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Do you have what it takes to become a Certified Public Participation Professional (CP3)?

Knowing and showing that you provide quality P2 is key in today’s marketplace. Certification is your way to do so. If you have taken the IAP2 Foundations course (formerly the Certificate training), have experience delivering good P2, and are ready to have your work assessed by a panel of your professional peers, then it is time to get certified.

Why get certified? Certification moves your career forward. With certification, your services and the profession has greater value to clients:

  • Gives you an edge over your competition
  • Demonstrates to clients and colleagues the value you bring as a Certified Professional
  • Builds the credibility and profile of our profession and IAP2 so that clients are more willing to invest in the services
  • Validates and documents that you have the skills and abilities to be a Certified Professional
  • Validates the efforts you have made in your career to provide value to clients
  • Shows that you meet internationally recognized standards
  • Demonstrates a willingness to invest in your own development and commitment to the field to reinforce a culture of quality

Now that you are interested the next steps are:

For more information please visit the website or contact Amelia at ameliaiap2usa@gmail.com.

The time is right for you to become a Certified Public Participation Professional

Recent Posts

A Message to Our P2 Community

Dear IAP2 USA Members and Community,

We can’t talk about public input into public decisions without talking about tragedy of voices being silenced through the violence of racism and systemic biases that breach public trustThe killings of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and violence against so many others due to racism and its legacy have revealed to all there’s much work to be done. Racism and systemic biases are antithetical to all IAP2 USA stands for.

As an organization, we cannot stay silent and simply hope for a more equitable future. In this moment, we are affirming in a loud, unified, and clear voice that we stand with our black community to commit ourselves to hear and act on the call that there is significant work yet to be done. Diversity is our strength as a country and in our work, it creates stronger smarter decisions that put us in a better position for our collective challenges, now and into the future.

We are also taking specific actions to build an inclusive, equitable culture, not just within IAP2 but also within the various institutions and organizations that employ our members and support our communities. Current examples of this work include:

  • helping our Ambassadors share strategies, information, books and resources with community engagement professionals and the communities we both serve
  • proposing sessions at the upcoming conference of city managers about how our pillars can support facilitating crucial input to end practices that result in racially motivated actions and practices
  • designing new training on Diversity Equity and Inclusion, and
  • continuing to align our partnerships so that we can deliver support where it is most needed.

Together just a year ago, we began a journey to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion in our organizational culture and thought process. We thank our members for their leadership to catalyze this work. This is a journey that requires the full engagement of our hearts, minds, and voices to transform pains experienced far too long into inclusive solutions.

As we take action, we will share our steps. As you have ideas, we ask that you share them with us. And together, we will make this journey to creating a just and unbiased country together.


IAP2 USA Executive Committee on behalf of IAP2 USA Board of Directors

IAP2 USA Management team and staff


Good Advice

Catherine Smith, Immediate Past President IAP2 USA 

Good Advice 

I’ve found that good advice for writing often translates well into good advice for public participation, and life generally. In this moment, I find myself thinking of one piece of advice of this type—when something feels too huge, start with something small.

So this post is starting here—a park bench. It’s wood and worn by the weather of our coast. It carries a quote on a metal plate drilled into its back, “This view never disappoints.” That view is of the ocean that I stand in as often as possible, like I did this morning on June 19th, 2020.  That’s one hundred and fifty-five years since 1865 when on this same day slaves in Texas learned they were no longer slaves…two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Lincoln.

As I sit on this bench and look out at those waters I just stood in, I think about the hundreds of years slaves were chained and put into ships that traveled waters like these to arrive at the shore of this country. And once here, I think of the brutality of slavery they experienced and its underlying philosophy that continually morphed to operate in new forms in the centuries since emancipationsuch as Jim Crow laws and redlining banking practices.

I wasn’t there when slave ships sailed. But I’m here now. Like all of us, I was here in that low tide moment when we saw what’s at stake, as we watched George Floyd speak his last words. I’m here now, and the waves of history have washed across my feet to this moment. To this time when we can help people make good decisions about how we heal this country in our time now from the unjust legacies of slavery and the systems of its aftermath.

I hope you have a bench like this in your life. One that gives you a view into where we are in history, our role in it as the home of quality public participation, and the tremendous moment we have before us as a community to help people make truly good decisions together. It’s in that spirit that we are integrating an equity lens into all we do, working across our International community to establish a new DEI task force for the International Board, and bringing new DEI online training into being. We thank all our member and partners in this.

Many years from now when we look back at this moment in time, the unique contribution we can make to improve the operations of basic fairness in our culture and the public decisions we make as communities, may we look back and like the quote on the back of the bench be able to say that we, like that view of the ocean, didn’t disappoint.


IAP2 hosts special webinars on COVID-19 and public participation

The COVID-19 outbreak has created a “new reality” in many sectors, including public participation. Practitioners are wondering how to handle the situation and how to move forward.

IAP2 Canada and IAP2 USA have received numerous questions from members over the past week, and will be presenting a series of webinars.

March 20, 2020   Posted in Board

WEBINAR REWIND: IAP2 Organizations of the Year

Our January webinar was truly a “tale of two cities” — cities that made a commitment to up their game when it came to public engagement. Kingston, Ontario, was named IAP2 Canada Organization of the Year, while Boulder, Colorado, took the honors in both the USA and the International Core Values Awards.

