Tuskegee University is one of five partners behind the creation of the Appalachian Leadership Institute, which will train people active in their communities to take on and excel in leadership positions. These leaders will then go back into their communities and use their knowledge to bring about positive economic and community development.
The Appalachian Leadership Institute is a comprehensive leadership and economic development training opportunity for people who live and/or work in Appalachia and are passionate about helping their communities thrive. Developed by the Appalachian Regional Commission, the institute will involve seven multi-day sessions over a nine-month period. It is now accepting applications for 40 community leaders who live or work in the region. The deadline to apply is June 1.
Dr. Tammy Laughlin, an assistant professor of political science who also represents Tuskegee on the project, noted how The Appalachian Leadership Institute focus aligns with the university’s enduring legacy. This is especially true, she said, of Tuskegee’s mission of equipping people and communities to do extraordinary things that dates back to its founding with the leadership, vision and innovations of Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver.
To that point, Laughlin highly encouraged university alumni to consider participating in the institute and providing a voice for the university and greater Tuskegee community.
“We hope, through Tuskegee University’s involvement, that our alumni who live in the region will join in this effort,” Laughlin said. “Participation in this program by our alumni and other stakeholders will certainly help identify tangible economic development benefits for our entire region that, in turn, can be implemented further through the university’s outreach programs serving all of Alabama.”
Laughlin noted that the institute is seeking a diverse pool of candidates from across the region, including persons from both skilled trades and non-traditional career paths. To that end, she said, the application process includes that applicants provide answers to a set of essay questions, a resume, a letter of support from their employers, and three additional letters of recommendation.
“Appalachia’s future relies on leaders coming from a variety of sectors, backgrounds and communities,” agreed Tim Thomas, ARC federal co-chair. “The Appalachian Leadership Institute will help these leaders enhance and refine their skills, share their expertise, and prepare their communities for success.”
The Appalachian Leadership Institute will be limited to 40 Fellows annually, drawn from Appalachia’s public, private and nonprofit sectors. Fellows will be chosen via a competitive application process. Institute sessions, to take place between October and July, will include skill-building seminars, best-practice reviews, and field visits across the 13 states that make up the Appalachian region — with the final capstone event to be held in Washington, D.C.
In addition to Tuskegee University, other institute partners include the University of Tennessee, including UT’s Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy; and Collective Impact, a company that works to bring together community-based organizations which have developed the curriculum in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The ARC is an economic development agency of the federal government and the region’s 13 state governments. Macon County is one of 420 counties in this 13-state area that comprises the Appalachian Region spanning southern New York to northern Alabama and Mississippi. ARC’s mission is to foster innovation, partnerships and investments to build community capacity and economic growth.
For more information about the Appalachian Leadership Institute, including how to apply to be a Fellow, visit www.arc.gov/leadershipinstitute.
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