A: It is a free program that gives residents the opportunity to educate themselves about City government so that they can improve their communities.
Q: Why was the Civic Leadership Academy created?
A: It was created to help make City functions more transparent and accessible to Pittsburgh residents, and to provide information and insight about the City so that residents can become informed, effective, and inspired community and municipal leaders.
Q: Who can participate in the program?
A: The program is open to residents who live within Pittsburgh City limits and business owners who operate a business within Pittsburgh City limits. Participants must be at least 18 years old. Individuals who are actively involved in a neighborhood block watch, community group, or business association are encouraged to apply.
Q: How will participants be selected?
A: Up to 30 applicants will be selected for the Academy. Special consideration will be given to applicants who actively participate in City initiatives and who are already leading community revitalization efforts in their neighborhood. CLA participants for Spring 2015 will draw from long-term Pittsburgh residents as well as New Americans – the class will be evenly split.
Q: How are we defining New Americans and immigrants?
A:Foreign-born residents who have lived in Pittsburgh for, preferably, less than 10 years. While the 2015 Spring class will include New Americans, all Pittsburgh residents are encouraged to apply. All races, religions, ethnicity, and orientations are welcome.
Q: When is the Civic Leadership Academy scheduled?
A: The program consists of 10 consecutive sessions on Wednesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. beginning Wednesday, March 25, 2015 and concluding on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Snacks and light refreshments will be served at each session.
Q: What is a typical session like?
A: There is a presentation from one or more city departments and a set time for questions. Often sessions have interactive components.
Q: What do I wear to the sessions?
A: The sessions are informal. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing, as there will be tours and interactive exercises.
Q: Where are the sessions held?
A: Approximately half of the sessions will be held Downtown and half in other areas of the city, including various City of Pittsburgh and non-City facilities. Information about session locations will be provided with each participant’s acceptance letter.
Q: What topics will be addressed in the sessions?
A: Topics include the organization and vision for the City of Pittsburgh, budgeting processes, city planning, neighborhood redevelopment, public works, CitiParks, protecting our rivers, public safety and more! Please check out pittsburghpa.gov/servepgh/cla/schedule to learn more about the format of the program.
Q: May I bring a guest or relative to these sessions?
A: Due to space limitations, participants may not bring guests to the sessions. However, participants will be encouraged to bring guests to their graduation ceremony. Referrals to friends and family interested in future CLA sessions are welcome!
Q: What do I do if I need to miss a session?
A: Participants are allowed to miss 2 of the 10 sessions; however, you are strongly encouraged not to miss the graduation ceremony. Handouts are generally available for missed sessions.
Q: What do I do after I complete this program and graduate?
A: You are expected to participate in a group, participant-led service project at the conclusion of the program. This project should build on the knowledge gained in the Civic Leadership Academy sessions, address a need in the City of Pittsburgh and be completed within six months of the graduation ceremony. The project will be completed outside of scheduled program time. CLA graduates are encouraged to be creative in planning and implementing the project! City representatives will be available to assist throughout the process.
CLA alumni are ambassadors of their community and they are empowered to use the knowledge obtained to make a positive difference. This program is only as powerful as what you choose to do with it!