Public Works

Course Schedule

All registrations for online/distant learning and in-person courses must be received NO LATER than two business days before the class begins. Late registrations will not be accepted.

Please visit the Registration page for important information regarding online course expectations and registration.




This series of courses is designed to train municipal and county public works personnel in the responsibility of supervising public works operations. The curriculum emphasizes pragmatic technical management and political skills necessary for professional success. The program focuses on New Jersey's governmental practices that contribute to improved work performance of department administrators.

The nine included courses — in the areas of management, technical, and government — and other criteria are required for the state designation of Certified Public Works Manager. 

The three-course management unit addresses the human relations and personnel development needs of public works management. The intent of this segment is to acquire a better understanding of management, strengthen managerial and personnel skills, and to promote a professional public works image to the public.

The three-course technical unit examines the daily operation of a public works department. Public works departmental functions are reviewed to establish a standard of practice for use as a data base that reflects departmental productivity. The technical presentations are compared to the municipal planning and development process.

Public works departments operate within the context of local government. In the three-course government unit, the processes of state and local government are examined from a historical perspective. Practices are then reviewed in relation to state regulations.

Program Requirements

All participants in the Certified Public Works Manager Program must be high school graduates or hold a high school equivalency certificate. It is highly recommended that individuals entering the program have a minimum of three years of experience in supervision.

Prerequisite Information

All students entering the program must first successfully complete the three Section A (Management) courses before taking the three Section B (Technical) courses the next semester. Section B courses must be completed before taking any courses in Section C (Government). The Review Course is optional but all nine program courses must be successfully completed prior to taking the review course.

State Exam Requirements

All nine courses are required before taking the New Jersey State CPWM exam. This state licensing exam is administered by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) in April and October of each year. The DCA application form is available at Completed applications must be received at DCA one month before the exam date.

All applicants must:

  1. Be a high school graduate or hold a high school equivalency certificate
  2. Complete all nine public works manager courses offered by CGS
  3. Have five years of supervisory experience as a public or private sector public works manager within the last 10 years
  4. Be a minimum of 21 years of age
  5. Be a United States citizen
  6. Be a person of good moral character

For complete certification requirements for Certified Public Works Manager, see PL 1991 c.258.

Course Descriptions


Management Tasks, Responsibilities, and Practices 

30 hours
This introductory management seminar examines the role of a public works manager. The seminar is based on systematic approaches to individual, group, and organizational performance relative to planning, leadership, personnel performance, and decision-making skills development.

Managing and Developing Human Resources 

24 hours
Prerequisite: Management, Tasks, Responsibilities, and Practices
Public works environments affect human resource management because low pay, poor working conditions, and low social status inhibit worker performance. Human resources are vital to the quality of public works operation, yet little time or money is spent in this regard. Personnel work problems, effective supervision, labor relations, safety in the workplace, career development, and human resource planning are presented in this course.

Public Relations Seminar in Public Works

18 hours
Prerequisite: Managing and Developing Human Resources
The public works profession requires managers to act as public relations representatives. An awareness of public relations roles, and effective means of implementing public relations programs are addressed in this seminar.

Operations Resource Management 

42 hours
Public works performance is directly affected by the resources available to management. In this course, operational procedures are discussed relative to increasing efficiency through effective planning, evaluation of performance objectives, and inventory development. The technology of public works operations will be addressed in the areas of road maintenance, snow removal, leaves/recycling, parks, buildings and grounds maintenance, sewers, water, and fleet maintenance.

Management Accountability (formerly Information Systems)

6 hours
Public works departments must maintain accountability within their operations and community. Topics include monitoring and recording daily work activities, establishing performance standards, and reviewing important formulas and calculations to document performance.

Municipal Planning and Urban Development 

12 hours
The Municipal Land Use Law (N.J.S.A. 40:44d-1 et seq.) is reviewed in this course as part of the municipal planning process. Subdivisions, site plans, development ordinances, and municipal master plans are discussed as applicable to the public works function.

Local Government in New Jersey 

12 hours
Public works managers function within the structure of both state and local government. This program describes the historical development of counties, municipalities, school districts, and special districts in New Jersey. Attention is devoted to local governmental functions, the realities of working in a political environment, and the relationships within a two-party system.

Municipal Budget Process

12 hours
This course focuses on public works finance. A large portion of the municipal budget is devoted to public works. Municipal finance relates to the municipal budget process as well as the public works budgetary system. Participants gain a better understanding of the entire municipal budget process through this program.

Public Works Purchasing

12 hours
Public works purchasing involves large sums of taxpayers' dollars. Therefore, purchasing practices must be effective within the public works department. Standardized procedures can promote effective communications between public works and purchasing departments. In this course, the public works purchasing function is reviewed relative to public contract laws, cooperative purchasing procedures, change order regulations, and the certification of funds.

Public Works review

12 Hours
This optional three-day review course prepares students for the CPWM exam administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. The course covers topics from each of the nine CPWM courses and is scheduled before the state exam each semester.

Continuing Education

The Center for Government Services co-sponsors an annual Public Works Continuing Education Conference with the Public Works Association of New Jersey. Sessions are reviewed by the Department of Community Affairs for CPWM credits, the New Jersey Water Environmental Association for TCH credits, and the New Jersey Recycling Certification Advisory Committee for CRP credits.


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Contact Information

Louis Demian
Program Assistant