Center offers training for public officials, employees

Ryan Knight

Firefighters, police officials and even mayors receive training and assistance through the university.

The Center for Public Administration and Public Policy, which is part of the Political Science Department, provides help for local governments and nonprofit organizations.

The CPAPP provides training, research, technical assistance and development of public employees and elected officials.

Assistant Director of the CPAPP Melinda Holmes said the center offers training for Ohio public finance officers, public and nonprofit managers, elected officials and municipal clerks.

The center provides the educational requirements, which is 100 contact hours, for municipal clerks. They come to Kent, or in some instances the center travels to a special location, one week a year for three years, Holmes said.

“The challenge for us is to make sure we capitalize on the reputation we have built over the years,” Holmes said.

Graduate students can work for the center and earn credits toward a master’s degree in public administration. Two graduate students work for the center and spend two years with it, unless they graduate early.

Graduate assistant Christopher Smith said he participates in meetings the center has with various public officials that deal with the programs the center coordinates.

Smith said he assisted with the Ohio/West Virginia Municipal Clerks Career Development Program, and help with marketing ideas for the programs.

“You get the opportunity to understand, witness and participate in how the public officials can get assistance from organizations such as CPAPP in a variety of skill areas,” Smith said.

Graduate assistant Matthew Carr said he has prepared material for training programs, writing assessment center exercises, and assisting faculty with research projects.

Carr said he is working towards his Master’s degree in public administration and has done other special things for the center.

“I created and maintain the content of our new Web site,” Carr said. “This semester I am also working on an in-house study of the last 15 years of assessment center data we have collected, which is a very exciting project for us as it’s something we have wanted to do for some time.”

Funding for the CPAPP is provided through the Urban University Program, and was established to serve the needs for Ohio’s urban residents in 1979.

Kent State is one of eight public universities that receive funding from the Urban University Program.

Holmes said the funding is a three-year federal grant that is renewed every two years with each university it is involved with.

She also said that funding has been cut by 20 percent within the last two years, which has forced the university to match the grant dollar for dollar.

“We haven’t raised the price of any of our programs in a long time,” said Holmes. “But with the cuts in funding we are looking carefully into whether or not it is time to.”

Holmes said she is confident that if the center has to raise its prices for its programs, the credibility and good service it has provided over the years will keep local governments and nonprofit organizations turning to the center for help.

Contact Ryan Knight reporter for the College of Arts and Sciences at [email protected].