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News

New urban partnership to improve city management

By Vince Fratiani

Cleveland State University announced in a press conference last Monday that the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs will run a special new grant program that will train City of Cleveland employees to be more efficient and innovative managers.

The Cleveland Foundation awarded a grant of $181,500 to support CSU’s development and implementation of the Cleveland Management Academy, a public private partnership with the City of Cleveland. Programs that integrate the university’s resources within the city and region are a priority for new CSU president Ronald Berkman.

“Part of our mission—very central to our mission—is development in the city in which we live,” Berkman said.

Starting on Oct. 7, the first group of 30 mid-level city administrators will begin training in the one-year Public Management Development program. Another group of 30 city employees will start the program in 2010.

Program applicants are mid-level city administrators in charge of at least two or three individuals and were selected by a committee that evaluated their application, a written essay and a math aptitude test.

Out of 79 employees that applied, these initial 60 were selected as the best and brightest city managers, as described by Cleveland COO Darnell Brown. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson shares Brown’s confidence.

“You’re a very talented and committed group,” Jackson said.

Jackson also praised the selflessness of these employees whose private sector counterparts make significantly more money.

The eclectic group comes from city departments ranging from public utilities and port control to community relations and finance.

The program is a series of 25 one-day workshops that combine real-life experiences with classroom theory taught by a combination of CSU faculty and city experts. These city workers will also have the opportunity to work with CSU students on research projects, creating a mutual learning environment described by more than one speaker at the program’s first press conference.

“Everything they learn in the classroom is applicable right away in the workplace,” said Zoe Tyler, director of the Center for Leadership Development in the College of Urban Affairs,

“This is real engaged learning at work,” Tyler said later.

Eventually, 2,000 city employees are expected to be eligible for this program, according to the program’s press release.

Tyler says that the program will presently count as continuing education credits. The urban affairs college is in the process of putting together a proposal that would allow these courses to count for academic credit as well.

 

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