Application Deadline: Closed

Program Dates: April 14 – June 25, 2021

What Is PMLA?

The Project Management Leadership Academy (PMLA) is a 10-week program for public sector IT professionals with a focus on developing critical project management leadership skills. The program targets Project Managers with limited experience and current project support personnel. Support personnel are defined as those who have worked in project support functions (e.g. test manager, business analyst, contract manager) and aspire to lead projects within the public sector.


The program cost is $4,000 per participant.

How It Works

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Governor’s directives currently in place, training sessions will be conducted online using various platforms (e.g. Zoom, Cisco Webex, GoToMeeting, MS Teams). As the circumstances related to COVID continue to evolve, some training sessions may be delivered using an in-person format. However, this is not anticipated for the onset of the program and students should expect to potentially complete the entire academy online, including the internship component, which is described in more detail below.

During the first five weeks of the program, PMLA participants will develop their project management skills through formal classroom training led remotely by certified trainers and subject matter experts. Classes average 4-5 days per week. Students also learn from PMLA class sponsors, Program Coaches, and fellow students throughout the program. This year’s program will also incorporate best practices and strategies needed to lead projects successfully in a remote environment. 

For weeks 6-10 of the program, students will participate in an internship with a receiving department where they will be paired with a mentor who will provide guidance, support, and coaching while contributing to an active project. This component of the experience is also anticipated to be virtual. So that students gain the most from their experience, the internship component requires a full-time commitment. Therefore, students do not report to their home department until after graduation on June 25.

Mentor and Intern Partnership Component

The internship component takes place during weeks 6-10 of the program and reinforces classroom training by providing on-the-job practical project experience and assignments to sharpen skills in the following areas:

  • Relationship Management
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Team Dynamics
  • Leadership
Professional Development

The PMLA provides many opportunities for students to grow professionally through networking with fellow students, through curriculum focused on the specific needs of the public sector’s project management workforce, and through experiences gained while actively participating on a designated project. 

How To Apply

The PMLA application period is now closed.

Please contact the Office of Professional Development (OPD) with questions at

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost for the 2021 PMLA?

The cost for the 2021 PMLA is $4,000 per student and is paid for by their department/agency.

When does the 2021 PMLA start and end?

The 2021 PMLA takes place from April 14 – June 25, 2021.

What level of expertise and experience are you seeking from a candidate?

The PMLA welcomes applications from any candidates who have a strong interest in project management. The program develops project managers with limited experience and current project support personnel who aspire to lead projects. While it is helpful to possess some background in project management, candidates need not be highly experienced to apply.

 How many days per week are the training sessions for this academy?

Formal classroom training occurs during the first five weeks of the program. However, in an effort to avoid “Zoom fatigue,” many class sessions will be split and delivered in 4-hour time blocks, where feasible. While the training schedule varies depending on the week, students can generally expect to attend online training sessions 4-5 days per week on average. A program schedule will be provided upon acceptance into the program.

Where is the training held?

Training sessions will initially be conducted online using various platforms depending on the instructor. Platforms may include, but are not limited to: Zoom, Cisco Webex, and GoToMeeing. In order to gain the most from their experience, participants will be expected to have access to a camera and microphone.

If, based on the Governor’s and our local health officials’ directives, it is deemed acceptable for gatherings in larger groups to occur, training sessions may be converted to an in-person format. However, this is not expected to occur at the onset of the academy.  

What are the core hours for the training?

Training sessions are held from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

What specific topics are covered in the curriculum, and how in depth is the training?

The course topics have been carefully selected by the Program Sponsor to provide a meaningful blend of both technical and soft skills critical for the public sector’s project management workforce. Below is a tentative course listing for the 2021 program. Please note that course topics may be subject to change.

  • CA-PMF Foundations
  • Agile
  • Business Chemistry
  • Leadership for Project Managers
  • Risk Management
  • Organizational Change Management for Project Managers
  • MS Project
  • Governance
  • Project Planning and Procurement
  • Contract and Vendor Management
  • IT Project/Budget Timeline
  • Top Project Challenges: The Dirty Dozen

What happens once my formal training is over?

Starting in week 6, students will virtually report to their mentor where they will participate in an active project under the guidance of their mentor. Receiving departments are carefully selected so students are exposed to large, reportable projects within the public sector.  As the internship is such a critical component of the program, students are expected to virtually report to their mentor for the entire duration of their internship up to graduation on June 25.

How is my internship assignment determined?

Interns are matched with their mentors based on their application submission responses, by supplemental questions mentors complete, and by a Professional Skills Assessment completed by each student, which identifies strengths and desired skills/experience. Program staff match students with their receiving department and mentor based on the student’s current and desired skill set as well as the skills/competencies mentors identify as being their strongest.

When will I find out where I am interning?

Student/mentor pairings are expected to be finalized in mid-March, with notifications to both parties to follow shortly thereafter. For some departments, such as the Franchise Tax Board and the Department of Corrections, additional screening may be required (e.g. background checks). In these particular cases, students will be notified as soon as possible to allow ample time for completion.

Do I have to attend all the training sessions to remain in the academy?

The PMLA covers a great deal of curriculum during the first five weeks. In addition, it is important that students understand their receiving departments are also expecting full attendance in order to provide a valuable internship experience. Therefore, a significant time commitment is expected and required for this academy upon enrollment. We understand that some absences are unavoidable (e.g. illness) so the maximum allowable absences is two. Students who exceed this limit will be withdrawn from the program.

As there are no make-up sessions for courses missed, if you have vacation or other planned time off during the academy that will significantly interfere with your participation, you are encouraged to apply to a future academy that will not have conflicting dates.

Please contact the Office of Professional Development for questions and further information at