School of Public Affairs launches training for public, nonprofit managers

By Staff

The School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver has joined the National Certified Public Managers Consortium and for the first time will offer a training program for certified public managers in Colorado. The certificate program was launched last week.

Some 35 other states offer the program providing continuing education to improve management and leadership in government and nonprofit agencies. The program will focus on three competency areas – leadership, management and administration. It is designed to elevate the performance of employees and agencies in the public and nonprofit sectors with the goal of improving public service at all levels.

The need for such a program was recognized by the Pew Center on the States in 2008 when it gave Colorado an overall grade of C+ for government performance in the areas of personnel, information, financial management and administrative infrastructure. Among the glaring weaknesses cited in the report were budgeting and managing for performance, and training and development of state employees. The new Certified Public Manager Program is designed to address those weaknesses.

"In these times of fiscal stress we are asking a lot of our public and nonprofit agencies. The CPM gives them the opportunity to improve management and leadership skills," said Allan Wallis, Ph.D., associate professor at the UC Denver School of Public Affairs and co-director of the program.

The program is aimed at local government managers, including those working in cities, counties and the roughly 6,500 special districts in Colorado that provide fire safety, water delivery, parks and recreation, and other vital services. It also is geared toward state and nonprofit managers.

A demonstration class of Certified Public Managers was held in February in Glenwood Springs at the conference of the Colorado City and County Managers Association. That course was taught by Kathie Novak, former mayor of Northglenn and past-president of the National League of Cities. Wallis, Novak and other working professionals and academics will teach other courses, covering topics from budgeting to leadership and ethics.

Novak, who is associate director of the Certified Public Manager Program, has directed the Rocky Mountain Leadership Program at the School of Public Affairs since 2003. She also manages the Municipal Clerks Certificate training program in Colorado.

While new to Colorado, such programs have long histories in other states. A similar program in Kansas has certified more than 1,000 public managers since it began in 1993.

The program, which costs $300 per class, is a nationally recognized certificate program, and all graduates are eligible to join a nationwide alumni association. All graduates are eligible to receive six credit hours toward a Master in Public Administration.

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