14 Sought-After Government Professional Development Awards

You are dedicated to performing your job better each day, and are also doing everything you can to help your coworkers do the same. All that hard work toward professional development deserves recognition that boosts your reputation and your resume.

Getting an award is more than a gratifying moment of glory. Professional development awards can make you stand out in the eyes of supervisors and colleagues, affirm your dedication and skills, and give you access to even more opportunities for learning and growth.

Check out if you qualify for any of these awards for professional development, career advancement, mentorship, knowledge sharing, skill building, and goal achievement. Or, if they’re not the right fit, nominate one of your colleagues or partners in public service for a special recognition.

AFCEA Women’s Appreciation Award

The AFCEA Women’s Appreciation Award honors members of AFCEA, regardless of gender, who have gone above and beyond to further the careers of women. Honorees will have supported the development of female professionals by facilitating introductions with prospective experienced mentors, personally acted as a mentor, supported STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) careers, advocated for a new or increased position for a highly-qualified female candidate, or helped develop opportunities for women to network, learn new skills, share best practices, celebrate accomplishments, and develop professionally.

AGA’s Professional Development Training Awards of Distinction

The Association of Government Accountants (AGA) presents awards each year at its Professional Development Training event that recognize contributions to the government financial management community. These awards of distinction are given to AGA members and other individuals. The awards include recognition of individuals who have made significant contributions to the education and training of government financial managers, as well as government employees who have encouraged increased interest, growth, development, and distinctive leadership in the field of financial management.

ASPA Annual Awards

Every year, the American American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) gives out more than 20 awards to people who have distinguished themselves through their outstanding contributions to public administration. Among the tempting awards are ones for an individual who has focused on meeting the human capital challenges of the 21st century, and another for an individual who has advanced knowledge in a scholarly journal about the development, implementation, use and impact of performance measurement. ASPA’s various Chapters and Sections also give awards in recognition of everything from scholarly papers to personal action promoting social equity.

ATC-IAC Awards

Each year American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC) recognizes some of its most exceptional volunteers. Its Education Award is presented to individuals from government and industry who have made significant contributions in educating, sharing knowledge, and bringing awareness towards a more effective and efficient government.

Federal 100 Awards

Federal Computer Weekly each year celebrates exceptional individuals — from both industry and government — who are transforming government and its ability to deliver on critical missions. Their awards honor leaders at all levels who have gone above and beyond to show how technology can be leveraged to make government run better.

Government Innovation Awards

As these awards note, “Top leaders are important, but it’s the rank-and-file talent that truly drives innovation in government. The Rising Star awards recognize those outstanding early-career individuals who are doing great things today — and who are likely to be filling the senior slots tomorrow.”

ICMA Awards and Recognition

The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) award programs highlight extraordinary accomplishments and dedicated service to the management profession and local government. Most awards are given to ICMA members. Recognition includes Distinguished Service Award, Honorary Membership, Local Government Excellence Awards, Local Government Service Awards, and Certificates in Performance Management Program. Awards recognize a range of individual achievements, including career excellence, career development, and early career leadership.

NASCA Innovations in State Government Awards

The National Association of State Chief Administrators (NASCA) Innovations Awards program recognizes state administration department programs and projects that exemplify best practices. This awards program will honor one outstanding state government initiative in several categories, including “Personnel,” celebrating innovation, transferability, and efficiency created in the areas of human resources and professional development training.

National Public Service Awards

The National Public Service Awards honor individuals whose accomplishments are models of exemplary public service for those dedicated to the public good—now and in the future. Winners hail from all levels of public service, including local, state, and federal governments, as well as international and public service nonprofit organizations. Awards are given to those who have, on a sustained basis, done some or all of the following: made a profound difference in improving service to the public, been willing to take risks to achieve change, served as a champion of social equity, developed a cadre of other government leaders, and other qualifications. Co-sponsored by the American American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) and the National Academy of Public Administration.

NextGen Public Service Awards

Superior public service gets the attention it deserves through the annual NextGen Public Service Awards. The awards recognize individuals in the public service community for their intelligence, exuberance, and dedication to improving and invigorating government. Hosted by Young Government Leaders (YGL)  and GovLoop, the awards are presented at the NextGen Government Training Summit.

SACNAS Outstanding Mentor Awards

The SACNAS Outstanding Mentor Awards honor those who have fostered the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) careers, and who have participated in educational or community outreach activities for at least a decade. Government employees may be nominated for awards that recognize individuals for encouraging historically underrepresented minority students, Native American students, or Hispanic/Latinx students to pursue advanced degrees in STEM or a related field.

Service to America Medals (SAMMIES)

Affectionately known as the SAMMIES, the Partnership for Public Service’s Service to America Medals are awarded to federal employees who demonstrates innovation, strong leadership and a passion for public service in their work. Winners represent the many federal employees whose work makes our country better, healthier, and stronger.

StateScoop 50 Awards

The annual StateScoop 50 Awards honor the best and the brightest who make state government more efficient and effective. These awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of gov peers and acknowledge their tireless efforts to make a positive impact in the government IT community and in public service.

Theodore Roosevelt Government Leadership Awards

Launched in 2019, the Theodore Roosevelt Government Leadership Awards (The Teddies) is a new program by Government Executive magazine that honors federal mangers, executives, and industry leaders for achievement in delivering on government’s promise to serve the American people. The annual awards highlight noteworthy accomplishments across the federal sector in a given year. The Teddies categories include “Directors,” leaders who put a premium on employee engagement, goal-setting, and program management, earning the support and enthusiasm of their teams and leveraging it to achieve demonstrable results.

Lauren Girardin is a marketing and communications consultant, freelance writer, and trainer based in San Francisco. She helps organizations engage their communities and tell their stories. Her website is laurengirardin.com and you can connect with her on Twitter at @girardinl.

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