Leadership Harlan County United, a training and technical assistance program that builds Harlan County teams of emerging leaders from differing boundaries of class, ethnicity and geography, is now seeking applicants from those persons interested in attending a retreat and six day-long training seminars during a seven month period.
Jeremy Williams, LHCU chair, said LHCU began in 1997 as part of the Rural Community College Initiative through Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. He said the objective was to create a strong leadership base in the county by working with current leaders and “giving them ammunition to go on — go out into their workplaces and communities to work on things and also to train new leaders.”
“The academy curriculum weaves together topics crucial to the development of the community such as education, economic development, environment, health and social services, government and other core components,” said Williams. “Key leadership skills are integrated into each session. It starts in April and ends in October. We meet on the third Wednesday of each month, for those seven months, usually at 9 a.m. and ending at 3:30 p.m.
“We go across the county showing different areas of the county to participants allowing them to see what happens behind the scenes at places like Pine Mountain Settlement School, the hospital, things in Benham, Wallins, all across the county. Everything in LHCU is about learning about Harlan County. It encourages group participation through community enhancement projects.”
Williams said LHCU is a guild of 250 alumni. He added Leadership East Kentucky is a spin off of LHCU and is now a leadership program for eastern Kentucky.
“Leadership Bell County is another program that split off LHCU,” said Williams. “We now need help for LHCU… Unfortunately, we didn’t have a class this year due to a lack of enrollees. We’ve always set a cap and we didn’t meet that goal. So, we chose not to have a class. At that time, we were the longest continuous running leadership program in the state. Unfortunately, we have now lost that. We’re going to begin next year to revive LHCU again. I need your support. I’m asking you, as business leaders to help us recruit individuals.”
Williams ended by telling members of the chamber “having strong leaders, that LHCU can provide, will make Harlan County strong.”
The application fee is $150, but scholarships are available, Williams said. For more information, you may contact Williams at 606-573-4464.
Nola Sizemore may be reached at 606-573-4510 or on Twitter @Nola_hde