Residents of East Lansing looking to learn more about local government have an opportunity to get civically engaged in the community they call home through an eight-week course designed to build tomorrow's leaders today.
The City of East Lansing is now accepting applications for its 2017 Emerging Leaders Program. Applications are available on line
through the city's website and must be submitted by 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, for consideration.
The program was first offered 10 years ago in 2007. Since that time, five groups of 20 participants each have graduated. Approximately 44 alumni have gone on to serve on one of the 20 or more East Lansing boards or commissions; others have run or served on city council, the East Lansing School Board, assumed leadership posts in their respective neighborhoods, and served as election inspectors.
City Clerk Marie Wicks was among the original architects of the Emerging Leaders program, and continues to help coordinate activities and sessions. She says the program is an ideal fit for individuals who want to become involved in their community, and provides the tools and confidence they may need to be effective.
"It's all about coming in, learning and interacting with people in your cohort," says Wicks. "The program has a special feel to it. It's really neat to think people will give up time to do this. People in the program have fun. It sounds like a lot of heavy stuff, but it's rewarding."
Participants in the 2017 program will hone leadership and public service skills through a variety of course topics taught by business people as well as community and government leaders. Topics on this year's radar include neighborhood initiatives, inclusion and diversity, budgets and finances, and strategic partnerships.
East Lansing resident Meegan Holland graduated as an Emerging Leader in 2015. After completing the program, she applied and took a post with the East Lansing Arts Commission
, and remains an active member.
"When people don't get involved in their city, they make assumptions and point fingers," says Holland. "But when you get involved, you find answers. You have a responsibility to be an engaged citizen and this is the perfect way to do it."
The Emerging Leaders Program runs eight to 10 weeks starting Monday, Feb. 13. The program meets on Thursday evenings at different meeting places around East Lansing. All applicants must be a homeowner or renter in East Lansing and 18 years of age. To learn more about the free program, click here.
Source: Marie Wicks, East Lansing City Clerk
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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