What is the PWE credential?
The APWA Public Works Executive (PWE) credential provides national recognition that you have successfully completed the requirements of a rigorous program and acquired the skills and knowledge necessary to earn the PWE credential. This program was developed for individuals entering executive positions and preparing to take on the challenges of executive leadership in public works and associated professions. Once a PWE credential is obtained, individuals must continue to document 20 hours of professional development activities a year.
Is PWE for me?
  • Are you interested in utilizing your experience, talents and vision to lead a public works organization as an executive?
  • Are you interested in developing or honing skills in policy development and implementation?
  • Are you interested in testing your knowledge and skills in the company of other experienced public works executives?
How will the PWE program benefit me?  
  • You will gain relevant executive level public works experience while in the program
  • You will develop a personalized professional development plan based on the results of your 360 assessment
  • You will be mentored by an experienced public works leader with at least 20 years’ experience to hone your skills, abilities, interests, visions, and talents, as you design, develop and implement an executive project
  • You will go before a panel of public works executives and leadership specialists to review, discuss and evaluate your executive project
  • You will grow your professional network
How long does it take to earn a credential?
The credentialing process generally takes PWE candidates about 18 months to two years to complete. You have four years to complete the program.
I don’t have 18 graduate credits; how do I qualify for the PWE?
The University of Nebraska and Norwich University have developed a special on-line program for participants who currently hold a bachelor’s degree. These colleges offer 18 graduate hours in public works.

You may also enter the PWE program without graduate credits if you have successfully completed the DCS Center's Level 2 Public Works Manager (PWM) program. 

Who reviews my application?
All applications are reviewed by the DCS Center Program Council (PC). The DCS Program Council is a group of experienced public works professionals selected by the Board of Directors because of their leadership and commitment to APWA.

What is the Executive Project requirement?
Every level of the DCS Center credentialing program has a required project. This project serves to showcase and summarize the candidate’s professional development throughout the course of the program. For the executive project, a candidate will develop an implementable project that has a focus on policy formation, implementation or modification. Components of the executive project include:
  • A project proposal: Propose an executive project that will affect policy.  
  • White paper that addresses policy: Write a document that captures the current body of knowledge and shows how the outcome of the executive project contributes to it
  • Oral defense: Discuss the outcomes of the executive project in a simulated Council meeting format.
Can I proceed to the next level in the DCS Center?
If you have successfully completed the Level 3 Public Works Executive program, you are qualified to enter the Level 4 Public Works Leadership Fellow (PWLF) program without the 20 years of experience requirement.
How do I maintain my Public Works Executive (PWE) credential?
This program is based on a life-long learning model. Maintaining the PWE credential requires continuing your professional development, formally and informally. You will be required to:
  • Continue to work towards goals in your Professional Development Plan
  • Complete a minimum of 20 hours of professional development through public service and/or continuing education each year and record hours in your DCS Hours form.  Select activities that will continue to stretch your skills as an executive
  • Abide by the ethical standards set by the American Public Works Association Board of Directors
  • Pay the annual $50 renewal fee
What qualifies as 20 hours of public service/continuing education?
  • Present at an APWA event
  • Write an article for the Reporter or other professional publication
  • Write or contribute to a paper for publication
  • Attend courses, workshops or webinars
  • Volunteer at your local APWA chapter in a leadership capacity
  • Attend or facilitate training programs offered by APWA or other associations, agencies, or municipalities
  • Attend APWA National Conferences: PWX (formerly known as the International Public Works Congress & Exposition-"Best Show in Public Works") or North American Snow Conference
  • Attend public works related conferences offered by other organizations
  • Attend, moderate, or act as a Subject Mater Expert (SME) for a CLL
  • Use the Members Library to access videos of CLLs
  • Read, write, or contribute to articles or books on leadership
What are the fees related to the Public Works Executive (PWE) program?
Earning a Donald C. Stone Center credential is making an investment in yourself—and your future. The Public Works Executive program can open the door to more career choices. For fees, please click here to view the PWE Pricing Page. All fees are non-refundable.
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