Leadership Academy Offers Free Climate Change Training to County Officials

Bay Journal article (2019-03-20) recounted the history and current status of Maryland’s innovative Climate Leadership Academy. The Academy, the first of its kind in the nation, offers training to state and local governments employees on planning and responding to climate change.

While governments are the target audience, other groups are also able to participate. Educational sessions offered by the Academy vary in length and duration.

The article stated that the creation of the Academy was announced during Maryland’s first State of the Coast Conference last year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Maryland Sea Grant, University of Maryland, Maryland Department of Health, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and other organizations helped develop the Academy and its curricula. DNR administers the program while the nonprofit Association of Climate Change Officers has a 3-year contract to staff and run the Academy.

Currently, all training is offered free of charge. The $150,000 funding for the program comes from a federal grant with additional assistance from the State, University of Maryland, and other partnerships. From the article:

“Not everyone needs to be a climate science expert, but the complexities of climate change require you to have aligned decision-making across an organization,” [Association of Climate Change Officers Executive Daniel] Kreeger said.

That means providing at least some training to almost everyone, from accountants to zoning directors, he said. The length of the educational sessions and the depth of the material will vary, depending on the audience, he added. …

In Maryland, recent extreme weather episodes have already provided a preview for the challenges that governments — big and small — will face in the coming decades, he said. Such emergencies trigger obvious problems, such as strains on the capacity of first responders. But there may be other issues that quietly ripple their way through a jurisdiction’s organizational chart, Kreeger said.

The article also discussed the current training classes being offered, previous climate change training efforts by DNR, and the likelihood that other states will create their own versions of the Academy. For example, Colorado is moving forward with a module-based climate change training that targets various communities.

Useful Links

Maryland Climate Leadership Academy Webpage

Prior Conduit Street Coverage of Climate Leadership Academy

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