Citizens Academies

Monroe County, IN



  • Monroe County, IN: Commissioners’ Citizens’ Academy
  • Population: 137,974
  • Years Offered: 2 (2006-2006, 2010-present)
  • Signature Innovation: Program was too taxing on staff time, so it was discontinued; brought back with help of local extension office

In 2006, the Monroe County Commissioners launched a citizens academy program. Offered once per three weeks (for eight sessions), it ran from January until June, from 6-8pm on Thursdays. Thirty participants, mostly in their 50s and 60s, were selected on a first-come, first-served basis, but the commissioners did most of the recruiting. The program idea initiated with them, so they approached citizens about participating.

Only drinks were offered during the sessions, and the graduation was a separate session with speeches from the commissioners. Estimated costs were about $2,000. The county was successful in getting some alumni to run for county office and participate on appointed boards.

After the first program, the commissioners determined the program was too taxing on the staff’s time and put the program on hiatus for four years. In 2010, the Purdue Extension educators approached the commissioners about taking over the program, since it fell within their education mission. When the cooperative began coordinating the program, it continued in its original format and won a local ‘program of excellence’ award to receive sustained funding.


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