NDTC Staff Training Programs
August 13, 2020
You are a passionate progressive leader who wants to launch or grow your career in politics but aren’t quite sure where to start. What kind of campaign staff training do you need?
NDTC offers two ways to get the training and skills you need to start or grow a career working on Democratic campaigns.
What is Staff Academy?
The NDTC Staff Academy is a 10-week program, offered once per year, designed to recruit, train, and connect new staff to paid career opportunities in Democratic politics across the country. Participants choose to pursue one of three areas of career specialization: communications, digital, or fundraising.
When inviting applicants to join our program, we prioritize leaders who are women, people of color, and trans/transgender and non-binary people.
Applications for NDTC 2021 Staff Academy open in October and you can sign-up for our waitlist to learn more.
What is The Online Academy for Campaign Staff?
Our Online Academy courses for campaign staff are interactive and available online 24/7. You can take as many or as few as you’d like on your own schedule.
Whether you want to build the skills needed to grow your political career, fill in a knowledge gap, or need the tools and insight to handle a campaign issue right now, the NDTC Online Academy has a training for you.
These in-depth and comprehensive trainings prepare you with the skills to raise money, communicate your campaign’s message, build a digital strategy to connect with voters online, and be an effective and inclusive leader.
Regardless of the specific role you play in a campaign or how far you are in your political career, our 30+ courses for staff and volunteers provide the tools you need to succeed. See our current course offerings.
With two ways to get the training and skills you need to start or grow a career working on Democratic campaigns, we are excited to be able to offer a learning program for everyone who wants to build a career in politics.
So which campaign staff training program is right for you?
Let’s take a look at both.
On-Demand Campaign Staff Training Course
Like candidate courses in NDTC’s Online Academy, on-demand courses for staff are interactive and available online 24/7. Unlike participating in the Staff Academy cohort, there is no application or interview process to access the courses. You can take as many or as few as you’d like on your own schedule.
You can choose an area of career concentration with a suggested course progression and syllabus for each. These primarily include fundraising, digital, field, and communications. If you’re a campaign manager, many of our courses will be helpful to you, too.
We also offer courses to help you get started and figure out if a career in politics is right for you as well as several to help you improve your management and leadership skills.
See courses currently available in our course catalog.
You can take courses just in your preferred area of concentration or you can explore the entire course catalog to fill in knowledge gaps and gain a better understanding of the workings of a campaign.
- Already Working on a Campaign?
Great! Our on-demand training is perfect for you.
If you already have a campaign job and want to sharpen or expand your skill sets, pick and choose which courses are right for you!
- Seeking a Campaign Job, but Can’t Commit to the Staff Academy Program?
On-demand campaign staff training is the answer. Here you can get the tools and training you need to pursue a career in politics, but do it on your own time schedule.
- Not Sure if Politics is Right for You?
If you are unsure if politics is right for you, but want to learn more and build your skills while doing that, on-demand campaign staff training is the best place to start.
The NDTC Staff Academy is a free program designed to recruit, train, and connect new staff to paid career opportunities in Democratic politics across the country. When inviting applicants to join our program, we prioritize leaders who are women, people of color, and trans/transgender and non-binary people. These communities drive the Democratic party but are historically underrepresented on Democratic campaigns relative to their vote share. We want to ensure we, as a party, are representative of our voters.
Staff Academy is an intensive, 10-week program that includes both an online and live training portion.
- What are the Requirements of Staff Academy?
- During the online training part of our program, which runs from January to March for our 2021 Cohort, you must be able to spend at least 10 hours each week to complete courses, weekly webinars, core skills assessments, and homework.
- You also must be able to attend weekly webinars on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings at 7pm CT/8 pm ET. Your exact schedule will be determined by the area of career concentration you choose.
- You must attend the entire duration of the four-day virtual live training.
- You must also be willing and able to relocate to begin a full-time position on a Democratic campaign as early as April 2021. While COVID-19 has increased the availability of remote work opportunities, we cannot guarantee potential employers will allow remote work. Temporarily relocating to work on a campaign is common. NDTC will support program graduates in finding campaign jobs by facilitating introductions and interviews with our partners.
- The Staff Academy Community
Cohort members also benefit from a strong collaborative and inclusive community of peers, sharing their knowledge and experiences to help each other succeed in the program and in their careers beyond.
- Don’t Worry, It’s Free!
The program is completely free for trainees.
Are the Courses Different?
