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COVID-19 Update: The University of Minnesota will offer online, or alternative, instruction through the end of summer term 2020. Read CCAPS's operational updates or visit the Safe Campus website for the University's operational updates.

Public Works Certificate

Collage of public works activities: monitoring gas main, snow plow, road work sign, water treatment testing

Fall Public Works offerings are currently available for registration. See courses below for upcoming dates.

  • Cost: $680 per course | $3,400 for all five courses
  • Courses: Five noncredit courses
  • Credits: 30 contact hours per course | 3.0 CEUs
  • Location: U of M Saint Paul campus, Continuing Education and Conference Center. Free parking!
  • Audience: Public works supervisors and managers new to management roles, managers who wish to sharpen their skills and build their confidence, and public works employees preparing for advancement.
  • Webinars: CCAPS offers free webinars on a variety of topics to help you hone your business acumen. Catch up on past webinars, including "What's the Difference Between Project Management and Agile?" presented on March 19. And be sure to register for our upcoming series to help you "Adapt and Thrive in Changing Times" starting on April 16.

Practical Skills for Public Works Professionals

This certificate will focus on the management of local public works organizations and operations. The course material will be delivered by public works professionals. This program is designed to further your understanding of:

  • organization and functions of public works and public works professionals
  • technical functions undertaken by public works professionals, with emphasis on roadway design, construction, and maintenance
  • advanced concepts in public works operations and maintenance
  • effective creation and delivery of workplace and technical documents.

The Public Works Certificate is offered in collaboration with the American Public Works Association—Minnesota ChapterThose who finish all five courses will be awarded a certificate of completion from APWA.

APWA-MN logo


Attendance Policy

Students are allowed one (1) absence per class. A second absence from the class will require the student to satisfactorily complete make-up work assigned by the course instructor. A third absence will result in failure of the class.

This course meets: Sept 8, 15, 22, 29; Oct 6, 13, 20, 27;  Nov 3, 10

This course focuses on all aspects of management and communication expected of a public works leadership position, as well as the supervisor's role in managing internal relationships within government systems. Topics include public relations, including how to conduct a public meeting to get citizen buy-in; handling complaints; written communication; interacting with media professionals; techniques for screening, interviewing, and hiring new employees; and leveraging social media.

Instructor: Dave Hutton, Senior Project Manager, SEH, Inc.

Dave Hutton photo

Hutton has 40 years in the public works/engineering profession and has worked in both the public and private sector. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. Former clients include the cities of Savage and Shakopee, MN, and West Bend, WI. Hutton is past president of APWA-MN (2010) and won the Hugo Erickson award in 2017, the highest award for service to the chapter.


This course meets: Sept 9, 16, 23, 30; Oct 7, 14, 21, 28; Nov 4, 11

Requirement: Students are required to bring a personal laptop computer to class each day.

In this course we’ll introduce the administrative skills frequently used by public works professionals, such as basic writing principles, planning, organizing, and preparing and delivering effective technical communication within and outside the organization. Specific examples of communication tools include field construction reports, interoffice memorandums, document summaries, and verbal presentations. We’ll also introduce students to basic office applications that will be used in the preparation of documents used by public works professionals.

Instructor: Eric Johnson, Construction Inspector

Eric Johnson photo

Over the last 20 years, Johnson has worked on many municipal projects throughout the Metro including the Guthrie Theater, Target Field, Highway 212, the Central Corridor and SW Corridor Light Rail projects, and the Saint Paul Metro Wastewater Treatment Plant renovation. Most recently, he worked as a construction inspector for Professional Engineering Services. Johnson carries multiple Minnesota Department of Transportation inspection certifications, as well as the national CIPP inspection certification through NASCO.

This course meets: Sept 10, 17, 24; Oct 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; Nov 5, 12

Public works operations are a critical provider of services—such as water, sewer, and streets—that affect the health, safety, enjoyment, and prosperity of our residents. This course identifies the equipment and personnel needed to carry out these functions effectively and efficiently. Discussions will include considerations relating to rehabilitation versus reconstruction of infrastructure, renting versus purchasing of equipment, and contracting versus in-house use of personnel to provide services.

Instructor: Brian Bachmeier, Public Works Director/City Engineer, City of Oakdale

Brian Bachmeier photo

Bachmeier has been a Registered Professional Engineer for 31 years. He has 34 years of experience delivering public works services, with 20 years as a public works director. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in public administration.



This course meets: Feb 16, 23; Mar 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; Apr 6, 13, 20

This course will familiarize you with the administration and operation of a public works department. It provides insight into the organizational structure, planning, financing, purchasing, budgeting, and management of public works organizations, as well as individual job responsibilities and internal relationships within governmental systems.

Instructor: Will Manchester, PE, Director of Public Works, City of Minnetonka

Will Manchester photo

Manchester is a registered professional engineer with 20 years of experience in both public and private sectors. He currently oversees public works operations for the city of Minnetonka including streets, utilities, parks and trails, natural resources, buildings, fleet, and engineering. Prior to Minnetonka, he worked as a consultant engineer managing municipal and private development projects. Manchester is an active member of the City Engineers Association of Minnesota, including serving on the executive board from 2014–2015 and the annual conference planning committee. He is also an active member of the Minnesota Public Works Association.

This course meets: Feb 18, 25; Mar 4, 11, 18, 25; Apr 1, 8, 15, 22

In this course we’ll review the basic principles of public works engineering functions and examine the materials and methods used in public works projects. Topics include soils, aggregates, bitumen, concrete, utilities, plan review, traffic counts, flexible pavement design, erosion control, surveying, public land survey, construction methods, basic project management, contracts, bidding, and records.

Instructor: Jon Watson, Public Utilities Superintendent, City of Brooklyn Park

Jon Watson profile photo

Watson has over 35 years of experience in public works and has served as the public utilities superintendent for the city of Brooklyn Park for the past 20 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota and holds state water and sewer licenses.




Stories From the Field 

female public works worker on job site with tablet

Public works touches so many aspects of our lives, from the roads we drive to the clean water coming from our taps. It takes an army to sustain it all and leaders to organize and manage it. The Public Works Certificate aims to make leaders of program participants; hear from two of them in this story about the program.