• Community Leadership Academy LogoResources for Independence Logo
Community Leadership Academy Logo

About CLA

Community Leadership Academy attendees
Overview of CLA Resources for Independence, Central Valley has developed the Community Leadership Academy (CLA) out of our consumers' desires to increase leadership and civic engagement among people with disabilities. The CLA trains persons with disabilities to be board members of nonprofits, and members of government councils, commissions and boards. We teach Robert's Rules of Order, reading financial reports, board member duties and responsibilities, broad reviews of the Brown Act and Bagely-Keene Act, and related topics.

Leadership in the Disability Community Of America’s 300 million residents, nearly 50 million have some type of disability, approximately 20% of the population. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, was touted as the first comprehensive civil rights legislation for people with disabilities, and is intended to guarantee social, professional and personal equality for people with disabilities. Yet three decades after its implementation, equal opportunity issues remain. People with disabilities continue to face higher rates of unemployment, lower educational attainment and earn less income when compared to the non-disabled population.

Community Leadership Academy attendees
Purpose of CLAPeople with disabilities make up a significant part of the general population, yet do not have an equal voice in planning, policy and service decisions that are part of healthy community development. Decisions made in every sector – medical, business, financial, transportation, environment, public utilities, social services, etc. – effect the public en mass, no one segment of the population is safe from poor air quality, poverty or ill health. Community leadership, therefore, should be representative of the diverse demographics that make up this country, including people with disabilities.

The intended outcome of the CLA is to increase the number of well trained people with disabilities contributing to their communities by taking active leadership roles through service on local nonprofit boards, and government committees and councils. This one to two month training prepares participants to serve effectively in those roles, and helps to connect the interests and expertise of participants with appropriate service opportunities. The CLA imparts necessary leadership skills through a combination of lecture, guided discussion, guest speakers, hands-on exercises and networking events. Graduates will not only be able to bring the disability perspective into decisions on general public welfare, but will contribute their own unique talents and expertise to the communities in which they serve.

CLA's Scope

There are over 1.57 million “not-for-profit” or “community based organizations” in the U.S., responsible for $1.1 trillion in revenue annually, and over 8.1% of all wages paid nationwide.

This translates to 1 in 10 employees working for a nonprofit.

Further, there are countless government committees and councils in every city and town across the country, making daily decisions on public welfare issues such as the environment, public utilities, and city infrastructure.

Contact Information

3008 North Fresno Street
Fresno, CA 93703
E -mail: info@nationalcla.org
Phone: 1-800-244-2274