Civic Leadership Academy Group Action Projects

As part of the Jefferson Civic Leadership Academy, participants develop their leadership skills by engaging in research to address critical issues facing their community.

JCLA 2020 cover

Leadership in a Time of Crisis: Proposing a Preparedness Model for Erie County

The 2020 JCLA Cohort was tasked with examining the topic of “Leadership in a Time of Crisis: Proposing a Preparedness Model for Erie County.” They explored this topic during the COVID-19 global pandemic and decided to address it by sharing resiliency information and tactics with businesses through a free and easily accessible speaker series. Please click on LEARN MORE below to read the full report and learn about the background of the COVID-19 Pandemic; its impacts on Pennsylvania and the Erie region; Erie County responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic; the creation of a speaker series, reflection, and potential future opportunities. To watch the videos of “The JCLA Business Speaker Series: Resources for Building Resiliency during Uncertain Times” please click HERE!


Blue Economy in Erie County

The 2019 JCLA cohort explored the Blue Economy and addressed what they learned in this group action project. The goals of this project was to educate residents and visitors of Erie County about the Blue Economy and vast opportunities that exist in the areas of science, infrastructure and economic development, and to create broader awareness through an educational exhibit that showcases the current state of the Blue Economy and key opportunities that exist for Erie County.

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Trapped in poverty 

In 2018, JCLA participants applied the lessons learned from the program to a group action project focused on Poverty in Erie County, which yielded the creation of a Community Poverty Index. This project identified and addressed structural impediments to elevating the economic status of people living in poverty by examining a selection of resources in low-income, middle-income, and high-income ZIP codes across Erie County. 

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In addressing the opioid epidemic, the 2017 JCLA cohort produced the media awareness campaign, Many Stories, One Story, to change the conversation about addiction from one of demonizing stigma to one of encouragement and compassion. The participants interviewed recovering addicts, policy experts, and medical professionals in an effort to shed light on the crisis sweeping the nation.

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The 2016 JCLA participants drafted A Citizen’s Action Guide to Blight to highlight successful strategies for addressing blight undertaken by other cities and regions. The group’s work has since been cited in various meetings and remains a vital tool for the region’s leaders when discussing blight and how to combat it.

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Tunnel Concept

The 2015 JCLA cohort explored forming a potential connection between Erie’s east side and the eastern part of Presque Isle. Their research led to numerous discussions and meetings regarding the feasibility to address the limited access to Presque Isle.

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