Last month, six young adults gathered with OC staff at Talon Point Retreat Center near Channing, TX, to launch the Homecoming Learning Cohort. This pilot group was joined by 3 others who could not make the Retreat–all of them alumni of OC’s Community Intern and Apprentice Program, who are now seeking to increase their place-based skills during a 1 or 2-year time frame. The goal of the Learning Cohort is to strengthen and increase “home-coming” practices based on five core competencies:
1) Career/enterprise strategic planning & monitoring
2) Financial planning & stability
3) Community leadership/civic engagement
4) Health and sustainability
5) Networking & marketing via digital technology
The 12-month learning curriculum includes a bi-monthly Skype call focusing on one of the 5 competencies; as well as 8 coaching calls during the intervening months. Throughout the process, each Cohort learner will be working on a learning project that contributes directly to their career development, while also demonstrating measurable outcomes that can be documented.
OC’s vision for the Homecoming Learning Cohort is that Community Intern & Apprentice alumni who started out by gaining work experience, can acquire additional skills and knowledge in order to return to their hometowns, or to communities where they chose to become citizen/leaders. In this way, the Cohort serves a basic tenet of Ogallala Commons’ mission: to reinvigorate communities in the Great Plains region in ways that are socially, ecologically, and economically sustainable.
Cohort Learners (l-r on top photo): Angelo McHorse, Becky Hopp, Beto Rincon, Shelby Thibodeaux, Tiana Suazo, Justin Trammell, (l-r on bottom photo): Ali Loker, Delissa Villa, and Donna Raef.