National League of Cities Launches NLC University

Press Release
Press Release

At the Congress of Cities and Exposition in Seattle last week, the National League of Cities launched NLC University, a new education and leadership development initiative that will build the capacity of city leaders to better govern, manage and engage their communities, foster the development and exchange of innovative local policy ideas, and create a pipeline of talented city leaders.

Content Choices and Depth

NLC University will serve as a single point of entry for the diverse learning opportunities offered throughout the organization, building on the strength of the former Leadership Training Institute (LTI) and significant educational opportunities on specific topics of local interest. 

Flexible learning pathways will allow members to choose courses customized to every stage of learning, with access to sessions that focus on the fundamentals, dive deeper into key content areas and foster innovation among cities. Members will have a wide range of subject areas to choose and benefit from, regardless of their background, experience, region, or the size of their municipality.

NLC will also expand and modernize its own rich array of content-specific educational opportunities with additional courses and new interactive content from NLC’s City Solutions and Applied Research, Institute for Youth, Education and Families, and Federal Advocacy programs. NLC University’s participants will be well-equipped to challenge old assumptions and develop bold new approaches to both long-standing and emerging problems. 

New Formats, Greater Choice

NLC University will provide a blend of dynamic online offerings and traditional in-person seminars.  Making use of a cutting edge learning management system, NLC University learners will be able to access a larger variety of online course modules any time and from anywhere, interact with their peer cohort of other learners in virtual group workspaces and store and manage their lifelong career learning portfolios and resources. At the same time, participants can continue to engage in enriching, in-person seminars, including more regional offerings, study tours and innovation exchanges.

At every step, NLC University will leverage the expertise of corporate and nonprofit partners and academic institutions to provide the best training available to NLC members.  The University also will closely coordinate with education and training programs offered by state municipal leagues.

New Scholarship Programs

Through an exciting new partnership, NLC University will offer $5,000 per person scholarships to NLC members (including elected officials and staff in member cities and state municipal league staff) who are interested in advancing their public sector careers through an online Master in Public Administration from the University of North Carolina or through a Master of Public Health degree from The George Washington University.

In addition, through NLC corporate partner ICSC, members also have access to the Thomas M. Menino Alliance Scholarship to sponsor a public sector (or nonprofit) member of ICSC to enroll in the John T. Riordan Global School for Professional Development.

Membership and scholarship eligibility will be verified by NLC and its university partner programs during the application process.

Leadership & Recognition

NLC University will be guided by two leadership entities. A Board of Advisors, chaired by Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, will focus on relevant trends in city policy, new formats for learning, and strategic partnership opportunities.  In addition, a group of Leadership Fellows, chaired by Vice Mayor Rap Hankins of Trotwood, Ohio, will provide member feedback and promote education and training throughout the organization.

The professional development achievements of members will continue to be honored through the NLC University certificate program. Individuals who were involved in the LTI program will have all existing credits and levels of achievement transferred, but will see a wider range of offerings delivered in more customized and convenient ways and a newly expanded set of learning achievement recognition levels going forward.

NLC University will seek to bring a wide variety of learning opportunities to members – from webinars to seminars to scholarships – to support a new kind of lifelong learning experience for city leaders.  

For more information about NLC University and its offerings, go to or contact NLC University Director Julie Bosland, at (202) 626-3144 or

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