Educational Program

ICMA's Annual Conference includes a variety of learning opportunities and formats that allow attendees to choose what works best for them.

Program Overview

For a detailed overview of ICMA's Annual Conference educational content, see below.  You can also download the 2017 Annual Conference Preliminary Program.

Educational Sessions

In addition to sessions offered by ICMA’s projects, affiliates, and partners, this year’s conference will feature educational sessions addressing the challenges facing local government managers in six theme tracks developed by the 2017 Conference Planning Committee:

The conference program also includes career tracks of educational sessions designed specifically for:

Sessions have also been developed by various stakeholders and affiliates:

Other conference professional development opportunities include:

Featured Speakers

Featured speakers are noted for their presentation skills and will speak on topics directly related to the conference themes.

Field Demonstrations

The opportunities for professional growth and networking will extend beyond the meeting rooms of the Henry B. González Convention Center to include a series of educational field demonstrations and site visits highlighting the most innovative projects in area local governments. 


Three documentary films, each shown twice, will be shown during the conference.

ICMA University Forums

ICMA University Forums are a hybrid of the traditional conference educational sessions and the ICMA University workshops. Because they are designed to be highly interactive and skill building in nature, the forums are limited in enrollment to 250 participants. Although there is no fee to participate in a forum beyond the main conference registration fee, preregistration is required because of the ceiling on enrollment, and early registration is recommended. ICMA University Practice Group numbers (noted in italics after the description) are attributed to each forum. 

ICMA University Workshops

ICMA University workshops offer interactive, intensive training designed to develop skills and enhance knowledge. They support ICMA members' commitment to career-long learning by addressing the ICMA Practices for Effective Local Government Leadership. Instructors are selected for their knowledge of the topic, understanding of local government issues, and proven ability to effectively teach adults. Workshop Fees, Registration, and Location Because workshops are not supported by conference registration fees and must be self-supporting, there is an additional registration fee ($195) for each half-day workshop unless otherwise noted.

This fee covers the cost of handouts and certificates; audiovisual equipment rental; refreshments; instructor travel, lodging, and honoraria; and any other costs specific to the workshops. Preregistration is required, and early registration is recommended as enrollment in each workshop is limited to between 30 and 50 participants to allow for maximum interaction with the instructor and other participants. All workshops will take place on Saturday and Sunday at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. 

Learning Lab

Short, 30-minute sessions on focused topics. This year, these sessions will be in separate rooms to allow for more participants and better sound quality.

Solutions Track Sessions

Three theater venues in the exhibit hall will host the Solutions Track sessions, which present case studies of local governments that have overcome challenges through innovative public-private partnerships. Session topics were selected by a committee of Conference Planning Committee members and Strategic Partners, with emphasis on showcasing ideas that are practical and new for local governments.

Special Sessions

60- or 70-minute sessions scheduled on Monday (2 time blocks) and Tuesday (1 time block) between or after the educational session time blocks. Content is developed by ICMA staff or other stakeholders on topics of special interest or targeted to a particular audience and usually involves a panel presentation. 


ICMA has registered with the American Planning Association’s professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), to be a provider of Certification Maintenance (CM) credits. AICP members will be able to earn CM credits for approved programs at ICMA’s Annual Conference. A note appears at the end of each conference offering that has been approved through AICP’s review process.