NCLGBA Members Visit UNC-Charlotte MPA Program

This past week, three NCLGBA members hosted a “Budget 101” Zoom session for the Master of Public Administration program at UNC-Charlotte. Janet Schafer, Gaston County Budget Manager and NCLGBA Board Secretary, hosted this presentation and provides a recap.

A “Budget 101” presentation was given to the students of the Fall 2020 Public Budgeting and Finance course instructed by Matt Rhoten, Gaston County Assistant Manager. Matt is also a current NCLGBA member and 2015 UNC-Charlotte MPA graduate. As a former Budget Director, Matt focuses on real-life applications in his curriculum and incorporates guest sessions from current practitioners in the field.

Taylor Drury, current NCLGBA member and Assistant Budget Manager for Gaston County, co-hosted the session. A 2018 UNC-Charlotte MPA graduate, Taylor was excited for this opportunity to speak with current students about pursuing potential careers in local government budgeting.

Janet Schafer, Matt Rhoten, and Taylor Drury

The presentation had three primary goals: to provide a brief overview of the roles of budget offices and budget analysts in North Carolina; to provide an example of the type of analysis frequently performed in budget offices; and to inform students of the NCLGBA and the benefits of becoming a member.  The students briefly introduced themselves and spoke to their decisions to pursue an MPA. Several of the students expressed an interest in non-profit management, and a few of the students were already working in local government.

Presenters outlined the importance of budget offices and professionals in North Carolina government. The presentation emphasized the high level of government knowledge that budget professionals develop on the job, making them a valuable resource to their agency. Likewise, the presentation also highlighted the array of on-the-job skills developed in the budget profession. From presentations and public speaking to data analysis and visualization, students were given a glimpse into the daily duties of local government budget professionals.

The NCLGBA portion of this presentation focused on the many benefits of becoming an NCLGBA member. Presenters highlighted the goals of the NCLGBA by giving examples of how these goals have helped develop the budgeting profession in Gaston County and throughout North Carolina. During this section, students were provided with links to the NCLGBA website and listserv and encouraged to access NCLGBA as a resource for information, job postings, networking, and professional development. Multiple students expressed interest in the scholarship opportunity for the 2020 Winter Conference.

Overall, the students present at the UNC-Charlotte MPA Public Budgeting and Finance class were very engaged, and several expressed interest in a possible career in local government budgeting. Throughout this presentation, one thing was certain: the instructor, the presenters, and the students all share a passion for public service!

NCLGBA campus visits support our Strategic Plan goal to “increase student interest and participation within NCLGBA in order to advocate for the budgeting profession and to help create and foster the next generation of local government leaders.” If you would like us to visit your program, class, or student group, please email us at