first ran for Borough Council I was in over my head. I felt insecure, unsure, and overwhelmed. I was second guessing myself. Then I signed up for the LGA. I've saw fifty or so peers who were in the same boat as myself. All I wanted to do is to serve my community but I didn't know how. LGA gave me the tools to build up my confidence to do a great job for my community. I not only have self assurance, but I'm able to use those tools to navigate through the various problems and processes as they occur.

17

Former staff

Rating: 5

The Local Government Academy's Municipal Internship provided me with an amazing experience in local government, far beyond any expectations that I had. Beginning with the search for an internship, the LGA staff was so helpful. Even though was not able to attend the internship fair, they were able to connect me with internship opportunities that appeared both interesting and rewarding. Once I was hired for an internship with Pittsburgh City Councilman Bruce Kraus, the LGA provided invaluable support and networking. The two professional development sessions were great experiences. The first session afforded the interns the opportunity to explore how local governments can be at the vanguard of sustainable development and planning. The second session served as an introduction to the myriad of careers that are available in the local public sector, in addition to strategies to entering and thriving in these careers. This particular session opened my eyes to the important and rewarding work that is done by local governments, and certainly spurred my own thoughts of a career in local public service. The LGA sessions also provided me with an excellent opportunity to meet other interns, share our experiences, and make a few good friends. The internship itself was one of the best experiences I have had so far - not only was I provided with relevant, interesting, and important projects, but I was also welcomed into the office, where I quickly felt at home. I was also given the opportunity to witness local government by attending council meetings and hearings, in addition to neighborhood community meetings and discussions with constituents. I am permanently indebted to Councilman Kraus and his wonderful staff for making my internship experience so amazing. In sum, the LGA Municipal Internship Program was an amazing experience. I would strongly recommend it to anyone with some interest in local government - interns in this program are provided with excellent opportunities and unparalleled support.

30

Client Served

Rating: 5

I highly recommend the LGA internship program. I was placed as an intern with the URA of Pittsburgh in the housing department. I have the LGA to thank for my full time job with the URA. I was hired on full time about a year after I began my internship.

31

Client Served

Rating: 5

Because I felt I could make a difference in my community through public service, I decided to run for borough council. In preparation for winning a seat on council, I began attending the business meetings. It was then that I realized that although I am well-schooled in my own profession, I was truly a novice in the realm of local government. That's when I found out about the Local Government Academy and the Newly Elected Officials Course. What a lifesaver it was! Through my participation in the seminars, I not only gained perspective on governmental issues, but also on effective policy, best practices and most importantly I got acquainted with a host of resources that are now on my speed dial. The site visits to other boroughs, the guest speakers on a variety of topics and the genuine support of the LGA staff made the challenges of being a newbie in the political realm surmountable. Because of the information I received and the connections I made through LGA, I know that I am a more effective council member. Everyone, with or without experience,who is involved in public service and administration can certainly benefit by participation in the LGA. It gets 5 Gold Stars from me!

30

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I was first approached to attend the LGA my first thought was "I don't want to go to any classes. I don't have the time". Well, as a recent graduate it didn't take as much time as I thought. Because of the staff being so kind and professional I flew right through. I learned so much from the staff and also from the other elected officials. It turned out that all the municipalities had the same problems as mine. I feel with the knowledge that I left there with has made me a better official. Oh, by the way, I still don't have any more time then I had before I went to LGA. LGA is the BEST!

32

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Township of Ross and the North Hills Council of Goverments have both benififted greatly from the LGA Internship Program. The LGA makes it much easier for us to indentify and hire good qualified college students. Our interns have helped us to develop programs such as our pavement management program and the North Hills COGs stormwater management pond inventory. The projects have been completed at a much lower cost using the excellant interns we have been able to find using the program.

24

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The LGA is a well organized institution, and it is a rare opportunity to receive experience in government while getting paid. I also valued the interaction between local residents, business owners, government officials, other LGA interns, etc.

25

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent summer 2008 interning in the office of the Local Government Academy. In addition to daily office duties, I prepared online resources for local government officials, studied the implications of new PA tax legislation, and attended various programs offered by LGA. I gained valuable office experience and learned more than I thought possible about the workings of local government (both as it works now, and as it should work) and non-profit organizations. The LGA fulfills a unique demand in SW Pennsylvania - a region with an incredible number of small, low-resource municipalities - helping elected and appointed officials to find ways to govern better and more efficiently.

