By Katie Dahlstrom Herald Assistant Editor
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON — More than two decades after it started shaping Clinton leaders, the Leadership Institute is making changes that will return the program to its core.
The Leadership Institute is put on annually by the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce with the Leadership Committee guiding the program.
Unlike previous years, the class will not be expected to raise additional money in order to complete a class project. Projects in past years include lighting the bike path and the welcome sign for the city.
“The past classes of the Leadership Institute have done some phenomenal projects,” Leadership Committee Co-chairman Nate Kreinbrink said. “Not that we want to take anything away from that, but I think re-evaluting the mission of the Leadership Institute and where we want to go with it we want to give people opportunities to choose to get involved in projects on their own.”
Instead of raising money for a project, part of the $450 tuition fee will be held back for the class to use as seed money for a project if they choose.
Leadership Committee members, who are all alumni of the Leadership Institute, started ruminating the idea to eliminate the required project aspect a few years ago. Last year’s class spending some of their project money to help the Convention and Visitors Bureau’s new website solidified the idea.
“We want the project to be a want to more than a have to,” Chamber President and CEO Nathan Sondgeroth said. “We want this to be an incubator and have that little bit of capital available to start the ball in motion.”
Also new this year are partnerships with Clinton Community College, Ashford University and Iowa State University, which officials hope will add some credibility and focus on leadership skills that employers, participants and the community will benefit from.
The program’s time frame was condensed while increasing the content of each class.
The program runs from Jan. 14 to May 27. Class participants meet from 8 to 11 a.m. every other Tuesday to learn about topics that span different aspects of leadership such as economic development, health care, the history of Clinton, government and more.
“I think this has been a vision of a lot of people for numerous years,” Kreinbrink said. “Being so close to kicking it off, I’m anxious, excited. I’m ready to get this going.”
There is a limited amount of spots left for the 2014 class, which are expected to fill up by Jan. 1. A kick-off party for the new members and past graduates is slated for Jan. 9.