Citizens' Academy FAQ
Through the nationally recognized Citizens’ Academy, participants learn from local experts and leaders, meet other interested residents and ultimately use what they learn to take action. The academy began in 2007 as a program of Transit Alliance, a nonprofit corporation which empowered citizens to transform mobility in Colorado. Citizens’ Academy’s more than 800 engaged and informed graduates have been instrumental in shaping Colorado’s future.
Over the past decade, the Citizens' Academy has inspired and prepared participants to pursue public and community service opportunities in the Denver region. Numerous academy alumni have gone on to serve as elected officials, and hundreds of participants have gone on to positions in public agencies or nonprofit agencies that shape Colorado's future. At the request of Transit Alliance leadership, DRCOG assumed responsibility for the Citizens' Academy in 2018.
The spring 2020 session of Citizens' Academy has been postponed until fall. The academy is free for participants and dinner is provided at each session. Participants should also plan to spend some time outside those weekly sessions working on their individual action plans.
No specific type of person applies for Citizens’ Academy. Academy participants live and work in communities across the metro area. They apply for both professional and personal reasons. Academy participants represent the region's diverse population and have included students, working professionals, retirees, appointed and elected officials, and community-minded individuals. The academy is a great opportunity for existing community leaders to learn more about regional issues while enhancing their skills and growing their networks.
The agenda changes each session, however, all sessions explore the evolution of the Denver metro area and what residents can do individually and collectively to enhance the region’s successes and address emerging and ongoing challenges. The curriculum for each Citizens' Academy reflects regionally significant issues, projects or initiatives, including sessions on regional growth and demographics, economic vitality, our changing transportation and mobility landscape and civic engagement tools. The academy features presentations by an array of local experts, group discussions of the topics and the opportunity to develop an individual action plan alongside fellow learners.
During the seven-week academy, you will create an individual action plan. Your plan will encompass how you will become more involved in your community. During the application process, you’ll provide an idea for your action plan, so program managers can gauge the incoming class’s topical interests. Choose an idea that you’re passionate about and willing to commit to, even after the academy concludes. You may change your action plan -- to some degree, we anticipate that learning more about the region’s varied challenges and opportunities compels participants to adjust their plans. Academy participants work with their classmates to fully develop ideas and approaches to their action plans and present them to the group during the final week of the course.
DRCOG is a nonprofit, voluntary association of local governments in the Denver region that covers nine counties and more than 50 municipalities. Although DRCOG is a public agency, it isn't a unit of government. DRCOG is involved in many issues that affect the region's future. Through DRCOG, local governments work cooperatively on regional transportation, growth and development planning, emphasizing the integration of transportation and land use. DRCOG advocates for transportation and older adult programs at the state and federal levels. DRCOG also provides services for the region’s older adults through the Area Agency on Aging, and disburses funding from state and federal grants.