ICMA / Priorities / Next Gen Initiative

What Are ICMA's Next Generation Initiatives?

ICMA’s Next Generation Initiatives were created to attract and develop a wide and diverse group of people into the local government management profession, including students, early and mid-career professionals, and individuals from other fields. ICMA's activities under this initiative fall under four strategies:

  • Promoting awareness of the local government management profession and encouraging individuals to consider careers in the field.
  • Helping new and early careerists land their first jobs in local government. 
  • Engaging local government management professionals in ICMA early in their careers.
  • Building the leadership pipeline by engaging and developing promising individuals so that they are prepared to step into leadership roles, both in their local governments and ICMA.

Learn more about these initiatives at ICMA's Career Network Web site, and the Next Generation of Managers topic area.

What's the big deal?

Quiet crisis. Retirement tidal wave. Workforce retention and recruitment. Next generation. Succession planning, pipeline, coaching. If you haven’t been hearing these terms, now is a good time to tune in. The local government management profession is approaching a crossroads as baby boomers that comprise the majority of local government managers approach retirement at a quickening pace, and statistics indicate that the greatest numbers of retirees will come from the managerial ranks.

The problem? A much smaller group of young and career changing professionals are in line and prepared to fill their shoes. There just aren't enough people.

Many candidates are unaware of or choose to ignore the potential career satisfaction that can come from leading a local government through times of innovation and change. At the same time, few current public managers consider that they are also responsible for the critical job of developing young and mid-career talent.

What are we doing?

ICMA, in partnership with a number of affiliate organizations, has developed programs to help local governments educate, attract, develop, and retain individuals of all ages, from school-age children to mid-career assistants and department heads, to professionals from other disciplines.

You might ask: What do I need to do as a member of ICMA to help sustain and grow the profession? Explore the links and news items here, and contact us if you have any questions, comments or ideas.

What can I do? Well, lots!

  • Host a summer intern.
  • Hire a management fellow, or create your own program to identify and help build tomorrow’s managers; share a fellow with a neighboring community.
  • Identify promising professionals in your organization to participate in ICMA or other professional growth opportunities such as the Young Professional Leadership Institute, the Emerging Leaders Development Program or Leadership ICMA.
  • Speak at universities, K-12 schools, and career fairs about how local government professionals make a difference in the lives of citizens every day.
  • Teach a course in local government at a local high school, college or university.
  • Create a succession plan for your organization.
  • Become a Legacy Leader, an ICMA Credentialed Manager who coaches and recruits emerging leaders.
    Participate in the Career Coaching group in the Knowledge Network- ask questions, or help out those asking them by offering guidance.
  • Talk to your colleagues at your next area, regional or state meeting about this issue. Is it a crisis? Are there any new faces attending these meetings? Are new managers in the area engaging in the manager's networks? Collaboration helps everyone; help newcomers get engaged.

Contact Information

Rob Carty, rcarty@icma.org, 202/962-3560
Kaitlin Feldman, kfeldman@icma.org, 202/962-3503

Job Center advertising and customer service: advertising@icma.org

Learn more about these initiatives at icma.org/nextgen.