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The application period for the NC Rural Center’s upcoming Homegrown Leaders training in May is now open for individuals who live and/or work in the following counties in Eastern North Carolina: Hyde, Tyrrell, Washington, Camden, Chowen, Currituck, Dares, Gate, Pasquotank, and Perquimans. A second training set for June open to those living in Columbus, Bladen, Hoke, Richmond, Robeson, Scotland, Brunswick, New Hanover, and Pender counties will accept applications beginning in mid-April.

Homegrown Leaders is a three-day regional leadership and community economic development training that equips existing and emerging leaders with the skills they need to lead long-term economic advancement in their community and region. Participating rural leaders will gain an understanding of the importance of using a regional lens for developing long-term, sustainable solutions to common challenges and for capitalizing on innovative opportunities for growth. Participants will also learn and apply skills needed to address the critical issues of racial equity, adaptive leadership, resiliency, and community economic development. 

“It’s been a difficult few years for so many, and it has taken a toll on many of our rural leaders and communities.,” said Senior Director of Leadership and Engagement, Bronwyn Lucas. “Now more than ever, we need leaders who can connect and collaborate across county lines.” 

Homegrown Leaders was developed in 2016 and has held 8 trainings, graduating 237 leaders across 51 counties in the state during that time. The final two upcoming trainings for Eastern North Carolina will be in-person – one in Elizabeth City May 24-26, and one in Lumberton June 21-23.  

The application period for the May session in Elizabeth City closes on April 15th. Those applicants accepted into the May program will be notified by April 25th. Accepted applicants will be expected to register and pay the registration fee of $250 at that time. The Center also offers a limited number of scholarships. The application can be found here. The application period for the June session in Lumberton will open in mid-April and close on May 13th. More information can be found here

“Our rural communities are changing rapidly, and our next generation of leaders will have an incredible task ahead of them,” said Lucas. “We know our leadership development work takes on an even more critical importance now, and we are looking forward to connecting, training, and collaborating with leaders in Eastern North Carolina.”

Homegrown Leaders is funded by the Anonymous Trust, North Carolina Community Foundation, Smithfield Foods, First National Bank, North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, and the U.S. Economic Development Administration.