La Follette School, state Assembly partner on professional development class

Jan. 14, 2014

A bipartisan professional development class designed for staff of the Wisconsin Assembly is being offered this month by the UW-Madison La Follette School of Public Affairs.

Susan Yackee

Susan Yackee

The short course, which features about 25 in-class hours and 10 outside-class work hours, will be taught by eight different La Follette faculty during four days in January. Topics to be covered include energy, health, education, trade, finance, cost-benefit, policy analysis, and performance management.

Participants will also work in teams on specific policy issues and make recommendations in a presentation that culminates the class.

"We are excited to work with both sides of the aisle to offer this program," said Professor Susan Yackee, director of the La Follette School. Yackee said participants will, upon successful completion of the requirements, be issued a training certificate in public affairs.

Yackee said the idea for the class came from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington), with support from Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha). The Assembly will split the cost of the program with the university. The 24 participants also pay tuition to help offset the cost.

Vos says the partnership is valuable.

"I am pleased that the Assembly can partner with the university to provide this professional development," says Vos. "It will also give staff another opportunity to work in a bipartisan fashion as they collaborate on their policy projects."

Barca agrees.

"It's great when the university is able to reach out and come on-site to help the Legislature, businesses and any other organization work together and learn new skills," Barca says. "I want to thank UW-Madison for working with both Republicans and Democrats to offer this course and help us better serve the people of Wisconsin."

Yackee adds: "We hope this is the beginning of a number of programs we can offer to legislative staff, upper level state managers, agency staff and non-profits."

– Terry Shelton