California Legislative Staff Education Institute

California Legislative Staff Education Institute.

About the Institute

Given the rapidly changing faces of legislators, due to the implementation of term limits, legislative staff has taken on an increasingly important role in policymaking. In response to the imperative for staff to develop deeper policy knowledge, the California Legislative Staff Education Institute (CLSEI) provides the time, support and venue for legislative staff to develop bipartisan relationships, have educational opportunities with experts, and spend ‘real time’ on discussion and collaboration.

CLSEI brings research and expertise in the field around specific topics to support quality decision making, and helps to foster a culture of evidence-based policy in the Legislature. Working with a stable, persistent cohort of staff significantly improves the power of the learning outcomes in the policy process by diffusing the same information, data, and anecdotes across staff in both houses and parties. This creates the common language and cognitive reference points necessary for effective negotiation based on mutual trust and understanding.


In 2006, with funding from the Gates, Hewlett and Irvine foundations, Capitol Impact began an educational program that sought to substantially improve the capacity of the Legislature to make fact-based, data-driven, contextualized policy by strengthening knowledge, conceptual linkages and professional networks among key legislative staff. Initially focused on K-12 education, this program has grown in response to calls for better understanding of key issues and opportunities in other policy areas. The Institute’s cohorts currently encompass five policy areas: Economic Development; Governance & Fiscal Policy; Health Policy & Finance; Human Services; and K-12 Education

Structure & Activities

Guided by advisory committees consisting of senior staff representing both parties in each house, as well as the Legislative Analyst’s Office, CLSEI provides intensive training and development for approximately 25 staff members per cohort, representing relevant policy and fiscal committees, as well as targeted personal staff selected by cohort advisory committees.
Cohort participants spend the year together, traveling to sites across the state for multi-day exploratory visits, where they meet with local stakeholders, clients, and others relevant to the cohort’s policy area. Cohort members also participate in daytrips, seminars, brown-bag lunches, and other activities in Sacramento to deepen and connect field-based learning.

California Legislative Staff Education Institute
Contact April Manatt for more information.