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Customized Trainings

Our local government leaders are trained to be problem solvers and decision makers. However, engaging an audience of community members, and meeting them where they are in relation to their community, history and culture is an entirely different skill set. We offer a variety of trainings to help government leaders improve their skills in public engagement through customized half-day and full-day options. Our training options offer a solid foundation in evaluating the landscape of your community and determining the best practices in public processes. The trainings include an evaluation component designed to determine the level at which to engage your residents and assess the effectiveness of your public engagement efforts.

Each of the options below can be customized to meet the needs of your organization and community. We can also craft a customized public engagement training program beyond the options below, specific to your organization.


Half-Day Trainings

Half-day training options consist of 2-hour or 3-hour virtual or in-person trainings with a recommended 10-minute break in between. Half-day trainings can be customized to combine any of the following.

  Public Engagement: The Vital Leadership in Difficult Times

Public Engagement can be a nerve-wracking undertaking, but conducted properly, public involvement on important decisions can lead to more creative, acceptable solutions when managed effectively. That is why the Davenport Institute has created a practical and participatory half-day seminar where you will learn:

  • The "Civic Engagement Spectrum": from "informing" to "involving" your residents
  • When your city, county, region, or special district is ready to engage the public
  • How to develop a positive public engagement campaign
  • Important attitude and behavior changes for elected officials, staff, and residents
  • The five main criteria for judging an effective civic engagement process

This seminar was developed by Executive Director Pete Peterson and Senior Fellow Ed Everett.

  Gov 2.0: What Public Officials Need to Know

From 'Open Data' to 'Gov2.0' to 'hackathons' to 'online engagement platforms', technology is fundamentally changing the relationship between citizens and their governments. Unfortunately, our understanding of what different terms mean, and what technologies should be used for particular enterprises hasn't caught up with all of these changes. In this fast-paced and interactive seminar public leaders will learn:

  • The "New Vocabulary": How the various terms interact with each other, and sometimes overlap
  • Purpose Determines Your Technology: Know your goals for citizen interaction and the technology will follow
  • Thinking Like an Online Marketer: The importance of outreach in the digital space
  • Does Online Engagement=Public Engagement?: Engaging with your public online vs. face-to-face

This seminar was developed by Alan Silberberg (founder, Gov2.0/LA),  Julianne Shinto, Alissa Black (formerly Code for America and CA Civic Innovation Project), Pete Peterson (executive director, Davenport Institute/Pepperdine), and Ashley Trim (assistant director, Davenport Institute/Pepperdine).

  Engaging Marginalized Communities: Overcoming Obstacles and Building Trust

Marginalized communities include those who have been historically excluded from involvement in our cities, as well as those continuing to face other barriers to civic participation. Engaging communities marginalized by factors like race, wealth, immigration status, orientation, etc. is not only difficult, but often requires acknowledging ways that past engagement efforts have fallen short. To avoid leaving behind those who need to be engaged most, local leaders need to promote inclusion, listening, and diverse approaches to engagement. This entails facilitating constructive engagement on sensitive issues and understanding how cultural differences shape the public engagement process. In this seminar, you will learn:

  • What comprehensive public engagement looks like and why it is essential
  • Which groups tend to be excluded from engagement efforts
  • How to admit past failures and rectify them
  • Build relationships and trust with those have been left behind
  • To establish a robust engagement process that includes all community members

This training was developed by Assistant Director for Professional Education Pooja Di Giovanna, drawing on materials from Advisory Council member Kurt Wilson and engagement consultant Mahvash Hassan.

While this session can be a stand alone training, we highly recommend pairing it with our "Public Engagement: The Vital Leadership in Difficult Times" training.

  Customized Half-Day Seminars & Training

In addition to our three standard trainings, the Davenport Institute can customize a half-day or full-day public engagement session to fit the particular engagement needs of your government or organization. Past customized trainings include those for:

  • Public Safety/ Police
  • Planning Departments
  • Regional Governance Associations


Full-Day Trainings

Full-day training options consist of a full-day in-person training combining any of the half-day options and/or including a customized training. A full-day training can be delivered virtually over the minimum span of two days.

  Public Engagement: Designing and Leading and Effective Process

In this full-day, highly interactive seminar, participants will go beyond the "what" of public engagement and into the "how", learning important process design and facilitation essentials. Specifically, attendees will:

  • Experience different ways to conduct public meetings
  • Increase understanding of the positive possibilities of public engagement
  • Gain understanding of what makes public engagement "good" or "bad"
  • Learn value of "stakeholders" and a framework to better identify and "recruit" them
  • Be introduced to the key elements of facilitative meetings that are part of an overall process
  • Discover how to design a process that works based on experience and the latest in "brain science"
  • Develop a sketch of a plan for a public process including different levels of engagement, stakeholders to involve, and an overall process plan including timelines, goals, phases and outcomes.
  • This seminar was developed by Davenport executive director Pete Peterson and Mary Gelinas of the Cascadia Center for Leadership
  Customized Full-Day Seminars & Trainings

In addition to our three standard trainings, the Davenport Institute can customize a half-day or full-day public engagement session to fit the particular engagement needs of your government or organization. Past customized trainings include those for:

  • Public Safety/ Police
  • Planning Departments
  • Regional Governance Associations


Want to Host a Training?

For more information about bringing a Davenport Institute full-day or half-day training session to your municipality or organization, contact our team