As the Westside Leadership Institute (WLI) celebrates 15 years of success building leadership skills among residents on Salt Lake City’s west side, the collaborating organizations behind it seek to increase the institute’s wrap-around services by expanding its length and breadth into a year-long leadership pathway. The new design will better guide and support leaders and their fledgling projects as they launch, grow, and thrive.
The original 12-week program, a partnership between UNP, NeighborWorks Salt Lake, and the University of Utah, cultivates leadership abilities so graduates have the knowledge, skills, and resources to work on community projects or issues affecting Salt Lake City’s west side. The course is geared toward individuals and groups who have community-based projects that they want to materialize with expert advice and guidance while earning 3 University of Utah CE credit hours. Course graduates become eligible for $1,000 grants. Notable projects developed during the WLI include the West View Media, the Tapu Podcast, the Pacific Island Knowledge 2 Action Resources, and the Westside Coalition.
The Westside Leadership Institute is currently offering two concurrent classes in English and in Spanish during the spring semester, will host a series of summer workshops, and a brand new “Westside Leadership Institute Startup” course during the fall semester. The summer workshops will provide continuing education for students on how to organize, manage, and sustain their projects, while the WLI Startup course offering will connect UNP’s current startup incubator partnership to WLI graduate groups in strategic planning, organization, resource development, scale, and measuring impact.
This new structure combined with additional education and support increases the sustainability of projects from the course and within the community. Students will become a cohort of community leaders on the same trajectory, coordinated with the annual cycle of outreach and grant seeking, guided and supported by experts.
Content provided by Saolo Manumaleuga-Utu, UNP’s Community Leadership Partnership Manager