The courses available in the NDTC Online Academy are nearly identical to the ones used in our Staff Academy program. While you may apply for Staff Academy even if you’ve taken courses in the Online Academy, know that you won’t have access to “new” courses with the Staff Academy program.
That said, the experience you have while taking these courses will be vastly different.
In our Online Academy, you will be taking courses on your own, at your own pace, and with no grading components.
In Staff Academy, you will be expected to follow a course schedule. You will engage with other cohort-members taking the same courses. And, your work will be graded by our trainers.
Do You Want a Full-Time Position in Democratic Politics in 2021?
Since the actual coursework is the same, it’s important to take a look at both programs to determine which is right for you. From a logistical and time commitment standpoint, if either program works for you, your deciding factor should be based around your professional goals:
If you are interested in learning more about what it is like to work on a campaign or enhance your knowledge of a particular topic, then the on-demand campaign staff training courses are right for you.
Staff Academy may be right for you if you can commit to the course schedule, want a more rigorous course of study (including graded assignments), and are seeking a network of peers to help launch your political career.
Still Not Sure Which Campaign Staff Training Program is Right for You?
These charts can help you determine which campaign staff training program is best for you.
Staff Academy Cohort
|No. Any Democrat can sign up for the Online Academy at any time.||
Yes. The application includes submitting a resume and answering short answer questions about your experiences and motivation to work in Democratic politics. The application process may also include an interview with a member of the NDTC team.
When can you start?
|Anytime. There is no application and no cut off period for when you can start taking courses in the online academy (but the sooner the better so you can get out there and make a difference in your community).||
Staff Academy only happens once a year. Applications open in late October for the 2021 cohort. Online training will start in January 2021. Please see our FAQ for a full timeline.
Who can apply?
|Any Democrat. Our on-demand courses are open to any Democrat.||
Any Democrat committed to pursuing a paid career in Democratic politics in 2021. When inviting applicants to join our program, we prioritize leaders who are women, people of color, and trans/transgender and non-binary people.
|Flexible. Take on-demand courses at your own pace with no start or stop dates.||
Set. You must complete the program requirements along with the rest of the 2021 cohort during the training period of January – March 2021.
Virtual Live Training
|No. All training is done completely online. We offer monthly “virtual” office hours to ask questions of our team and there are online discussion forums within most courses to learn from other trainees.||
Yes. Each week, Staff Academy cohort members come together for a live webinar. The program also includes live weekly office hours and 1-1 support from NDTC Staff. You also must attend the live training in March 2021
Career concentration areas
|Yes. Courses are categorized and syllabi available for six areas of concentration, including: fundraising, digital, field, communications, data, and campaign management, but online learners are free to take any of the available courses.||
Yes. Cohort members choose to apply to one of three areas of concentration: digital, fundraising, or communications. All members are trained on leadership and management skills.
|Go at your own pace. You can take on-demand courses anytime and on a schedule that works for you.||
Time intensive program. Acceptance into the Staff Academy program requires a commitment to the 10-week intensive training program including online training and a four-day in-person training.
|No. Take as many courses as you want, whenever you want.||
Yes. There are weekly required webinars on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday evenings at 7:00 PM CT/8:00 PM ET. Your exact schedule will be determined by the area of career concentration you choose.
|No. All courses are accessible online, 24/7 and require no travel to complete.||
No. While our Staff Academy usually consists fo an in-person component, we will not be meeting in-person in 2021.
|Free. Access to all courses is completely free to any Democrat who wants to create change in their community||
Free. The program is completely free for trainees. NDTC also pays for travel to and from Washington D.C for the in-person training.
|Online learners will be ready to seek out paid jobs or be volunteer leaders on Democratic campaigns. If you are seeking a paid position, check out our Progressive Job Search and Presidential Job Search resources!||
Graduates of the Staff Academy Program will receive support to find a paid career in Democratic politics in 2021. NDTC provides helpful job resources like coaching and access to an invaluable political network.
Whichever campaign staff training program is right for you, we can’t wait to support you with the tools and training you need to launch (or continue) the career in Democratic politics you’ve dreamed of.
Still have questions? Email us at [email protected].
Next Live Training
NDTC Virtual Live Training
December 1, 2020
1:00pm - 2:00pm (ET)
The training and tools you need, when you need them. Courses are available 24/7. Are you a candidate, campaign staffer or volunteer, at the beginning stages of your campaign or in the home stretch? We have the courses to address your specific needs and arm you with the knowledge to win.View course catalog
Not sure where to start? Take a short quiz to help you determine the best place for you to get started.Take the quiz