Civic Leadership Academy

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Do you love Hillsboro and care about your community? Are you interested in giving back to the community and building leadership skills?

You’re invited to join Hillsboro’s Civic Leadership Academy! At the Academy, Hillsboro residents from all neighborhoods and backgrounds come together to research a topic of community importance, share their perspectives, and make recommendations to City Council. Last year’s Academy addressed the topic of how to foster a greater sense of community in Hillsboro. 

Participants meet once a week for six weeks to discuss and research a community-focused topic, and learn about civic leadership and local government. Many go on to serve on City Boards and Commissions.

Join us for a Meet & Greet Event on July 25. See details below.
Academy Format

Civic Leadership Academy participants watching a presentationAcademy members meet in a small group setting at the Civic Center in Downtown Hillsboro on Wednesday evenings from 5:30 – 8 pm. Portland State University’s Hatfield School of Government leads sessions with support from City staff.

At the end of the Academy, participants present their ideas and recommendations at a Tuesday evening City Council Meeting.

Dinner and child care are provided at no cost at all Academy sessions. Translation services will be available upon request.

As a member of the Civic Leadership Academy, you will:

  • Participate in six weekly interactive workshops led by Portland State University’s Hatfield School of Government
  • Engage in supported, collaborative, and hands-on research focused on a topic of community importance
  • Meet new people and establish community connections
  • Hear lightning talks from community leaders and local elected officials
  • Develop your leadership skills and learn about new ways to be involved with the City
  • Present recommendations to City Council
2019 Academy Dates and Application
Civic Leadership Academy members presenting to City Council

 2019 Academy Dates

  • Applications Open: May 15, 2019
  • Applications Close: Monday, August 5, 2019 at 5 pm
  • Application Selection Date: Monday, August 12, 2019
  • 2019 Workshop Dates*
    5:30 – 8 pm on Wednesdays
    • September 18
    • September 25
    • October 2
    • October 9
    • October 16
    • October 23
  • Presentation to City Council: November 5 
Members of the Civic Leadership Academy presenting to City Council


Participants in the Civic Leadership Academy must live within the City of Hillsboro. Check your address with our Hillsboro Maps tool

Please complete the online application

Paper applications are also available. Please contact us to request a printed application

A selection committee that includes members of City Boards and Commissions and City Council will review the applications. Space is limited. Priority given to candidates who are new to civic leadership. People of all personal and professional backgrounds, people of color, and people from historically underrepresented communities are encouraged to apply.

*Dinner and child care are provided. If you have a calendar conflict for the workshop dates, please consider applying for the Academy next year. In the meantime, contact us or visit our Get Involved webpage to learn about more ways to engage.

July 25 Meet & Greet Event

Join the City of Hillsboro to celebrate the Civic Leadership Academy at a Meet & Greet for past and future Academy participants.

Thursday, July 25 | 6 pm – 7:30 pm

HillHub, Hillsboro’s Startup Community
5193 NE Elam Young Pkwy Suite D
Hillsboro, OR 97124
A short walk from Hawthorne Farm MAX Station.

Appetizers and refreshments will be served. Free childcare will be provided (Please RSVP by July 22nd if requesting childcare).

Prospective Academy Members:


  • Reunite with fellow Academy members and share your experience with future participants.
  • Bring a guest who may want to join the 2019 Academy.
  • Learn about local leadership opportunities, including City of Hillsboro boards and commissions.
  • View and share the Meet & Greet invitation for graduates.

Questions & RSVP

RSVP encouraged, but not required. RSVP through our online form or call 503-681-6467. 

Past Topics and Recommendations
Citizens' Academy crop


Topic: Balanced Housing

The first class of the Civic Leadership Academy presented recommendations that City Council is utilizing to evaluate housing options in our community and explore partnerships to support the development of affordable housing in Hillsboro.

2017 Civic Leadership Academy class


Topic: Supporting Hillsboro Entrepreneurs

In 2017, Academy graduates identified existing partnership opportunities, space resources, educational opportunities, and makerspaces that support entrepreneurship within the community. In addition, the Academy recommended the creation of a startup incubator space and/or program in Hillsboro. They also suggested adding a staff position to coordinate partnerships that support entrepreneurs. 

2018 Civic Leadership Academy members in the Civic Center auditorium2018

Topic: Fostering a Stronger Sense of Community in Hillsboro 

2018 Academy graduates presented ideas for increasing community engagement, such the creation of a multi-language smartphone app, defining a common name for Hillsboro residents, and providing a “party-in-a-box” kit to support neighborhood get-togethers. The group also identified neighborhood identity and walkability challenges, as well as and language and technology barriers that Hillsboro residents face.

Contact the Civic Leadership Academy

For general information, or to request a paper copy of the Civic Leadership Academy application, please contact us through our online form.