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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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!
My first contact with the Local Government Academy was at their career fair at the University of Pittsburgh. As a student I have attended numerous career fairs but LGA's fair was exceptional. The opportunity to meet with each host municipality was invaluable and the system of ranking top choices by student and host municipality helped to facilitate a quality match. Also, by posting plenty of information about the projects ahead of time I was able to prepare for the fair rather than show up cold. My assignment in a Washington Co. PA municipality provided me with a chance to experience many facets of common city business and to work with residents, businesses, and elected officials. The staff and elected officials were generous and friendly and helped to make the temporary move from Cleveland to the Pitt area an easy one. Currently, while working on my MPA coursework, I often find myself referring back to my experience in the intern program. It was important to me to have been able to make the connection between the academic and professional worlds and I'm grateful to the Local Government Academy for providing the opportunity to make that connection.
Local Government Academy provides valuable assistance to individuals transitioning from candidate to public official. Non-profit and non-partisan, LGA provides instruction on the nuts and bolts of governing, the pros and cons of various policy options, and helpful guidance how local government can help communities be their best. Particularly useful is the advice on how to function well in an intergovernmental system.