Preparing North Carolina’s future leaders

Operated by the UNC School of Government, the Lead for North Carolina program is training future leaders to address problems facing North Carolinians by placing young professionals in local government offices.

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For many young professionals, success means a high-paying job in a major city.

But a new program in Carolina’s School of Government is working to reshape that vision by bringing some of the country’s most talented recent graduates to counties throughout North Carolina to help build stronger communities.

“If you want to make an impact on a community and you are making it a better place to live or just strengthen it, that is success,” said Saoirse Scott, who is currently a Lead for North Carolina fellow.

Based in the School of Government, Lead for North Carolina trains future leaders to address problems facing North Carolinians. Following a three-week training course in Chapel Hill, the trainees are assigned to fellowships with a local government office within the state. The program provides a housing stipend and salary for the fellows’ first year of government service.

Lead for North Carolina is the first state affiliate of Lead for America, which was founded by Carolina alumnus Joe Nail.

“It takes young people with a passion for service and places them in roles where they can have an immediate impact,” said Liam Brailey, a fellow in North Carolina’s Anson County.

The program, Scott said, focuses on connecting recent graduates with rural, Tier 1 communities, which typically struggle to attract young professionals.

“We’re going where the need is greatest,” said Scott, who is working with the Town of Edenton, North Carolina.