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Legislative Staff Institutional Essentials

October 22, 2023

About the Program

NCSL’s Legislative Staff Institutional Essentials will be held online in October and November 2023 during five two-hour sessions. This month-long training program is for newer legislative staff who are seeking a broader context about legislatures and the legislative process, and will focus on five core competencies. Staff with one to three years of legislative employment are invited to apply, with the approval of their director/supervisor.

This unique program will provide newer legislative staff important perspectives and insights about their roles in supporting the legislative institution. Participants will also have an opportunity to engage in peer-to-peer learning and networking with legislative colleagues from across the country. Participants will be awarded a certificate of completion. 

Information presented during this program provides a broad view of state legislatures, including the legislative and budget process and ethics, and covers general communication and leadership skills. Participants may have the opportunity to engage with program faculty, one-on-one, to obtain in-depth information about the topic being presented. This program is interactive, with breakout rooms, polls, chats and classroom discussions being utilized during each module. Participants will be asked to complete nominal homework in advance of each module. The purpose of the homework is to encourage participants to think about the topic being presented prior to attending the module.

Five Core Competencies

  1. The Legislative Institution: A snapshot of the role of state legislatures and how legislatures have evolved. This competency will also cover basic parliamentary procedure concepts.
  2. Legislative Fiscal Concepts: An overview of key concepts of the state budgeting process.
  3. The Model Code of Conduct for Legislative Staff: A review of NCSL’s model code of conduct for legislative staff and discussion about how it may apply in the legislative workplace.
  4. Effective Communication Skills: Understanding different communication styles in the legislative environment.
  5. Cultivating Your Craft—Principles of Being an Effective Staffer: Participants will reflect on principles such as respecting the institution, being a lifelong learner, and maintaining credibility, which will help guide their work in the legislature.

Program Timeline

Oct. 12, 2023 – Program Kick-Off

Oct. 19 and 20, 2023 – Module #1: Model Code of Conduct 

Oct. 26 and 27, 2023 – Module #2: Legislative Institution

Nov. 2 and 3, 2023 – Module #3: Fiscal Procedures/Budgeting 101

Nov. 7, 2023 – Midpoint Event: Emotional Intelligence presentation and Participant Networking (Optional)

Nov. 9 and 10, 2023 – Module #4: Concise Communications 

Nov. 16 and 17, 2023 – Module #5: Cultivating Your Craft: Principles of Being an Effective Staffer

Dec. 8, 2023 – Presentation of Certificates

Eligibility and Admissions

This program is intended for legislative staff with one to three years of legislative employment. Unfortunately, legislative internships are not counted toward years of employment.

To be considered for participation, interested staff must submit their resume as well as a short statement sharing why they want to participate in the program. Please keep the statement to no more than one page. In addition, applicants must have the approval of their director/supervisor and will be asked to indicate this approval on the application.

The application period will open May 22, 2023, and close June 23, 2023.

Acceptance into the program is competitive based on the quality of the application. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance the week of July 24, 2023.

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Program Fee

The cost to participate in this program is $150. The fee includes instruction from legislative, communication and leadership experts, program materials and the opportunity to discuss lessons learned in a supportive setting.

Certificate of Completion

Participants will be awarded a certificate of completion at the conclusion of the program. In order to receive the certificate, participants are expected to participate in each weekly module and complete and return the evaluation provided at the end of the program. 

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