People's Academy for Community Engagement

In response to COVID-19, all City departments, including Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, are shifting and refocusing our efforts toward supporting the needs of our community, especially our most vulnerable residents.

For this reason, the People's Academy for Community Engagement (PACE) will be paused for this year. Any applications received will be kept on file, and we will keep applicants updated when PACE starts up again.

Apply to join the People's Academy for Community Engagement (PACE), a 5-session civic leadership program that supports and trains community members like you on how to be an effective civic activist and leader. 


Have you ever felt confused or frustrated when trying to engage with local government? Do you want to have relationships with the people in local government that can help progress your community goals? Would you like to know how to better serve your community through civic engagement, but aren't sure where to start?

These are very common experiences, and PACE is here to support you!  You will be a part of a class of 25-30 community members who are invested in their communities and want to learn more about local government.

As a PACE graduate, you'll join a growing network of civic leaders from diverse backgrounds. 

People of color are highly encouraged to apply.    

"As someone who was volunteering in the community and who is exploring ways to become more active in affecting change beyond direct volunteer action, PACE has given me exactly what I've been looking for so far: an understanding of the options and approaches I can take back to the community organizations I belong to and ask what opportunities they have for me there, e.g. being a unified cohort to approach councilmembers to advocate for issues in the community." 

-2019 Winter Cohort member


PACE aims to train and support you in three main ways: 

Meaningful Networking

  • Build connections with other community activists and leaders
  • Share resources and events within the cohort
  • Meet and build relationships with City elected officials and staff  

Education to Help Understand Local Government

Learn about...

  • The City of Seattle's organizational structure
  • The City of Seattle's budget process
  • How the Council and Mayor work together
  • How to speak at Council hearings
  • Racism in Seattle's history and how it shapes current policies
  • Intersections of land use, colonization, and equitable development
  • How to effectively navigate a bureaucracy  
  • Skills for Relationship Building

Learn How to Connect with and Influence Local Decision Makers

  • Practice community organizing strategies
  • Learn how to build relationships with local media
  • Practice strategies for skillful engagement in conflict 

"It is very interesting to know about this country. It makes me feel that I will become a good citizen. I think I know more about the government and how it works than I used to know in my country."

- 2019 Winter Cohort member 


In-person programming has been paused for 2020. PACE plans to go digital beginning late spring. Community engagement is more important than ever, and our tools and resources can be helpful during this time of social distancing and staying at home. So, make sure to visit our website in mid-May for updates.


Applications are taken on a rolling basis throughout the year, with the deadline approximately 2 weeks before class begins. When accepted, applicants will be notified two weeks before the first class of the quarter.

Tuition is $100. Tuition assistance is available to candidates who are accepted into the program and demonstrate a need. 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. Applicants are required to make a minimum contribution of $25.


For more information and questions, please contact