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Emerging Leaders Academy: FAQs

Emerging Leaders Academy logoWhat is the APWA Emerging Leaders Academy?

A national program offered by APWA that provides intensive leadership and management training within the context of public works. It encourages professional growth through a strong network of peers, and offers an in-depth introduction to APWA at the national, chapter, and branch levels.

What is the eligibility criteria for participating in the Academy?

The candidates must be “professionals who have been working in the field of public works for ten years or less or have been promoted to their first career supervisory position within the last three year” and “those who have demonstrated an interest in advancing their careers within the profession.” See the How to Apply section for more details.

What are the benefits from participating in the Academy?

Many agencies and organizations recognize the importance of professional leadership training when hiring and/or promoting managers and supervisors within public works-related disciplines. The Academy’s intensive training in core leadership and management skills also prepares individuals for roles in their respective APWA chapters and branches.

How much time will it take to participate in the Academy?

The Emerging Leaders Academy is a year-long program that starts in September and concludes the following August. It is essential that individuals who participate in the Academy can make the time commitment and have the support of their management to advance through the program. Participation in all events, activities, and projects of the Academy is mandatory.

All participants are required to attend a two-day retreat in Kansas City in October 2022. Participate in a monthly one-hour conference call. Complete monthly homework assignments which typically require 2-4 hours of time per month. Additionally, the class will work on a group project throughout the year. The individual time commitment may vary depending on what role you choose to take on within the project.

How do I apply?

The current year's application deadline is posted on the Emerging Leaders Academy page. Information about the application process is provided on the How to Apply page.

What are the primary activities of the Academy?

The Academy’s activities include monthly one-hour conference calls, a two-day retreat in Kansas City, MO, and attendance at the APWA PWX. It is expected that participants will also complete reading assignments and other class projects as requested by the Academy Instructor team.

How much will it cost to participate in the Academy?

Individuals must secure a financial sponsor to cover the costs associated with attendance at the APWA PWX event. These costs include the PWX registration fee, roundtrip travel, hotel accommodations, and meals. All other costs associated with the Academy (including the two-day retreat in Kansas City, MO) are covered by APWA National.

What topics are covered in the two-day retreat in Kansas City?

The retreat is customized to the interest and needs of that year’s class participants. However, in general, the retreat may address the following topics:

  • Introduction to APWA
  • Defining Leadership
  • Exploring Ethics
  • Proactive Thinking
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Presentation Pointers
  • Leading Change
  • Time Management
  • Media Relations

Whom can I contact if I have questions about the Academy?

For more information about the Emerging Leaders Academy, please contact Deanne Cross at 800-848-2792 or