Training & Information

​​​​Charlotte Civic Leadership Academy

The City of Charlotte's Civic Leadership Academy is a free course designed for residents who are ready to take the next step in being community leaders and improving the quality of life in all of Charlotte's neighborhoods.  The Civic Leadership Academy will provide participants the opportunity to grow in their leadership, analyze issues using data, connect with decision makers and other Charlotte leaders, and make a difference in their communities. 

Benefits of Participation

  • Personalized leadership assessment and leadership development training
  • Enhanced understanding of Charlotte history, demographics and decision making
  • Develop relationships with other community leaders and leaders in local government
  • Learn how to use data to articulate challenges and advocate for resources for their communities
  • Get a behind the scenes look at how the City of Charlotte works and develop specialized knowledge about the departments and programs of the City of Charlotte

​Leaders with vision and clarity of purpose will push our community forward.  Our leadership development program will equip you with self and social awareness, emotional intelligence and the ability to collaborate and exercise influence to be a better advocate for your family, neighborhood and our greater Charlotte Community. 

With Charlotte and Mecklenburg County’s ranking of last in social mobility, our community needs a renewed focus on how we all can play a part in creating an equitable community and how we can expand opportunities for all residents living in our community.  The CLA will give you tools to understand our collective history and work to achieve more positive outcomes for all in the future.

The City’s government structure can feel complicated and you may not know how to access decision making.  The CLA will take you behind the scenes of each department and give you access to government leaders who are making decisions every day that impact residents’ lives.  In our interactive workshops, you will also have the ability to build relationships with city staff and elected officials. 


  • Resident of the City of Charlotte
  • Commitment to continued community leadership
  • Ability to attend 10 out of 13 sessions

Academy Workshops Cover:

  • Introduction to the City of Charlotte
  • Charlotte History, Implicit Bias, and Quality of Life Data
  • Leadership Development
  • Charlotte Government 101
  • Community Safety
  • Environment
  • Economic Development
  • Transportation & Planning
  • Housing & Neighborhood Development
  • The City Budget
  • Capital Improvement Projects
  • How to Join Boards and Commissions

Upcoming CLA Cohorts

To participate in the academy, you must live in Charlotte city limits and commit to attending ten out of the following thirteen sessions (not including graduation):

Participants may miss up to 3 sessions. 

Fall 2021 CLA Schedule (all sessions from 6:00pm - 9:00pm) 

  • Tuesday, September 21 
  • Thursday, September 23 
  • Tuesday, September 28 
  • Thursday, September 30 
  • Tuesday, October 5 
  • Thursday, October 7 
  • Tuesday, October 12 
  • Thursday, October 14 
  • Tuesday, October 19 
  • Thursday, October 21 
  • Tuesday, October 26 
  • Thursday, October 28 
  • Thursday, November 4 

Civic Leadership Academy Graphic 

 Frequently Asked Questions

The CLA is an 11 session crash course in City of Charlotte Government and civic leadership.  Participants will be provided the opportunity to grow in their leadership style, learn to analyze issues using data, connect with decision makers and other Charlotte leaders, and gain useful tools to make a difference in their communities. 

​Participation is open to any resident of the City of Charlotte.  At this time, we are not accepting applications from extra-territorial jurisdictions, towns or out of county/state residents. 

​We encourage anyone who would like to exercise positive community leadership to apply to the CLA.  This can include young people (16 and older), established neighborhood leaders, home owners, renters, residents with no leadership experience, business owners, non-profit workers, new arrivals, native Charlotteans, and everyone in between.  If you care about Charlotte and want to work with the City to improve quality of life, we want you to apply. 

​The CLA was created to equip residents with the tools and information necessary to be strong, community focused civic leaders.  The CLA is focused on making City government more accessible and transparent, and engaging residents as partners in grappling with the challenges we face as a community.

The program was created with input from grassroots community leaders and City staff to reflect the needs and concerns of the community.  Because we are deeply committed to being responsive in providing information and tools that the community needs, each CLA program will vary slightly to accommodate the feedback from previous sessions and to reflect changing issues and concerns in our community. 

​Up to 35 applicants will be selected, five from each council district area.  Selection is based on the application, with a focus on selecting applicants who reflect the rich diversity of our community and who demonstrate a willingness to engage as leaders in Charlotte.  Selection is competitive, with over 250 applicants in the last cycle.  Therefore, applicants are encouraged to be as thoughtful, innovative, and engaging as possible in their applications.

​Extra information, such as a resume, is not necessary to include with the application and will not be considered in the application process due to time constraints. 

​The program is free.  Meals and materials are included. Because the CLA represents a significant investment in each participant, we ask that potential participants not miss sessions and think carefully about the time commitment before applying. 

​The ideal CLA applicant applies because they have a love for the City of Charlotte and want to be a part of problem solving in order to move our community forward.  Past participants in the CLA have been residents who wanted to become community and/or neighborhood leaders, existing leaders who wanted to sharpen their skills, non-profit workers who wanted to better educate their constituents on how to work with government, and residents who want to have an understanding of what the City does.  Many CLA applicants have an interest in applying for boards and commissions as well as public service. 

Participants of the CLA will: 

  • Receive a personalized DISC Leadership Assessment 
  • Learn how to efficiently utilize their leadership style to positively impact their community
  • Enhance their understanding of Charlotte history and decision making
  • Develop relationships with other community leaders and leaders in local government
  • Learn how to use data to articulate challenges and advocate for resources for their communities
  • Get a behind the scenes look at how the City of Charlotte works and develop specialized knowledge about the departments and programs of the City of Charlotte
  • Commit to using their leadership skills in the broader community to improve the quality of life for all Charlotteans.

Program graduates are strongly encouraged to apply to serve on City/County boards and commissions, and a designation for CLA graduates is included on the official boards and commissions applications.  CLA graduates will also receive a certificate from Housing & Neighborhood Services and an exclusive civic leader lapel pin.

If this sounds good to you, you should apply.

​Sessions are generally held once a week, on Thursdays and Saturdays, with some exceptions.  Most sessions will be held at City-owned facilities.  Selected applicants will receive an official agenda with details on each session and location with their acceptance packet. 

​The CLA covers the operations of the City of Charlotte, how to engage in purposeful leadership, how to use data, and the history of Charlotte.  Participants will walk away with a high level understanding of the City of Charlotte, specialized knowledge about the City's departments, and a better understanding of leadership concepts like emotional intelligence, equity, and collaboration and influence. 

This program may touch on the work of Mecklenburg County, the State of North Carolina and/or the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system, but is primarily focused on the workings of the City of Charlotte.

​The CLA holds two sessions a year- in March/April and September/October/November.

​Participants may miss up to two sessions out of 11 (not including graduation).  Each session is packed full of vital information and participants are highly encouraged not to miss any.

​We will keep your information on file and let you know if a participant in your council district drops out.  We also encourage applicants to apply again for the next cycle and will give you first notice when applications are available. 

We encourage applicants to attend other training opportunities offered by the City of Charlotte.  For more information, navigate here​. 

​Graduates of the CLA can indicate their status on applications for boards and commissions.  The City of Charlotte will formally convene CLA graduates in voluntary, bi-annual meetings to give updates about programs and projects of the City and help the City problem solve, where applicable.  Graduates will also be included on the Neighborhood Organization Contact list.  How graduates engage in individual community leadership is up to them, though community involvement and exercising leadership is a condition of participating in the program.