Using Cohorts to Enhance Teamwork
Solano County had significant interest from employees who wanted to expand their education, but the closest campus was miles away. The high cost and time constraints of commuting felt like a barrier for some. GGU broke down the barriers by bringing education to the employees with a combination local on-site cohort classrooms and online learning. GGU also worked closely with the County to create an Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) program tailored to the specific educational needs of Solano County’s employees. That gave space for the in-class sessions to concentrate on subject matter that was more pertinent to the County's needs.
For example, there was one course GGU usually offers in-class, but because many Solano County civil servants had completed a rigorous training in this same field already, GGU allowed the course to be taken on-line instead. That gave space for the in-class sessions to concentrate on subject matter that was more pertinent to the county’s needs.
GGU met with County representatives in June 2010 and by October 2010, the first EMPA program was up and running in Solano County. By January 2011, a second program was underway. The first EMPA class graduated in April 2012.
“Our cohort consists of 19 county employees from various departments from Auditing, IT, to the CIO’s office. It’s truly great for sharing experiences and for group projects. The learning directly relates to our organization.”
-- Karl Cook, MPA student, Staff Analyst, Solano County Health and Social Services