22

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I came in contact with the LGA last year at their annual internship fair. I was a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh in their GSPIA program, which requires their students to participate in an internship in order to graduate. Thanks to the LGA and the internship fair they offered, I found an exceptional site to do my internship and received great experience. The LGA also provided a number of workshops for its interns which were very useful for beginning the workforce and I made a number of contacts through the LGA. I am very satisfied with this program and very appreciative.

20

Client Served

Rating: 5

Throughout my summer internship I gained valuable skills which are difficult to grasp in a classroom setting. My internship was a substantive experience in which I learned the "ins and outs" of local government. The professional development session was a great start to a job search.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

In the two months that have passed since completing the LGA's Newly Elected Officals Course, I have found several occassions when I draw on information that was provided. The curriculum was relevant, well designed and presented concisely in a compressed timeframe. It gave me a foundation and will help me develop my understanding and performance of my Council position. Though the course didn't give us all the answers - more importantly, it taught and encouraged us to ask the right questions. The experience was invaluable.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

This program came highly recommended, and the commitment of LGA to programming was apparent. A lot of effort went into the program, and we were exposed to a lot of the complexities of local government. Thanks, Deron Gabriel

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have in my adult life taken many classes for my business. It was not unusual for me to take a magazine or the like with me, in case I got bored. Being elected to office, I felt a responsibility to take any legitimate classes that were offered. I reviewed the information sent by the LGA and signed up for The Newly Elected Officials course. On the first day of the LGA classes - I brought a magazine - just in case! I have now completed the classes and never opened the emergency magazine! The classes were well organized. The staff was gracious and professional. The teachers were absolutely top notch. The classes were invaluable and taught in an easily digestible format. It has helped me as a "newbie" to perform and seek help that I would have never been aware of, if it wasn't for the extremely knowledgeable people that make up the LGA.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I learned after being elected Supervisor. I had to chose between PSATS and LGA - I chose LGA. I had no expectations, soon realized that I should have and they were far exceeded. They expose to you to the tools and information you need to do this job. Every topic was covered thoroughly. Each LGA employee gives 100%.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

As an appointed councilperson, I received a brochure advertising the Local Government Academy from our borough secretary. When I indicated my interest in attending the Newly Elected Officials Course, the other members of council encouraged my interest and unanimously agreed to have the borough reimburse me for the tuition. My high expectations for learning about municipal government operations have been more than satisfied. In fact the organizers and presenters at our all day Saturday sessions have excited me and convinced me that I can and should make a positive impact on the quality of life in my community.

7

Board Member

Rating: 4

In my work with municipal governments across the western half of the state, education of officials, both elected and appointed, on the cruicial nature of their roles and their impact on the health of the region's business community was imperative. After a brief investigation into LGA's objectives and processes, there was no other choice for our organization but to become both a Board member and a major sponsor. The role that LGA plays in creating nonpolitical inroads into effective governance of the region continues to be a tremendous asset, with all upside potential for growth and sustained contributions to the region's overall health.

8

Client Served

Rating: 4

The Local Government Academy excels in placing undergraduate and graduate students as interns with local municipalities. By having an Internship Fair in February, this allowed me to meet representatives from those communities participating in the program and really get an understanding of the project that would be completed as a summer intern. The program is a wonderful way to give students interested in public administration a taste of what the world of local government is like.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was retained as a Township Manager four years ago to assist a growing municipality improve issues that included rapid turn-over in administrators, erosion of trust and stagnate performance. With the knowledge that one of the root causes was the corresponding succession of elected leaders, we turned to the Local Government Academy for help. My leaders and I have yet to be disappointed! We strongly encourage new board members to attend and staff also receives training. Shared knowledge builds trust and common-ground. It is also much more difficult for any official to support a one-issue agenda once they learn there is much work to be done!

8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Provides information and learning opportunities from top professionals in local government to those who need it most....the elected officials. And provides this service at little or no cost. All benefit from the information provided by LGA, from the most urban and progressive communities to the most rural or distressed communities. The beauty of this agency is that the real benefit is to the folks who live in these communities; in the form of lower taxes, lower legal fees and general understanding of governing by their elected local government.