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Essential Leadership Skills Certificate

Offers special district employees who are aspiring to be general managers the opportunity to be recognized for learning essential skills needed for success in local government leadership.

Earning this certificate demonstrates training in critical skills to competently lead special districts. The modules are taught by experienced certified special district managers and local government experts.

Do you want to receive reminders for upcoming training requirements, program highlights, and more? Commit to being one of the first to earn the Essential Leadership Skills Certificate today!

Commit Now

Effective Communication 2 Required

Who Does What? Best Practices for Board and Staff Roles and Communications 

Effective government at the local level relies on many people playing specific roles. This webinar will cover applicable laws and best practices for developing positive and effective relationships between elected board members and their staff, including a discussion of legal standards and practical tips to ensure good and productive government.

 Webinar: October 10, 2023      OnDemand

Organizational Development 1 RequiredVirtual Workshop: Organizational Development

This workshop, taking place over the course of two half-days, will help leaders conduct an overall organizational assessment of their district, provide a primer on strategic planning, and instruct on the best practices for leadership development and team building. We will also explore how to handle inevitable change in your organization, implement effective performance management strategies, promote employee engagement, and handle conflict resolution, including managing disputes and fostering an environment of effective collaboration.

 Virtual Workshop: October 4 and 5, 2023 

Human Resources Management 1 Required

Human Resources Boot Camp  

Are you prepared to face the important HR trends that are emerging now? CSDA is pleased to present a full-day HR Boot Camp that will cover cutting-edge information that HR professionals in special districts need to know. Divided into four segments: hiring, performance evaluation, employee discipline, and legal trends, this day is designed to maximize your time and give you substantive information you can use in your district right away.

 Virtual Workshop: October 18 - 19, 2023

Leadership 1 Required

Supervisory Skills for the Public Sector  

This course for supervisors will discuss and explore the supervisory skills necessary to work with people in the public sector environment. The course will cover what is expected of a supervisor, how to monitor and evaluate employees, and how to coach, mentor, and motivate employees.

 Virtual Workshop: September 13 - 14, 2023


To earn the Essential Leadership Skills Certificate (ELSC), participants must complete the following six modules:

  1. Effective Communication (5 hours)
  2. Organizational Development (6 hours)
  3. Financial Management (6 hours)
  4. Human Resources Management (6 hours)
  5. Leadership (6 hours)
  6. Special District Laws (6 hours)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who should apply?

This is individual recognition. Supervisors, managers, department heads, and/or new general managers are encouraged to apply.

What do you receive?

Upon completion and verification of the application and submission of the one-time fee, you will be recognized by receiving a custom certificate in a beautiful, padded folder, that can be presented at an upcoming event should you be able to attend.

How long is the certificate good for?

This achievement lasts a lifetime. All you need to do is keep SDLF current anytime you change addresses, jobs, etc.

CSDM Hours: Continuing education, application approval, and the paid fee will equal a total of 50 points toward the Certified Special District Manager program (35 hours for education and 15 hours for completing the program.)

Fees: $65, one-time fee