ICMA / Career Network / Career Development / Management Talent Exchange Programs

Management Talent Exchange Programs

A Management Talent Exchange Program offers high-potential employees a three-month exchange in another local government to help them develop new skills, experiences, and relationships, and position them for the next step in their professional growth.


A Unique Leadership Opportunity

Management talent exchange programs can be operated through the Human Resources department of one of the participating agencies on behalf of other program participants. Individual organizations nominate high-potential employees and then match the nominees to "stretch" assignments in other city, county, and special district agencies. Participating organizations that send employees to other agencies generally receive an employee from another agency in exchange.

A group of managers and human resource professionals interview the MTEP participants and then match them to a special assignment:

Assignment Ideas

Position in Home Agency > Assignment in other Local Government Agency

  • Recreation Supervisor > Assistant to the City Manager
  • Public Communications Manager > Management Assistant to Finance Director
  • Senior Financial Analyst > Planning Specialist
  • Youth Activity Supervisor > Senior Financial Analyst
  • Management Analyst > Recreation Supervisor
  • Project Engineer > Project Manager
  • Police Sergeant > Assistant to the City Manager
  • Planning Administrator > Economic Vitality Coordinator
  • Administrative Assistant > Human Resources Representative
  • Inspector > Human Resources Coordinator
  • Deputy Fire Chief > Budget Analyst

Other program elements include

  • Supervisors at the "hosting" agency serve as coaches to the MTEP participants
  • Learning forums are conducted that give participants an opportunity to hear speakers talk about leadership and career development topics
  • A series of monthly support sessions are held (as part of the forums or in addition) where participants can share their experiences and ask for input on issues or challenges they may be facing.

Ideas for Funding MTEPs

  • A seed grant for program startup
  • Shared costs between participating agencies
  • A corporate sponsor

Program Benefits

The MTEP model addresses the shrinking talent pool of local governments by accelerating the development of high-potential employees. Three-month exchanges provide new skills, perspectives, experiences, and relationships that are valuable for the MTEP participants and their "home" agencies.  In addition, the host agency often uses the MTEP participants to accomplish tasks or projects for which they do not have time or resources. Numerous factors contribute to a program's success:

  • Local governments collaborate on and jointly fund the program; they also offer participant and MTEP slots.
  • The corporate partner supports and helps offset the cost.
  • One agency is responsible for managing the project and addressing any problems.
  • Each MTEP participant gets a coach in the new assignment.
  • Participants network with and learn from each other through the learning forums.

MTEP accelerates the development of aspiring leaders because it goes beyond classroom education and provides new real-life experiences in another organizational environment coupled with candid and helpful coaching

MTEP broadens the experiences of the participants, who in turn bring back new expertise and perspectives to their "home" agency and share those assets with their coworkers

California MTEP

If you are interested in participating in the MTEP in California, it is administered by the Human Resources Department of the County of San Mateo.  To access the most recent information about MTEP, go to www.discovermtep.org.

Launching Your Own MTEP

Local governments in interested in developing a similar exchange program can find a sample program online at www.discovermtep.org.

If you would like assistance from ICMA finding a match with another community, email careers@icma.org and we can assist with the process.

International city/County Management Association

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