How to Apply

Our application window VCLA's cohort XXIX, schedule to start in September of 2023, is now closed.

Cohort XXIX Dates (2023-24)

Ventura County Leadership Academy is now accepting applications for our XXIX cohort, starting in September of 2023. Apply today!

  • Orientation Session (Via Zoom) - September 7th (Thurs) at 5:30pm
  • First Session - September 15, 2023
  • Second Session - October 12, 2023 (Thurs)
  • Third Session - November 3, 2023
  • Fourth Session - December 8, 2023
  • Fifth Session - January 12, 2024
  • Sixth Session - February 9, 2024
  • Seventh Session - Sacramento Trip – February 25- 27, 2024 (Sun-Tues)
  • Eighth Session - March 15, 2024
  • Ninth Session - April 12, 2024
  • Tenth Session - May 10, 2024
  • Graduation - May 16, 2024 (Thurs eve)

Ventura County Leadership Academy connects and cultivates a diverse network of passionate, capable leaders through an immersion in both critical issues shaping Ventura County and opportunities for personal and professional growth. VCLA’s comprehensive program ignites awareness and inspiration, helping cohort members discover their individual pathway toward impacting our region.

Specific objectives of Ventura County Leadership Academy are:


a leadership development program incorporating, business, social services, education, community, government, and cultural issues throughout Ventura County;


the awareness, understanding and appreciation of a variety of critical issues affecting life in Ventura County, through contacts with community leaders, and participation in workshops, field studies, and related programs.


the inclusion of diverse groups of individuals;

What to Expect as a VCLA Participant

A unique and engaging experience, Ventura County Leadership Academy brings an unmatched depth of knowledge and local leadership perspective. This program includes:

  • Ten Focus Sessions
    Topics such as p
    ublic safety, social services & healthcare, local government & the legislative process, education, housing & transportation, water & agriculture, economics, arts & culture, environment, infrastructure, and more.
  • Cohort Ice-Breakers and Community Building
    Get to know your fellow Cohort members
  • Leadership Training
  • Community Explorations
    Cohorts are divided into small groups and assigned a community to explore
  • Trip to Sacramento
  • Get Togethers with Cohort and Alumni
    Optional monthly happy hours and annual mixers
  • Graduation Ceremony
    Including certificates of commendation on behalf of VCLA and numerous elected officials

What is expected of you?

Each person who participates in the VCLA brings unique and valuable knowledge, skills, and experience to discussions about our community.  With that in mind, during the time you spend in VCLA sessions, we ask that you:

  • Participate at monthly focus sessions –  Be present and engage in active listening, and consider ideas from different perspectives.  Be open to your blind spots and mindful of the intersectionality of privilege and disadvantage.  Discuss & ask questions of presenters utilizing the "VCLA introduction", and approach challenges from a place of curiosity.
  • Attendance -  Honor time commitments. Each VCLA session is packed with opportunities to learn, engage with our speakers and cohort members.  Because of this, VCLA limits the number of absences to two (2) sessions throughout the program.  Please refer to the session dates before you apply, as should you miss a combined total of more than two sessions, you will not graduate with your cohort.
  • Engage with other cohort members throughout the year. Previous alumni have gone on to organize service projects or volunteer together as a team.

There is a $50 application fee and all applications are due by Friday, May 19, 2023 at 5:00 pm. Interviews are held via Zoom in June of 2023. Once accepted into the VCLA program, a tuition of $2,250 is due before the start of the program. Additional costs (travel, hotel, meals) for the Sacramento session in February are not included in the tuition costs and must be paid individually.

Scholarships are available through our Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and can be applied for once accepted into the program.