Nebraska Early Childhood Policy Leadership Academy

The decisions we make about children's early care and learning matter to the well-being and prosperity of our state and its communities. Highly engaged citizen-leaders play a key role in shaping early childhood policy conversations that affect education, workforce development, economic growth and quality of life throughout Nebraska.

What is the Nebraska Early Childhood Policy Leadership Academy?

The Nebraska Early Childhood Policy Leadership Academy is a non-partisan project focused on helping citizen-leaders better understand and inform early childhood policy in Nebraska. As a participant in this program, you  will:

  • Deepen your understanding of the policymaking process in state and local government
  • Expand your knowledge of demographic, educational and economic factors that affect your community's growth
  • Build a valuable contact network of elected officials, educators, business leaders, civic leaders and others
  • Enhance your personal and professional leadership skills through collaborative projects
  • Learn how to identify and communicate effectively with strategic influencers and audiences in your community

What is involved?

The 2019/2020 Policy Leadership Academy is a six-month commitment from October 2019 to April 2020. Participants are required to attend monthly, in-person meetings in locations throughout the state. There is no monthly meeting in December.

  • In-Person Meetings 
    With the exception of the October orientation, in-person Academy meetings are day-long  (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) sessions hosted in various communities throughout the state. These sessions involve workshops and special guest presentations, as well as dedicated time for networking. Expenses associated with attending in-person meetings (mileage, lodging and meals) are reimbursed by the Academy.

  • Virtual Workshops
    Academy participants will have the opportunity to attend virtual, online webinars to develop a deeper understanding of specialized topics. Participation in these workshops is optional, but requires a computer, internet connectivity and access to the free Zoom software.

Who should apply?

Participants in the 2019/2020 Academy will be primarily recruited from communities currently participating in Nebraska Children’s Communities for Kids initiative. This includes Columbus, Gothenburg, Grand Island, Lexington, Lincoln, McCook/Red Willow County, Nebraska City/Otoe County, Norfolk, North Platte, Omaha, Pender, Red Cloud, Schuyler, Stuart/Holt County, Valentine/Cherry County and York, as well as the greater Nebraska Panhandle area.

Applicants from other communities may be considered based on available space and the discretion of the Academy. We welcome applicants representing diverse locations, communities and interests throughout the state. All participants are expected to demonstrate an active interest in different aspects of community development, early childhood policy and government affairs. 

How to Apply


2019/2020 Class Schedule*

October 8 & 9 
Nebraska City
Welcome Dinner & Orientation
Network with other participants and learn more about the Early Childhood Policy Leadership Academy

November 6 

Making the Case   
Learn how to engage influencers and build effective communication skills

January 14 

Policymaking at the Statewide Level
Overview of the legislative process and how administrative policies are made

February 12 

A Day at the Unicameral
Experience the legislative process in person and meet your district senator

March 11 
Grand Island
Understanding and Influencing Policy in Your Community
Overview of the decision-making process in your community or county

April 8 
North Platte

Connecting Child Care and Public Schools 
Learn how to engage school districts, boards and administrators

* Session topics may be subject to change