Just as he is every year, Mt. Pleasant City Planner Jacob Kain was slightly nervous that no one would sign up for his Citizens’ Academy program.
Whatever little anxiety Kain had, however, was quickly soothed.
The local government immersion program remains as popular as ever. With the application window opening this past Monday, the Academy is already half full.
"Each year we have a waiting list for the next year. There’s always lots of interest. One of the great things is that many of the applicants come because of the recommendation of someone who has already gone through the program," says Kain.
"And with the new city commissioners this year, it means that five of the seven city commissioners are Academy alumni."
Citizens’ Academy invites approximately 20 or so citizens to spend three hours per week learning about the inner workings of city government. The program is free and open to anyone living, working, owning property, or attending school in the city.
Each week is centered around a theme, which include city administration and budget, public works and utilities, parks and recreation, public safety, and community development. Citizens will visit different facilities and interact with the different departments.
As Kain mentioned, the program, now in its fifth year, is a veritable training ground for people looking to get involved in city government. He recommends anyone looking to join city boards and commissions attend the course.
Citizens’ Academy is held every Tuesday for seven weeks, beginning on Feb. 18. Dinner is provided.
"People are becoming more interested in how government works and local government has the most direct and immediate impact on our daily lives," says Kain.
"What local government does is sometimes not readily apparent. This shines a light on it."
Applications for this year’s Citizens’ Academy are available online. Space is limited.
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