CSG West offers top-notch professional development opportunities aimed at strengthening western legislative institutions and helping legislators become more effective. Key capacity training programs and opportunities include the following:
CSG West provides premier capacity building opportunities for Western legislators within their first four years of TOTAL service through the Western Legislative Academy (WLA). The WLA is an intensive three and half day professional development program designed to assist legislators become more effective leaders and to strengthen legislative institutions. The WLA focuses on communications, time management, governing, ethics, and consensus building. A highlight is a half day spent at the US Air Force Academy working on personnel assessments and team building.
The Legislative Service Agency/Research Directors (LSA/RD) Committee is a core CSG West program. Made up of the nonpartisan legislative staff leaders of the West, the committee is dedicated to finding ways to deliver the best possible customer service to lawmakers in a positive and professional workplace environment. Western staff leaders convene each year for a training and professional development seminar.
The Annual Legislative Training Assembly (ALTA) is a one-day professional development opportunity at the CSG West annual meeting, and it is open to all annual meeting attendees. Training consists of lessons from experts as well as hands-on practical exercises. ALTA sessions build “process” skills for members at all stages of their legislative careers.
Western lawmakers are encouraged to apply to CSG National’s Henry Toll Fellowship Program, one of the nation’s premier leadership programs for officials from all branches of state government. Annually convened in Lexington, KY, the Tolls Program is an intensive “intellectual boot camp” focused on crisis management, adaptive leadership, and personal assessment, among other skills.
In 2012 the Officers of CSG West approved the establishment of WESTRAIN, a pilot program that serves as a speakers' bureau to provide capacity training in state capitols. During its pilot phase, CSG West is offering trainers in the areas of communications, ethics, time management and stress management. To date, the legislatures of Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Nevada have benefited from this program.