The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) recently surveyed its chapter members to learn more about their most pressing work challenges. Not surprisingly, trying to squeeze education and professional development dollars out of already tight budgets is a serious challenge.
There is no doubt that keeping up with technical advances through training courses is vitally important. Earning certification from Esri and the GIS Certification Institute demonstrates commitment to the profession to both current and potential employers.
Also important, and often overlooked, is nontechnical education. To advance into roles with more responsibility, GIS professionals must develop management and leadership skills. URISA offers some options to consider.
Rather than sending all their staff off-site to receive training, a number of organizations make the most of their limited training budgets by licensing URISA-certified workshops for presentation at their locations. Full-day workshops on topics such as GIS program management, GIS strategic planning, addresses and IS/GIS implementation, asset management, and cartography and map design are regularly peer-reviewed and improved, while new workshops are being proposed and evaluated.
URISA Connect virtual events delve into such topics as asset management, addressing and return on investment, and GIS maturity models.
The URISA Leadership Academy (ULA) is a five-day, intensive program that teaches GIS leadership. Offered annually, the next ULA will take place in Savannah, Georgia, June 11–15, 2012. It is a unique and highly valued educational program taught by GIS leaders.
URISA's educational options are extensive and evolving. Check them out at www.urisa.org.