During the early 1980s, the coordinators of the three Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs in Arkansas identified a need to improve the effectiveness of state management. In 1984, they founded the Arkansas Public Administration Consortium (APAC). The founding APAC Directors included Dr. Roby Robertson from the University of Arkansas Little Rock (UA Little Rock), Dr. Steven Neuse from the University of Arkansas (UA), and Dr. Stan Vanagunas from Arkansas State University (ASU).
Startup funding was provided by the University of Arkansas System Office in 1984. The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DF&A) continued the funding in 1985. Today, APAC is funded by a state appropriation, program fees, and in-kind support from Consortium members.
From the beginning, APAC has been dedicated to improving the quality of public services in Arkansas. This work is accomplished through public administration education and management training for public and nonprofit organizations.
History of the Arkansas CPM Program
The first program developed by APAC was the Arkansas Certified Public Manager® (CPM) program. It is a nationally accredited, comprehensive management development program. It is specifically designed to develop leaders in organizations with a public purpose. The first class of Arkansas CPM participants was held in May 1985. The Arkansas Certified Public Manager Society for CPM alumni was formed in 1988. Wes Wimberly from the State Crime Lab was elected as President.
In March of 1990, then Governor Bill Clinton formally requested active status for the program. The Arkansas CPM program was accredited by the National Certified Public Manager® Consortium in 1991. Larry Fletcher of the Arkansas State Police was the first Arkansas CPM participant to complete the requirements for the National CPM certification. The Arkansas CPM program has been re-accredited in 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011, and 2016.
In June 2004, Governor Mike Huckabee sent a letter to the governors of the states that did not offer the CPM Program. In this letter, he emphasized how the Arkansas CPM Program was such a benefit to the state. He encouraged them to consider developing a CPM Program in their own states. The Arkansas CPM program continues to be a core program for APAC.
History of the Certified Volunteer Manager Program
The Certified Volunteer Manager (CVM) program started in 1985. This program teaches managers of volunteer programs how to effectively lead their volunteer staff. It was created in partnership with the Arkansas Office of Community Engagement. It was the first of its kind in the country and continues to serve as a model. In 1989, the CVM program was recognized by the Association for Volunteer Administration as an innovative program in the field.
An alumni society for the Certified Volunteer Manager Program was formed in 1988. Judy Kane of the Centers for Youth and Families was elected as Chair.
History of the Planning Official Training Program
Since 1999, the Arkansas Chapter of the American Planning Association has partnered with APAC to offer planning official training programs. These programs help Planning Commissions serve their communities. They focus on knowledgeable planning, ethical leadership, effective relationships with city officials, and skilled meeting management.
In 2014, the programs were evaluated against national standards and the Certified Arkansas Planning Official (CARPO) program was added. Individuals who successfully complete three planning official training programs (101, 201, and 301) and a capstone home study receive the CARPO designation.
History of the Certified Group Facilitator Program
APAC offered its newest training, the Certified Group Facilitator program, for the first time in the summer of 2017. It equips participants to effectively design, manage, and lead groups to meet desired goals.
A team of experienced facilitators recognized the need for more experienced facilitators in the state. This group worked for over a year to develop the training. The planning team included Ron Copeland, Judith Faust, Mary Dillard, Carla Sparks, Sherry Walker, and Freeman McKindra.
Past APAC Programs
- TEAM UP! – This program provided training opportunities to improve the employability of the Arkansas workforce. The program was a partnership between APAC and the Arkansas Employment Security Division with funding provided by the Job Training Partnership Act.
- Certified Employment Manager Program – A partnership with the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, this program emphasized the credentials necessary to earn certification with NAWDAP. NAWDAP endorsed APAC’s program from 1998-2005 until it developed its on training criteria. Arkansas was the last state to hold this recognition.
- Delta Service Corps Training – APAC provided the training component of the Delta Service Corps program offered by the Arkansas Division of Volunteerism.
- Nonprofit Management Seminar Series – Taught management skills to social service professionals who have moved into administrative positions. The program was co-sponsored by the UALR Department of Social Work and the Institute of Government.