ICMA University / Leadership Development / Emerging Leaders Development Program

Emerging Leaders Development Program 

We are now accepting applications for the Spring 2017 Emerging Leaders Development Program class. Application deadline is March 31, 2017. Space is limited. Reserve your spot today! FALL 2016 IS NOW CLOSED

2016 Information


$500 for members

$800 for nonmembers (the nonmember rate includes a two-year ICMA membership with access to all benefits, including member discount rates on publications and professional development opportunities).

applied knowledge assessment

Prior to applying for the program, applicants are required to complete the Applied Knowledge Assessment (AKA). This is designed to accelerate your growth as a leader. Click here to purhase the AKA for $75.



If you have questions, please e-mail Nedra James, Program Manager, Professional Development at njames@icma.org.

The Emerging Leaders Development Program is designed to help early to mid-career professionals build knowledge, skills, and abilities in the basic management and technical topics that managers need to know to be successful. Through a unique format that blends monthly teleseminars with senior credentialed managers or public administration professors, ELDP minimizes your time away from work and maximizes your local government expertise.

What You Can Expect

Unlike most ICMA University programs, ELDP matches you to a coach from a list of approved credentialed managers. This ICMA member will be your coach over the course of the two-year program. The coach's responsibilities include:

  • Serving as a sounding board and career coach throughout the year
  • Attending a state association meeting, regional meeting, or ICMA Annual Conference with the participant if possible
  • Helping to select a Management Application Project.

After completing the Management Application Project, you will receive a certificate of completion. ICMA will proudly announce your completion of the certificate in the ICMA Leadership Matters e-newsletter.

Your Course of Study

During the course of the program, monthly teleseminars will be based on the following ICMA publications, which can be purchased from the ICMA Bookstore:

  • The Effective Local Government Manager
  • Managing Local Government Services
  • Management Policies in Local Government Finance
  • Human Resource Management in Local Government
  • Ethics

There will also be 3 rounds of discussions based on personal finances and a current "hot" topic.

Participants of ELDP will cover the following Practices for Effective Local Government Leadership: (1) Staff Effectiveness; (3) Functional and Operational Expertise and Planning; (4) Citizen Service; (5) Performance Measurement/Management and Quality Assurance; (10) Budgeting; (11) Financial Analysis; (12) Human Resource Management; (17) Integrity.

Management Application Project

You are required to complete a final assessment in the form of a Management Application Project. The project is flexible. You work with your coach to choose a project that meets your interests, allows you to demonstrate what you have learned and accomplished as a result of the program, and benefits your community or organization. Below are some examples of a Management Application Project provided by Lauren Palmer, Assistant City Manager, Manhatten, Kansas; Jeff Petry, Parking Services Manager, Eugene, Oregon; and Mary Sassi, Executive Director of Strategic Operations, Redondo Beach, Florida and Jennifer Phillips, Director of Animal Care Services, Orange County, California.

Who is Right for the Program

This program is open to anyone who is not credentialed, but who has taken the Applied Knowledge Assessment. The program is designed to benefit aspiring local government managers, as well as current local government managers and staff who want to hone their management skills. ICMA encourages work groups such as managers, assistant managers, department directors, and mid-level supervisors to enroll and complete the program together. ICMA also encourages international members to enroll.


Emerging Leaders Application

Mary Sassi's Management Application Project (doc, 29 KB)

Jennifer Phillips Management Application Project (doc, 60 KB)

Lauren Palmer's Management Application Project (doc, 70 KB)

Jeff Petry's Management Application Project (doc, 28 KB)

Facilitators of ELDP


Completion of the Emerging Leaders Development Program will count as six-months of executive experience credit towards becoming a Credentialed Manager. To earn this credit, participants must complete a Management Application Project, supervised by a local government mentor.

This program can also help fulfill your professional development requirements as outlined in the guidelines for Tenet 8 of the ICMA Code of Ethics.

This program is made possible through generous support from our partner, ICMA-RC.
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