“Not only did PLA connect me with other individuals who are passionate about improving early childhood quality and capacity across our state, it increased my awareness about the processes that drive the system of care for Nebraska’s youngest citizens. PLA built a strong foundational knowledge so I can confidently advocate for changes and enhancements to early childhood policies that impact providers and families every day.”
— Lindsey Jarecki, Class 1, Boone County Foundation Fund, Albion
Policy Leadership Academy participants:
- Build valuable relationships with educators, business leaders, policymakers and others
- Deepen their understanding of policymaking
- Connect and learn from early childhood peers in communities
Participation in the PLA is a six-month commitment from October 2021 to April 2022. The program consists of four day-long, in-person meetings in communities across the state. Associated expenses for in-person meetings are reimbursed by PLA.
The majority of PLA applicants are recruited from locations that currently participate in Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s Communities for Kids (C4K) initiative. For the 2021-22 class, special emphasis will be placed on applicants from C4K partnerships in Ashland, Bertrand, Buffalo County, Dakota County, Dodge County, Douglas County, Giltner, Kimball County, Nemaha County, O’Neill, Overton and Sarpy County.
What is the Nebraska Early Childhood Policy Leadership Academy?
This non-partisan initiative is designed to help citizen-leaders better understand the policymaking process and develop their skills as advocates for public policies that support development of young children. Participants in this program:
- Learn more about how early childhood fits within their communities’ social, educational and economic structure
- Better understand how decisions are made in local government, the Nebraska Legislature and state agencies
- Identify and engage with the people who make and influence policy decisions in their communities and legislative districts
- Network, exchange ideas and collaborate with other champions for early childhood policy throughout the state
What is Involved?
The 2021/2022 Policy Leadership Academy consists of four in-person meetings in multiple locations throughout the state every other month from September 2021 through March 2022. Class members will receive a stipend to cover expenses associated with attending each meeting, including mileage, meals and accommodations. Each meeting includes an opportunity for members to meet and network on the evening before the full-day session.
An application submitted for the 2021-2022 program represents a good-faith commitment to participate fully in all scheduled meetings.
How to Apply
- Information for the next class will be available in 2022.
- Questions/information: policyacademy@FirstFiveNebraska.org
2021-22 Class Schedule
September 14-15, 2021
Class 3 of the Academy launches with a special two-day event featuring a welcome dinner and orientation, followed by a day-long session on making the case for early childhood with influencers and decision makers in your community.
November 10, 2021
Learn how policy and funding decisions are made in the legislative, administrative and executive divisions of state government. We will also discuss ways to build productive conversations with policymakers.
January 12, 2022
A look at local municipal structures — city government, school boards, local chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, etc. — and how they factor in conversations about early childhood policy.
February 15-16, 2022
Class 3 concludes with another two-day event in the state capital, including a graduation dinner and networking opportunity followed by a day the the Nebraska Legislature and a visit with your district senator.
* Session topics may be subject to change
For meetings 2 (Sidney) and 3 (Broken Bow), PLA members are encouraged to meet for dinner and networking the evening prior to the full-day session.
Who Should Apply?
Participants in the Academy are selected primarily from locations participating in Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s Communities for Kids initiative.
First Five Nebraska is committed to promoting the well-being and positive outcomes of all children and families regardless of race, ethnicity or culture. We welcome and strongly encourage Academy applicants who can contribute a diversity of experiences and perspectives to our program.
Editor’s Note: Becky Veak retired at the end of August after a career advancing public policy that ranged from the Nebraska Legislature to Capitol Hill and state government to becoming the founding director of First Five Nebraska. We offer her our heartfelt thank you...
We'd like to introduce Jodi-Renee Giron who has joined our staff as Grassroots and Outreach Advisor. Jodi-Renee’s primary task will be leading the Nebraska Early Childhood Policy Leadership Academy beginning with Class 3, which kicks off mid-September. Jodi-Renee...
First Five Nebraska is pleased to announce the launch of Class 3 of the Early Childhood Policy Leadership Academy (PLA) this September. The PLA is a non-partisan initiative designed to help citizen-leaders develop their skills to advocate for public policies that...
First Five Nebraska, in partnership with Communities for Kids, launched the Nebraska Early Childhood Policy Leadership Academy in 2019 to engage policymakers on early childhood policy at the state level and in their communities.