Improve your civic leadership skills at the People’s Academy for Community Engagement

Now accepting applications through October 1; classes begin October 13

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is accepting applications to the People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE), its civic leadership development program, for the next wave of community leaders. The Fall Quarter will be held on Saturdays beginning October 13 and running through November 10.

During the 5-week program, 25-30 emerging leaders (18 years and up) learn hands-on strategies for community building, accessing government, and inclusive engagement from experts in the field. PACE has a strong focus on Seattle’s community and the city’s governmental structure and processes.

The classes will be held on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. Topics include: Approaches to Leadership, Accessing City Government, Community Organizing, Building Relationships with Local Media, Public Speaking, Conflict Resolution, and more. Tuition is $100, and there is tuition assistance available.

To apply, visit seattle.gov/PACE. The application deadline for the upcoming Fall Quarter is Monday, October 1 at 5:00 p.m.

PACE is offered three times a year: winter, spring and fall. Applications for all quarters are accepted on a rolling basis. For more information, visit our webpage and for questions, email PACE@seattle.gov.

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People’s Academy for Community Engagement now accepting applications

Deadline to apply is Monday, May 21.

Spring Quarter classes begin June 2.

We are now accepting applications to the People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE), our civic leadership development program for the next wave of community leaders. The Spring Quarter begins June 2 and runs through June 30.

During the 5-week program, 25-30 emerging leaders (18 years and up) will learn hands-on strategies for community building, accessing government, and inclusive engagement from experts in the field. PACE has a strong focus on Seattle’s community and the city’s governmental structure and processes.

Spring Quarter will be held on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. Topics include: Approaches to Leadership, Accessing City Government, Community Organizing, Inclusive Outreach and Public Engagement, Public Speaking, Conflict Resolution, and more.

Tuition for the 5-week program is $100. Tuition assistance is available. To apply, visit seattle.gov/PACE. Applications for all quarters are accepted on a rolling basis. The application deadline for the upcoming Spring Quarter is Monday, May 21 at 5:00 p.m.

Given the popularity of the program, PACE is offered three times a year: winter, spring and fall. If you have questions, email PACE@seattle.gov.

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Join the Next Wave of Community Leaders: People’s Academy for Community Engagement now accepting applications

Learn how City government works, build your leadership skills, and practice ways to make your voice heard!

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is accepting applications to the People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE), our civic leadership development program aimed at cultivating the next wave of community leaders. The winter quarter begins February 24 and runs through March 24.

During the 5-week program, 25-30 emerging leaders (18 years and up) will learn hands-on strategies for community building, accessing government, and inclusive engagement from experts in the field. PACE has a strong focus on Seattle’s community and neighborhood organizations and the city of Seattle’s governmental structure and processes.

Winter quarter will be held on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. Topics include:

  • Approaches to Leadership
  • Accessing City Government
  • Community Organizing
  • Inclusive Outreach and Public Engagement
  • Public Speaking
  • Conflict Resolution
  • …and more.

Tuition for the five-week program is $100. Tuition assistance is available. To apply, visit seattle.gov/PACE. Applications for all quarters are accepted on a rolling basis. The application deadline for the upcoming Winter Quarter is Monday, February 5 at 5:00 p.m.

Given the popularity of the program, PACE is offered three times a year: winter, spring and fall. For more information, visit our webpage and for questions, email PACE@seattle.gov.

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People’s Academy for Community Engagement now accepting applications for fall quarter

Deadline to apply for this civic leadership program is September 18

Classes begin Saturday, October 7

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is now accepting applications for the Fall Quarter of the People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE). PACE is a civic leadership development program dedicated to teaching hands-on skills to the next wave of community leaders. The Fall Quarter begins October 7 and runs through November 4.

During the five-week program, 25-30 emerging community leaders (18 years and up) will get an introduction to the structure and fundamentals of city government, with a strong focus on how communities and local government can work together. Participants of PACE get the chance to build relationships with key City staff, City Councilmembers, and expert community facilitators.

Fall classes will occur on five consecutive Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Yesler Community Center. Topics include: Accessing City Government, City Budget 101, Land Use in Seattle, Community Organizing, Inclusive Outreach and Public Engagement, Public Speaking, Skillful Engagement in Conflict, and more.

Tuition for the five-week program is $100. Tuition assistance is available to those who qualify. To apply, visit seattle.gov/PACE. The application deadline is Monday, September 18 by 5:00 p.m.

Given the popularity of the program, PACE is offered three times a year: winter, spring and fall. For more information, visit our webpage or email PACE@seattle.gov.

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A Path Toward Community Leadership

The path toward community leadership is different for everyone. For Saunjah Powell-Pointer, a recent graduate of our People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE), the journey was rooted in family and faith. Her motivations, passion, and goals are so tied up in these two forces that it is nearly impossible for her to separate them.

“My faith and my mother are truly the driving forces of my life,” says Saunjah. “Because of my faith, there is a sense of responsibility to empower others and to find ways to make a contribution.  My mother represents my ‘True North’ and holds me accountable to being authentic and to staying focused on the things that really matter in life. As a result, I’m motivated by things that serve the greater good.”

These motivations are what drove Saunjah to work on inclusion and diversity strategies, in addition to her technical project management and procurement responsibilities, in her 17+ year career in the pharmaceutical and retail industries. They are also what pushed her toward investing in community work focused on civic engagement, youth development, and empowering women and girls. These efforts reflect Saunjah’s life goal of “creating safe environments where people can be their best selves and, in so doing, make a greater impact in their respective spheres of influence.”

It was this stated life goal colliding with a series of national tragedies that inspired Saunjah to take another step on her path toward community leadership and register for the People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE).

“PACE came at a time when I was searching for a way to become more involved in the local community.”

“Given that I have seven brothers, the repetitive instances of unarmed black men being shot by police officers left me feeling afraid, confused, and powerless for days.  Then nine people praying in a church were murdered, and it felt like I was living through a time that many in America thought had passed.  PACE came at a time when I was searching for a way to become more involved in the local community.”

Saunjah entered the program in the Fall of 2016 wanting to learn more about effective community organizing and how to influence change as an average citizen. She was joined by 25 other students from varying backgrounds and with divergent interests. For 11 weeks, they spent their Tuesday evenings at Miller Community Center immersed in trainings centered on public engagement, inclusive outreach, accessing government, conflict resolution, public speaking, and more.

She walked away from PACE with a solid understanding of city government, knowledge on how to access public officials and local resources, and connections to an extended network of community leaders for potential future partnerships.

According to Saunjah, the impact of this training is already evident in her daily life and work: “Since PACE, I have become even more actively engaged with the Seattle chapter of my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. I now serve on the Civic Engagement Committee and have also been elected President of our charitable-giving arm, Dynamic Urban Opportunities Foundation. In addition, I now serve as an advisory board member for the Seattle chapter of Juma Ventures, a social enterprise that strives to break the cycle of poverty by paving the way to work, education, and financial capability for youth across America.”

When asked what she would tell someone who is thinking about applying for a future session of PACE, Saunjah does not mince words: “Just do it…and pay it forward!”


Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is currently accepting applications for the Spring 2017 quarter of People’s Academy for Community Engagement. To apply, visit seattle.gov/PACE. The application deadline is Monday, May 8 at 5:00 p.m.

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