What You Need to Know About the Signature Class

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Do you have questions about the Signature Class? Whether you’re interested in applying for the Signature Class or want to share the opportunity with a friend or colleague, we’re here to answer your questions about the program and application process! If you don’t find your answer here, let us know.

What is the Leadership Springfield Signature Class?

The Leadership Springfield Signature Class is a nationally recognized 9-month community leadership program for area professionals of all ages and stages. For 38 years, our flagship program has been unlocking leadership potential in our community and plugging in people to meet real needs in Springfield.

  • The Signature Class has provided opportunities for local leaders to grow in leadership development and community engagement, gain a unique awareness of their own strengths and recognize that they can make an impact where their strengths, passions, and community needs meet. The curriculum includes extensive leadership development, adeep dive exploration of major industries and areas of the community through the lens of the Community Focus Report, and strengths-based leadership training. As a member of the national Association of Leadership Programs (ALP), we employ a community leadership framework model to equip program participants with tools to frame ideas, mobilize resources, and build social capital. The program seeks to inspire, develop, and connect leaders to serve the Springfield community.  

Who should apply for the Signature Class?

Anyone who is in a leadership position (or aspires to be) in their workplace, volunteer organization, or the community at large. The Signature Class application is open to anyone in the Springfield metropolitan region who wants to become a better leader and tangibly contribute to our community.

  • Each Leadership Springfield class is carefully selected to be inclusive of professional background, leadership experience, race, gender, and industry. Classes are representative of our community and include participants who represent large and small businesses, people who are self-employed, nonprofit staff, and community volunteers.
  • Applications open every January for the program that starts the following September.

How do you select participants?

All applications are evaluated by a selection committee. All applications are reviewed for a commitment to personal and professional growth, improving business and community connections, and enhancing the quality of life for all. 

  • Based on the highly competitive nature of the program, applying to Leadership Springfield can be a multi-year process. A limited number of applicants are selected for each class. Therefore, if your application is not accepted this program year, we encourage you to re-apply. We value your time, interest, and leadership! 

What do I need to submit with my application?

The application consists of a series of essay questions. You’ll also need to upload your current resume and pay the application fee. Once you start your application, you can save it and continue working on it later. 

  • A non-refundable application fee is required to process your application. The early bird application fee is $50. Application fees received after the early bird deadline will be $65. All application fees must be received by the final deadline to be considered.

What is the time commitment of the Signature Class?

The Signature Class requires you to be present for 10 total workdays from September 2024 through May 2025. This experience and success in this program require significant time dedication and participation from each class member.

  • Many local employers allow their staff who are accepted into the Signature Class to attend program days without using their time off or sick days. They recognize that your involvement in Leadership Springfield not only enriches you as an employee but also the organization as a whole. 
  • The Launch Retreat: The program begins with a two-day retreat in September with overnight lodging included in your tuition. Emergency absences are not permitted for the retreats, as they are mandatory for participation in the program. 
  • Program Days: Classes meet for all-day “Program Days” one day each month from October through April. Class members are allowed to miss up to a total of 8 hours during program days (in case of emergency). 
  • The Impact Retreat: A second one-day, 12-hour retreat is held in May. Attendance at this retreat is also required in order to graduate. 
  • Graduation: A special graduation event concludes the class in June.

How much does it cost?

Leadership Springfield tuition for Classes 47 & 48 is $2,950 and is due by July 31, 2024.

  • In order to keep the cost to a minimum for the participants, the program obtains sponsorships from the business community for each of the program days, retreats, and graduation  

What does tuition include?

Tuition and sponsorships together cover program costs including two retreats, lodging for the fall retreat, facilitator costs, materials, meals at each retreat and program day, technology, and any transportation provided. 

  • Graduates of Leadership Springfield’s Signature Class can claim graduate-level college credit for their experiences in the intensive nine-month program – at no additional cost. Drury University offers Signature Class graduates (beginning with Signature Class 29) up to six hours of academic credit toward the Master of Nonprofit and Civic Leadership, the Master of Arts in Communication, or the Master of Public Safety degrees, which are 30 credit-hour programs. Read more about the benefits of the Signature Class here. 
  • Your tuition also includes one year of alumni membership! Leadership Springfield celebrates more than 3,000 alumni spanning over three decades. These informed and highly engaged leaders are movers and shakers changing the world. As an Alumni Member, you will receive ongoing opportunities to remain inspired, developed, and connected for years to come! See more about our member benefits here

If I change my mind, can I get a refund?

Yes, if you change your mind and drop out of the program before July 31, a refund will be provided (minus a $150 administrative fee).

  • There will be no refunds after July 31, 2024. Due to the competitive nature of the program, if you don’t pay tuition or set up a payment plan by July 31, we will select an alternate for the class.

Are there scholarships available?

Yes! Scholarships are available through the Leadership Springfield Scholarship Fund.

  • These are awarded based on a need basis to a limited number of participants and are subject to the availability of funds. Scholarships can cover between 25% to 75% of the total tuition cost depending on the need and funds available. Scholarship requests are reviewed thoroughly for demonstrated need. Submitting a request for scholarship assistance will not affect the class selection, as classes are selected prior to scholarship awards. 

You can find more information about the program here.

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