The City of Boulder, Colorado, had considered itself an example of good public participation, but an incident a few years ago showed that more work was needed. A traffic lane was closed off to create a bicycle lane, and Sarah Huntley, the City’s Engagement Manager, says it did not go well. The angry response showed that they did not consult with all the groups that should have been involved, so in 2016 the City decided to engage with the public on engaging with the public. 

January 29, 2020   Posted in Webinars

WEBINAR REWIND: “Respecting Indigenous ways of being and knowing”

2019 closed out with a webinar, presented in cooperation with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. The subject was one increasingly important to P2 practitioners: relations with Indigenous peoples and how to be inclusive in our public engagement processes. Nadine St-Louis, Executive Director of Sacred Fire Productions explained that a key to understanding Indigenous ways of being and knowing is to understand the relationship Indigenous people have with the land and how the process of colonization in North America removed that connection, leading to generations of hurt and degradation. 

President’s Message: A Home for Buzz Lightyear

Catherine SmithWhen I think of IAP2, I think of maple syrup and chocolate. These aren’t the thoughts I expect, but they are what come to mind. Why syrup? Why chocolate? Well, these delicacies arrived in my mailbox for the past few years at the holidays from an IAP2 colleague, who calls the deep woods of Wisconsin his home. IAP2USA was the only reason we met.

This year, the chocolate came with a note with the details of how it came to be—the spices it has, the near miss of almost forgetting to add the syrup into the bubbling chocolate, the children who stood at the stove to witness this magic.

Receiving a gift like that is exactly what makes IAP2 more than a house, but a home. 

Spaces filling up at Sacramento IAP2 Skills Symposium!

Plenty of opportunities to learn
at the 2020 Sacramento Symposium

Newcomers to public participation and seasoned pros alike find lots to learn at the IAP2 USA Skills Symposium, March 9 – 13, in Sacramento, California.

First of all, a big THANK YOU! to all those who have registered for courses so far! The early-bird deadline has passed, but there are still spaces available.

Have you taken the Foundations course yet? This is the basis of P2 know how and the prerequisite for professional certification, and you can take both modules in one five-day period. The three-day Planning for Effective Public Participation takes you right to the basics: what P2 is and its rationale. You’ll learn about the Five Steps and discuss how to develop P2 objectives that can become part of an organization’s process. It’s a great introduction for newcomers to the practice, managers and experienced practitioners who need a refresher.

Techniques for Effective Public Participation is the two day “sequel” to “Planning”, and lets you add dozens of practical tools and methodologies to your public participation toolkit—powerful techniques you can put to immediate use in your next project. You’ll learn how and when — and even whether — to use each technique, what their strengths and weaknesses are and the resources you’ll need. 

Meet Douglas Irby – Charlotte, North Carolina

”We have a history for being passionate about injustice in our communities. We also have a history of channeling that passion into self-destructive and ineffective behavior. With more community people properly trained to guide those passions into a positive, legal and organized effort to seek the justice that all people are guaranteed by God and the US Constitution, we would all be better served.”

Call for Proposals: Midwest Chapter’s 2020 Regional Conference

Call for Proposals Now Open:
Apply to present at the Midwest Chapter’s 2020 Spring Conference

The IAP2 USA Midwest Chapter will host our Spring Conference in St. Louis, MO, April 30 – May 1, 2020. The call for session proposals is now open! Please consider applying to share your knowledge and experience with fellow IAP2 members. 

The 2020 conference theme is: Breaking Down Walls: Meeting the Challenge of Inclusion in Public Participation (P2)This third annual regional conference will explore new ways to address this and other challenges in public participation. Proposals for sessions addressing this theme, as well as other topics relevant to P2, are welcome. 

You can access the call for proposal form here. Please download the document and complete it in Word format.

Proposals must be submitted to Midwest@IAP2USA.org by 5pm Central time on January 13. Proposers will be notified of the committee’s decision by Friday, January 24.

IAP2 Certification: six weeks left to apply!

IAP2 USA Certification

Are you a skilled, committed public participation practitioner? Have you completed the Foundations course and have a solid track record in the field? Have you mastered the Five Core Competencies? We strongly encourage you to take the next step and become a Certified Public Participation Professional (CP3) or Master Certified P2 Professional (MCP3)

The end of the year is a perfect time to reflect on all your P2 accomplishments. This application process is an opportunity to document and catalog the work that you have done. So fill in the application and become a CP3!  

The deadline to apply for the next Assessment Center is coming up quickly: January 31, 2020. 

Remember, professional certification is different from completion of the Foundations training. Completion of the training is a prerequisite for certification. 

The certification process is rigorous but it is also rewarding. You will be assessed against the Five Core Competencies and 29 related criteria, in a three-step process: written application; written response to a case study: and an in-person assessment, which will take place June 5 and 6 in a location still to be determined (based on applicants).

Steve Wolf, MCP3Even if you have a world of experience and a high reputation in the business, the CP3 or MCP3 is a valuable asset: it may be that “extra” you need to get that big promotion or win that new project proposal. Steve Wolf, MCP3, says he felt the  “third-party validation” that Certification brings was necessary to reflect his work and abilities.

Read the Information Kit and start preparing. For more information please take a look at the website Read the FAQ and if you still have questions contact Amelia at amelia[at]iap2usa.org.