An innovative program designed to enhance professional skills for public employees was launched recently through a partnership between Thomas Edison State University (TESU) and Hunterdon County, N.J.
The Public Sector Leadership Development Program was conceived during a recent New Jersey Association of Counties annual meeting. During the gathering, representatives from Hunterdon County inquired about the development of a training program for their midlevel managers with TESU’s John S. Watson School of Public Service staff.
“We immediately moved forward in customizing the new program structure, course content and timeframes with the municipality,” said Dr. Malcolm Oliver, dean of the school. “We also identified TESU course mentors who have executive-level experience in local government and the academic credentials to oversee coursework in the areas of Hunterdon County government leadership, public budgeting, human resource management, strategic planning and effective communications.”
The 20 Hunterdon County employees in the inaugural program will complete four group projects that will be immediately applicable to their professional objectives and work environments. Course topics range from county economic development, digitization of county services and integration of human resources and recruitment activities, to hybrid work structures in the post-COVID environment.
“This is a convenient and innovative pathway to leadership development for our employees,” noted Hunterdon County Administrator Brad Myhre. “The flexibility of the program allows for our employees to balance other responsibilities while they develop cross-departmental relationships and workplace competencies that are tailored to their professional aspirations in public service.”
According to Oliver, each student group will submit a culminating report and take part in a presentation during the term’s final session in December 2022.
“We look forward to expanding on this partnership,” said Dr. Cynthia Baum, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at TESU. “The Public Sector Leadership Development Program will empower students to lead their divisions and more efficiently serve their communities while preparing them for advanced study. As an institution uniquely structured to serve adult learners, our emphasis on the practical application of course content directly aligns with the immediate needs and career objectives of Hunterdon County’s employees.”
To learn more, visit tesu.edu/watson or email firstname.lastname@example.org.