The Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce, Cass/Atlantic Development Corp. and Cass County Extension have partnered together to offer a county-wide leadership program, “Leading Cass County”, that focuses on cultivating the next generation of community leaders.

“Leading Cass County is a program developed by ISU Extension and Outreach and the University of Wisconsin Extension. It’s designed to seek out emerging leaders within your county and teach them skills they need for interacting and working together to promote sustainable community development while also preparing them for positions of public influence and decision-making,” Bailey Smith, Executive Director at the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce stated.

The program, launched in the fall of 2019, is an 8-month course, meeting the second Tuesday of each month, that focuses on a different topic each session. Participants will interact with local leaders and learn about Cass County resources during community tours and presentations. Class sessions and tours will rotate around the county, showcasing the diversity of services the county has to offer. Class sessions will be held from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m., followed by lunch and community tours from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. A certificate will be awarded to participants who successfully fulfill the requirements of the leadership program.

Topics include: Community Leadership; Agriculture & Conservation; Economic Development; Local Government, Crime & Safety; Healthcare & Social Services; Local Government, Crime & Safety; Healthcare and Social Services; Education; State Government and a Graduation ceremony. Tuition is $350 per participant and will cover the entire program, tours and lunch.

By the end of the program, four core skill sets will be learned:

1. Understanding community leadership and your community

2. Identifying issues and framing ideas

3. Building social capital

4. Mobilizing resources for community action

“We were really pleased with the support we received, county-wide, from businesses and participants in 2019. We graduated 18 students in March of 2020 and look forward to having a full class again for the 2021-2022 year. The goal of this course is to mold young leaders that may be “hiding” throughout the county and give them the resources and confidence to become an active member of their community, stay here for the long haul and work towards making Cass County a great place to live and do business in,” mentioned Smith.

More information and a detailed list of monthly topics and tours can be found at www.atlanticiowa.com. Applications are due by noon Sept. 15 by email to keolson@iastate.edu. Applications can also be found at the Extension, Chamber and Cass/Atlantic Development offices. “Leading Cass County” is sponsored by Atlantic Municipal Utilities, Camblin Mechanical and Cass County Health System.

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