People's Academy for Community Engagement

This civic leadership development program is dedicated to teaching hands-on engagement and empowerment skills to emerging leaders in a multicultural environment. 

Our vision is "a city government of all people, by all people, and for all people."


The class is designed for 25-30 emerging leaders who are newly engaged in the community and want to acquire additional skills to be more effective in civic leadership. PACE participants have the opportunity to:

  • Refine their organizing and communication skills.
  • Increase the effectiveness of community groups they work with.
  • Identify resources and avenues to empower communities and neighborhoods.
  • Cultivate a deeper appreciation of cultural competency and inclusive civic engagement.
  • Collaborate on a community project with other PACE participants.
  • Learn from key community and civic leaders and build new relationships.

Upon graduation, participants will have refined their skills to be more effective in civic life and in working with community groups in community building and engagement efforts.

PACE Curriculum

Each session is taught by facilitators from community and nonprofit organizations along with City of Seattle staff, who have expertise in the topic and in facilitating group discussion. Topics include:

  • Approaches to Leadership
  • Accessing Government
  • Community Organizing
  • Inclusive Outreach and Public Engagement
  • Meeting Facilitation
  • Public Speaking
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Sustaining Involvement

Classes and Community Projects

Sessions are held monthly at Seattle University. They begin in September and go through May. From May through August, participants work in teams with neighborhood groups to plan, engage in, and implement community projects.

Graduation follows in September.

Application and Tuition

Applications are taken in the spring of each year. Eligible applicants are interviewed and decisions are made by mid-summer. Orientation and sessions begin in the fall.

Tuition is $100. Tuition assistance is available to those candidates who are accepted into the program and demonstrate a need for some level of financial assistance. Award amounts are based on the number of requests received and the amount of funds available. Applications for assistance are confidential and have no bearing on the selection process. A minimum contribution of $25 is required.

Learn More

Casey Connelly