Members of the boards of supervisors of Virginia counties will have an opportunity to receive additional training by participating in the County Supervisor Certification Program conducted by Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo).

The training will provide education that will enhance the leadership and decision making skills of the elected county supervisors making them more effective leaders within their communities. The program will provide participants with an overview of basic issues, expectations, and practices associated with serving as a county supervisor as well as detailed information regarding local government.

“This program is just one example of how the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Virginia Cooperative Extension are partnering with organizations to foster new knowledge and develop collaborative efforts that will enhance community viability,” said Sharron Quisenberry, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The certification program was developed in response to members' desires for more in-depth knowledge, said James D. Campbell, executive director of VACo. “The membership wanted a program that would make them better prepared to serve their constituency,” he said.

Each participant in the certification program will be required to complete five core courses and three selected electives. The five required certification courses feature classroom instruction as well as self-directed learning. Each core course includes a minimum of 2.5 days of instruction that includes nine hours of classroom instruction, six to eight weeks of home study with assigned readings and fieldwork, and an additional six hours of classroom instruction to complete the course. The core courses will cover topics including leadership development, duties and responsibilities of public officials, community planning, local government finance, and collaborative governance.

Elective courses will be offered on various topics related to county supervisors' activities and responsibilities including conflict resolution and dispute management, team building, technology in local government, decision-making, and intergovernmental relations.

Class size will be limited to provide a better learning environment and more interaction about participants.

The VACo Education Advisory Committee enlisted assistance from Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) to investigate the possibilities for a certification program. VCE assisted in gathering information from other state organizations and helped to develop the program.

Training will be provided by VCE personnel and contracted trainers.

Participants will have a set time to complete the series of courses and upon completion will receive a certificate endorsed by VACo.

The first required core course will cover planning and land use and will be offered in conjunction with the Local Governments Official’s Conference in August. Michael Chandler, professor emeritus, Virginia Tech, will teach the class.

For more information regarding the County Supervisor Certification Program, contact James Campbell, executive director of VACo at (804) 343-2500.

VACo supports county officials and represents, promotes and protects the interests of counties to better serve the people of Virginia.

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