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Applications Open For Second Class Of 'City Council Bootcamp'

cincinnati city hall
Jason Whitman
Cincinnati City Hall

A local think tank is now accepting applications for the second year of an intensive program designed to train people for advocacy or public office. Action Tank's City Council Bootcamp, previously called City Council School, will accept 25 people for the seven-month program.

Co-founder and Executive Director Ioanna Paraskevopoulos says the curriculum will give students opportunities to practice the skills they learn.

"We'll have budget simulations so they can negotiate budgets, we'll have press conference simulations, speeches, just more of the students practicing how to do the work of advocating or legislating."

Paraskevopoulos says City Council Bootcamp is free and open to anyone interested in running for city council in Ohio, or people who want to advocate for local policy changes.

The first cohort of 25 students graduated in February. Paraskevopoulos says they've made some changes to the curriculum for the second year.

"We are drilling down a little harder into ethics, for obvious reasons," she said. "Cincinnati and a lot of other jurisdictions in Ohio have been faced with corruption scandals and we want to equip our students with solid knowledge for how to navigate tricky ethical situations."

The first year was entirely virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Paraskevopoulos says they've chosen to keep the virtual format because it makes the program more accessible. The program will have optional in-person segments, however.

Applications are due by July 9, with a nonrefundable $25 fee. Anyone chosen for City Council Bootcamp will be asked to pay a $150 "seat deposit" that will be refunded at the end of the program.

"Both are waivable with no questions asked," Paraskevopoulos said. "We don't want cost to be a barrier to anyone from participating in the program."

Action Tank is hosting two virtual information sessions about City Council Bootcamp this month:

  • Saturday, June 5 from 3-4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 15 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

The program begins Sept. 11 and ends with a graduation ceremony Feb. 19. 

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.