Investing in the City & County's Workforce

In May 2005, the Department of Human Resources (DHR) created City University (CU) to ensure that San Francisco has the most educated and highly trained local government workforce. Through CU, the City funds a variety of courses taken at San Francisco State University College of Extended Learning, San Francisco City College, and UC Berkeley Extension. In addition, the City collaborates with these partners to provide customized training programs to address the specific needs of City departments.

Vision of City University

To ensure San Francisco has a government workforce that is educated, trained and prepared to provide quality services to its citizens now and into the future.

Mission of City University

A partnership between the City, educational institutions, labor organizations, business, and philanthropic communities, to provide learning opportunities for City employees in an effort to produce high quality City services, improve performance, and satisfy employees.

Goals of City University

  • Provide career ladders for City employees
  • Provide skill building and professional development opportunities for City employees
    • Learn new skills applicable to your work for the City
    • Learn new ways to improve overall success and efficiency in the workplace
    • Gain new computer skills or improve existing computer skills
  • Provide learning opportunities to address jobs that are difficult to fill due to a shortage of qualified candidates and competition with the private sector and other jurisdictions

City University Partnerships:

City University Affiliates:

  • BayGeo is a San Francisco non-profit organization whose mission is to lead, mobilize, and engage users of geospatial technology and map enthusiasts in the Bay Area. Our GIS Education Center offers small, instructor-led, personalized workshops in a variety of geospatial topics including QGIS (open-source GIS), Python scripting, Esri ArcGIS Pro, Javascript, statistical analysis with R, and 3D Mapping. Join us and add some highly powerful and marketable skills to your toolkit!
  • Cañada College for Working Adults : The Cañada College for Working Adults, named one of California’s top 25 Community Colleges, allows you to earn three Associate of Arts degrees and complete all GE/transfer requirements by attending classes only one night per week and every other Saturday. Class registration is guaranteed and the cost is only $46 per unit. New cohorts begin every semester.
  • Golden Gate University : GGU is a private, nonprofit university located in the Financial District of downtown San Francisco. The university specializes in educating professionals through its schools of law, business, taxation, and accounting. They offer an associate degree, two undergraduate degrees with eight concentrations, and 15 graduate degrees with 24 concentrations, including public administration. GGU has committed to waiving the application fee and offers a 10% tuition discount for City employees.

To Enroll

Complete and submit the City University Participation Form

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who can participate?

All current City employees (regardless of appointment type):

What classes are available?

Click on each school to browse the City University approved courses.

Is there a course you want to take, but unsure if it qualifies? Email to confirm.

How much does a class cost?

  • City College of San Francisco: Free to eligible City employees.
  • SFSU-CEL: 2/3 of the course costs will be paid by DHR and 1/3 will be paid by the employee; course costs vary depending on the course.
  • UC Berkeley Extension: 1/3 of the course costs will be paid by DHR and 2/3 will be paid by the employee; course costs vary depending on the course.

Note: An employee may choose to have their course costs reimbursed from the Employee Development Fund, as specified by the applicable MOU. Learn more about Tuition Reimbursement here.

How do I enroll?

  1. Go to the What Classes are Available section to find a City University approved course.
  2. Complete and submit City University Participation Form
  3. Complete the additional registration steps provided to you in your confirmation email. Note: steps vary between SFSU-CEL, City College academic courses, City College Continuing Education, and UC Berkeley Extension. Click on each partner's City University website in the What Classes are Available section for more information.

Can I get a refund or credit for future a class?

For an employee that pays the required 1/3 portion of the cost for a SFSU-CEL course listed under City University, and who drops/cancels enrollment for the class before the first day of class, the employee portion of the tuition fee will be reimbursed directly to the employee by SFSU-CEL. The employee must inform both SFSU-CEL and DHR of the intent to drop/cancel participation in a course. There are no credits issued for future classes.

For an employee that pays the required 2/3 portion of the cost for a UC Berkeley Extension course listed under City University, and who drops/cancels enrollment for the class within the drop deadlines set by UC Berkeley Extension, will receive a refund check from DHR.

What is the tuition reimbursement process?

Employees may utilize funds provided by their applicable MOUs every fiscal year for tuition, internal or external training programs. The process varies depending on the applicable MOU and is outlined in the applicable reimbursement form. Refer to the Tuition Reimbursement website for more information.

Does an employee get college credit for these classes?

Semester classes taken through City College are currently for academic credit. Classes taken through SFSU-CEL are for continuing education units (CEUs). Classes through City College's Continuing Education department are for training hours; neither continuing CEUs nor academic credit is given. UC Berkeley courses may be taken for academic credit or CEUs, depending on the course.

How will time in class be compensated?

If the class is held during your regularly scheduled work hours, DHR is encouraging City Departments to allow employees up to 50% of work time to attend the class. The remainder of the class time will be during the employee's own time. This includes:

  • Classroom time held during your non-work hours
  • Commute time to and from the classroom location
  • Time spent on lab work
  • Time spent on homework

Can I access online classes from my workstation?

In general, for City University online classes, City employees will be required to use their own time and computer resources. The exception to this is when the following requirements are made:

  • The on-line class is directly related to an employee's current job classification or to a City job to which the employee might reasonably expect to promote; and
  • The employee has received approval from their supervisor, plus the approval from the Information Technology Administrator for the employee's department.

How is the cost of textbooks covered?

Some classes may require textbooks. If so, the employee is responsible for purchasing them. (Note: An employee may choose to have their course supply costs reimbursed from Employee Development Funds, as applicable by their respective MOU's every fiscal year. Learn more about Tuition Reimbursement).

What additional fees are covered by City University?

City University only subsidies tuition fees. The following fees are not covered by City University subsidies:

  • Fees incurred from dropping a course after the drop deadline
  • Out of state resident fees

For additional information, contact

Department of Human Resources Workforce Development