The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation has awarded West Virginia Universitys Institute for Public Affairs $50,000 over three years to promote and expand the WVU Local Government Leadership Academy.

The academy provides the states city and county government officials with a unique opportunity to interact with the Universitys finest scholars, prominent public officials and leading practitioners who have demonstrated expertise or superior achievement in various areas of local governance.

“The academy provides a hands-on learning experience focusing on the active exchange of ideas and information through a series of three-hour workshops,”said Dr. Robert Dilger, director of the Institute.

After completing six required core workshops on public management, financial management, economic development, human resources, professional ethics and conflict resolution, as well as a predetermined number of electives, participants can earn the certificates of achievement, excellence or distinction.

The academy began offering its workshops on a semi-annual basis in 2000. Currently, 84 city and county government participants are enrolled in the program. The Benedum Foundations funds will be used to enhance the programs offerings and encourage greater program participation by reducing registration fees and providing resources to market the program more aggressively, Dilger said.

The WVU Local Government Leadership Academy is administered by the Institute for Public Affairs, a research and service unit of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. The academy is co-sponsored by the West Virginia Association of Counties, the County Commissioners Association of West Virginia and the West Virginia Municipal League.

The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation was established in 1944 by Michael and Sarah Benedum, both West Virginia natives, as a memorial to their only child, Claude, who died while serving in World War I. The Foundation authorizes grants in West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania in areas of economic development, education, health and human services, community development and the arts.

The next series of workshops will take place at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center in Morgantown April 21-22. Any West Virginia local government official interested in participating is encouraged to contact Dr. Mohamad Alkadry, academy coordinator, at 304-293-2614, ext. 3158, or via e-mail at .