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APMM | Capstone Project

Learn more about APMM’s capstone project that is associated with the Professional Development Program.

Capstone Project

Participants seeking program completion will be required to earn a minimum of 34.5 units through attendance at designated training programs and present a Capstone Project.  Those interested will be asked to identify a specific problem, issue, or concern he/she would like to address and prepare a Capstone Project for presentation during a Capstone Project symposium.  These are scheduled twice each year during the Executive Development Conferences and the Annual Conference.  


Faculty

Practitioner and academic experts in the field of local government management and administration will serve as faculty for the program. Emphasis will be placed on seeking local, regional, and nationally recognized individuals to make presentations and facilitate discussions. When appropriate, managers are scheduled to present an issue or topic for which they have significant experience.


FORMAT

Programs will be scheduled in half-day, one-day, mini-conference, and conference segments. Some workshops and seminars will be held in conjunction with other APMM activities, while others will be held at alternate sites across the Commonwealth to facilitate participant attendance. Where appropriate, specialized programs offered by other local government organizations such as the Public Employer Labor Relations Advisory Service (PELRAS) Annual Conference, will be included in the program schedule.


Outside TRAINING

In addition to the above mentioned programs, attendance at training events not directly sponsored or sanctioned by APMM may qualify for program training units up to a maximum of nine hours.  To seek credit for programs not offering APMM training units, enrollees of the PDP must submit a letter of request along with the seminar brochure to the Professional Development Committee via the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities.  The Committee will review each request individually and determine the applicability of training units.


PROGRAM MATERIALS

A course outline will be prepared for each program session.  A package of materials supportive of each topic will be distributed with the expectation that every participant will have compiled a mini-library of resource materials drawn from current management and administration books and periodicals upon completion of the program.   The cost of books and other publications will be part of each program's registration fee.


Cost

Participants seeking program completion will likely spend the equivalent six to seven full days per year over a two and one-half year period involved in program sessions. The estimated total cost for registration fees to complete the program will be $600 to $700. This cost will cover expenses associated with the presentation including: faculty, instructional materials, site rentals, breaks and luncheon fees. Any outside funding the program is able to generate will reduce daily registration fees. 


Schedule

Following is a typical yearly schedule of PDP training opportunities:

  • a one-day workshop, typically held on the last Friday in January, usually in Carlisle, Cumberland County;
  • a full-blown Executive Development Conference lasting 2 to 2½ days, usually in late February, held at locations in both western and eastern Pennsylvania, typically at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Fayette County, and at the Allenberry Resort Inn & Playhouse, Cumberland County;
  • an ICMA University Workshop at the start of APMM’s Annual Conference in May;
  • a one-day workshop, typically held in Western PA, usually conducted on the third Friday of October;
  • a one-day workshop to be a parallel of the western workshop, typically held on the first Friday in November, usually in Lancaster County;
  • in addition to the training listed above, hot topic training seminars will be scheduled during the year when an issue arises in local government needing immediate attention;
  • Capstone Project Symposiums are scheduled twice each year, at the APMM Annual Conference and at the Executive Development Conferences.

The Capstone Project & Suggested Guidelines

As a local government professional, it is your responsibility to find ways to save municipal dollars, to budget time more effectively, and to continually seek out innovative methods to improving the way you conduct business. Sharing the tales of these experiences, both the successful and the not so successful, with fellow colleagues promotes better service and a more unified approach to progress in Pennsylvania’s municipalities. This is the purpose of the Capstone Project presentation required for all participants seeking program completion in the PDP. 

The Capstone Project is an independent study developed and presented to fellow municipal mangers that depicts some aspect of local government operations. Participants will, hopefully, apply the information and understanding gained while involved in the PDP to the solution of the problem, issue, or concern they have identified for their Capstone Project. Work on the project should produce a tangible result—a paper, a video presentation, or a document—to be handed out or shown during the presentation to fellow municipal managers. 

This presentation should not be viewed as a research paper or master’s thesis; rather, this is meant to be an opportunity for you to relate your on-the-job-experiences to an audience of municipal managers who can benefit from this information. The guidelines below list the main points each presentation should contain. Please follow these guidelines to ensure your presentation is clear and expresses the details of your topic succinctly. 

The Capstone Project presentation should be a minimum of 20 minutes in length, but should not exceed 30 minutes. Those with 34.5 units accrued will be notified by mail of their eligibility to present a Capstone Project. Projects completed have included issues such as local tax reform, telecommunications, solid waste programs/recycling, police training on domestic violence, and capital improvement planning.

Following are the Capstone Project Presentation guidelines:

  • A concise and specific statement of the issue or problem to be addressed
  • A description outlining how the issue presented itself and the reasons why improvement was neces­sary; i.e., problems occurring, effect on municipal operations, community impact, etc.
  • A review of how the solution was identified; i.e., steps involved in getting to a solution, who was involved, time-line, council meetings, public meetings, etc.
  • A description of how the solution was implemented; i.e., the role of council, the role of the commu­nity, the role of staff, outside vendor support, state or federal government support, etc.
  • An explanation of the improvement; i.e., who was affected, how was the change received, etc.
  • An evaluation of the outcome; i.e., effectiveness, efficiency, equity, accountability, recommenda­tions to audience, etc.
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