Bloomington to host leadership initiative, beginning in May

Interested in becoming involved in municipal government or other facets of the city?

The Bloomington Learn to Lead Initiative aims to empower individuals to become involved in city government, the school district and nonprofit boards and commissions.

The initiative is “an outreach effort on our part to invite people in who may have interest in developing some leadership skills, especially in the area of community involvement,” according to City Manager Jamie Verbrugge.

The six-month program will feature two meetings during most months, beginning in May. Sessions will be held on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Most Tuesday evening sessions are two hours, while Saturday morning sessions are four hours.

Participants will learn how local government functions and the role nonprofits serve in the community. The program also emphasizes leadership skill development through educational sessions and one-on-one mentoring with city and community officials.

The program will end with a capstone presentation in November. Participants will demonstrate what they’ve learned through a report, multi-media presentation or other format, and present those projects to the Bloomington City Council during a study session, according to Melissa Wurst-Persaud, the city’s human services program coordinator.

Candidates should have a passion for and commitment to improving the community, a desire to learn and develop leadership skills, a unique perspective or experience as a member of or working with an underrepresented community and an interest in networking and building relationships with city and local nonprofit staff and elected officials.

The goal is to “encourage people to engage with the city, get to know our elected officials and get to know our staff, learn more about what we do here, and hopefully we will develop some neighborhood leaders and develop some future commission members so that we can increase the pipeline of people who want to participate in our participatory government process,” Verbrugge told the Bloomington City Council at its April 3 meeting.

Applications are due April 21 and are available through the city’s website. Preference will be given to Bloomington residents, and if applicants exceed the space available, an interview may be conducted prior to selection, Verbrugge noted.

Information and applications are available online at