Skip to main content

Legislative Staff Institutional Essentials

June 24, 2024

Legislative Staff Institutional Essentials 

About the Program 

NCSL’s Legislative Staff Institutional Essentials program will be held online in October and November 2024 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 county. Participants will be awarded a certificate and digital badge upon completion.  

Information presented during this program provides a broad view of state legislatures, including the legislative process, budget process and ethics, and covers emotional intelligence and general communication skills. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with program faculty to obtain in-depth information about the topic being presented. This program is interactive, with breakout rooms, polls, chats and classroom discussions being used 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 before 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. 17, 2024: Module No. 1: Legislative Institution  
  • Oct. 22, 2024: Bonus session No. 1: Parliamentary Procedure | Networking 
  • Oct. 24, 2024: Module No. 2: Model Code of Conduct 
  • Oct. 31, 2024: Module No. 3: Fiscal Procedures/Budgeting 101 
  • Nov. 5, 2024: Bonus session No. 2: Emotional Intelligence | Networking 
  • Nov. 7, 2024: Module No. 4: Clear and Connected Communication 
  • Nov. 14, 2024: Module No. 5: Cultivating Your Craft: Principles of Being an Effective Staffer 
  • Dec. 5, 2024: Presentation of Certificates 

Eligibility and Admissions 

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

To be considered for participation, interested staff must submit their resume as well as a 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. 

Candidate admission is determined by the required items—director approval and resume—as well as the strength of the statement of interest. Participants will be chosen to include a diversity of backgrounds, geographical regions and varieties of legislatures.

The application period will open on May 21 and close on July 1. Candidates will be notified of their acceptance approximately 30 days after the application deadline.

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. 


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

  • Contact NCSL

  • For more information on this topic, use this form to reach NCSL staff.