Civic leadership program to offer summer internships, dual credit courses for high school students


DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — A new program is helping Decatur high school students gain experience to launch their careers.

The Jerry J. Dawson Civic Leadership Institute (DCLI) is designed to connect students with opportunities in civic leadership. It’s being funded by a $2.48 million gift by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation as part of an eight-year project to promote deeper civic engagement.

“Many of us have never seen or experienced a time like this,” says DCLI Coordinator Juanita Morris in a press release. “Both our national and local communities are facing obstacles and injustices in a space that is new for many of us. We’re dealing with natural disasters, civic and social unrest, an uncertain economy, all of which in the middle of a global pandemic.”

Students will have access to internships and exposure to dual credit and job opportunities.

Some opportunities students can take up include the areas of law enforcement, health care, politics, civic and social entrepreneurship, and education.

“Part of what makes this unique is the amazing opportunity and ability for us to collaborate with so many community stakeholders, and one of the things that I love to say is that Decatur is our classroom,” says Morris in an interview.

“So we’re not just in the schools, but everything we do is outside of the schools in the community.”

The program launches this summer. High school juniors, senionrs, and graduates have program options in the DCLI Intership Institute withfulltime and paid summer interships. Students can also register for Richland Community College courses in healthcare, criminal justice, and education.

They can also apply for summer Residential CNA programs or other programs like FA/CPR, or Health Professions Bootcamp.

All programs are free for participants. To apply, click here.

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