Training and professional development for local government officials and staff is critical for attaining local and regional goals. Given the time constraints of public service and personal lives, local government staff and officials often do not allot time and resources for professional development. Yet those who do regularly engage in continuing education are more familiar with best practices and more capable of providing and improving services. Training can be costly, but there are many strategies to provide effective training with limited resources. Training jointly based on geographic proximity or shared interests can reduce costs by using existing frameworks or gaining economies of scale. For example, if one county has a successful leadership training program for internal purposes, it could be expanded to include other local governments. Networking with peers is also important for sharing successful strategies, strengthening relationships that lead to partnerships, and leveraging conversations to improve communities.{{For more information on networking in other regions, see Mid-America Regional Council, “Local Government Services,” http://www.marc.org/Government/Local-Government-Services.html; Delaware Regional Planning Commission, “Strategies for Older Suburbs Roundtable Series,” http://www.dvrpc.org/SOS/Roundtable.}}

Action 1

Collaborate with partners such as the Illinois Municipal League, Councils of Government (COGs), the National League of Cities, and professional organizations to ensure ON TO 2050 topics are included in trainings for elected and appointed officials.

Implementers

CMAP

Action 2

Perform an inventory of available trainings relevant to local governments, identify topical or geographic gaps in coverage, and regularly engage training providers to collaborate and broaden networks of potential attendees.

Implementers

CMAP, Metropolitan Planning Council, and Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (MMC)

Action 3

Regularly schedule trainings for staff and officials, and seek to train jointly with other governments.

Implementers

Local governments

Action 4

Create professional development plans for staff and officials and support completion of relevant training.

Implementers

Local governments

Action 5

Engage community colleges to provide input on continuing education programs that serve the needs of government employees.

Implementers

COGs and counties

Action 6

Evaluate the potential to include municipalities and other local governments in training initiatives or provide those trainings on a fee for service basis.

Implementers

Counties

Action 7

Encourage peer networking and host events that allow local government staff to coordinate efforts to achieve common objectives.

Implementers

CMAP, MMC, COGs, and partners