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Certified Public Manager Program

The Certified Public Manager® (CPM) Program is designed to enhance the skills of District Government managers and provide them with the tools to be more effective leaders. The DC Department of Human Resources (DCHR) administers the nationally accredited CPM program. Academic rigor is brought to the program through strategic partnerships with The George Washington University, as well as renowned government, nonprofit and private-sector practitioners, who bring the best of leadership and management theory and practice to the classroom.

Apply for the Certified Public Manager® Program: Monday, April 1, 2024 to Tuesday, April 30, 2024


The CPM Program consists of approximately 300 hours of graduate-level instruction beginning with the Basic Leadership Course (BLC) focusing on team building and leadership to provide a solid foundation for subsequent coursework, as well as additional leadership and strategic project management training. District managers will also participate in performance improvement project teams where they will apply the project management and methodologies learned in class to real improvement opportunities that agency directors and others identified.

Strategic Project Management integrates the strategic thinking and strategic perspective with proven principles, processes, and practices of project management. CPM cohort participants are equipped with the discipline of strategic thinking so that they are able to identify high priority strategic initiatives that are linked to key agency outcomes, and develop and prioritize projects which are linked to those strategic initiatives. Using the disciplines and tools of effective project management, they are enabled to:

  • Identify customers and key stakeholders and their desired deliverables;
  • Set measurable goals and success criteria;
  • Generate improvement solutions using principles of good process and service design to “get to good solutions”;
  • Develop implementation plans and use practices of “iterative” design and solution-building;
  • Deliver the project using “lean” leadership management practices for sustainable implementation.  


Leadership & Management Modules

  • Basic Leadership Course: The Program starts with a comprehensive 360 degree assessment of the participants’ leadership experiences and a two-day Basic Leadership Course. The Course is designed to introduce basic leadership concepts and theories, and facilitate participants’ reflections of their personal leadership styles. The course will also build and foster a sense of learning community among the cohort members.
  • Leading Change: This module is about creating, managing and leading transformational change within organizations. The pace and complexity of change poses a critical challenge to all change agents. This module focuses on change as a source of strength and provides the foundation for sustainable competitive advantage and long-term continuous growth. It takes an interdisciplinary look at the political and social process behind change initiatives.
  • Leadership Values and Ethics: This module explores the legal, ethical and moral dimensions of executive leadership in government, with an emphasis on the tensions that may arise among these dimensions in the exercise of managerial and executive power and authority.
  • Thinking and Communicating Preferences and Styles:  This module uses the Herman Brain Dominance Self-Assessment to provide participants insights into their own preferred ways of thinking and communicating and provides insights into those of others.  In addition, project teams receive a special project team profile which helps them better understand their strengths and potential weaknesses and enable them to increase the effectiveness of their team work.
  • Social Networking Analysis and Tools:  This module provides participants with a deeper understanding of the formation and intentional utilization of social networks.  Participants and project teams are better able to analyze existing and potential social influence networks and develop more sophisticated strategies for "influencing without authority".
  • Managing Human Resource Issues:  This module presents emerging and existing strategic human resource/talent management issues in municipal governments and the District of Columbia in particular and shares cutting edge approaches in the field.
  • Contracting and Procurement Principles and Practices:  This module shares the current principles and practices of procurement and contracting within the District of Columbia government.  Participants are enabled, as managers, to make the most effective use of the various systems and tools which have been established.
  • Budgeting and Financial Management:  This module informs participants of the budgeting process from both a macro and agency-level perspective and provides guidelines and best practices and tools for ongoing financial management of their agencies' budgets.


Schedule & Compensation

Tour of Duty
This CPM Program runs October 1, 2024 through September 30, 2025. Sessions are held once a month on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for 12 months. Sessions meet from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Saturday.

This announcement is for program enrollment only. No compensation will be given as a CPM participant.

Independent Agencies
Independent agencies incur a cost for accepted employee enrollment in the Certified Public Manager® Program.


Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to participate in the Certified Public Manager® Program, applicants must meet the following criteria at the time of application:

  • Currently hold a supervisory, managerial or staff District government position at the grade CS-12 or equivalent, MSS 11 and above supervisors and managers; [e.g. Excepted service–grade 7 and above; Legal LX Legal Service Managers; MPD Non-union Lieutenant and higher; FEMS Non-union Battalion Chief and higher].
  • Have a bachelor's degree (strongly preferred) and/or have comparable work experience.
  • Have the endorsement of their agency head to participate in the program.
  • Have completed the initial probationary period of DC government service.
  • Not be serving in a contractual or term position.
  • Must sign a Continuance in Service Agreement.


Timeline for 2024


Application Consideration

The online application will be open from April 1, 2024 through April 30, 2024. Applications will be screened weekly and points will be given accordingly for early submissions:

  • Friday, April 12: 5 points
  • Friday, April 19: 3 points
  • Friday, April 26: 2 points


  • Complete essays in a Word document (for upload to the online application). Each essay must be 500 words minimum.
    • Essay 1: What do you consider to be the key accomplishments in your professional career? Describe the organization(s) and time frame in which the accomplishments took place.
    • Essay 2: What is the most critical issue currently faced by the government of the District of Columbia? What role can you, as a public manager, play in its resolution? 
  • Resume (for upload to the online application)
  • Each applicant must have the endorsement of their agency. Upon confirmation of application completion and applicant eligibility, eligible applicants will receive the Confidential Supervisory Evaluation Form.
  • Optional: Candidates may submit a professional writing sample for consideration.

    *Please Note: Applicants are responsible for sharing the Confidential Supervisory Evaluation with their direct supervisor and securing the signatures of their direct supervisor and Agency Director.



Contact & Additional Information

For additional information about the CPM Program, contact the DCHR Center for Learning and Development at (202) 442-9700 (Option #2) or via email at [email protected]. You can also contact Melinda Coles at (202) 442-9624 or [email protected].