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Coro Fellows Program And UMSL To Restart Effort Aimed At Boosting Racial Equity

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St. Louis Coro Fellowship Program
The St. Louis Coro Fellows Program prepares young professionals to having them work in public policy, business, biotechnology and nonprofit agencies.

The St. Louis Coro Fellows Program will relaunch its leadership training initiative next fall in a partnership the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

The program is designed to boost racial equity at local public service organizations, government entities, nonprofits and businesses through community-based leadership training.

“The Coro fellowship is more relevant than ever because it promotes a strong democracy by ensuring that everyone's voice is heard, so racial equity is a big piece of that,” said Colin Dale, interim director of St. Louis Coro Fellows Program. “Having the tool sets and the relationships to facilitate those conversations and to understand the complexity of the issues that our region faces are all things that the Coro fellowship prepares leaders to do.”

The Coro Fellows Program launched in San Francisco in the 1940s and expanded to St. Louis nearly 50 years ago. The program was a part of FOCUS St. Louis until 2019.

In August, 12 fellows will begin working for nine months with various organizations on projects of interest. Previous fellows worked with community leaders in public policy, business, biotechnology and nonprofit agencies.

Dale said the fellowship program can be a driving force in the region to promote economic development and equity.

The fellows will help local businesses and organizations build civic engagement and expose the young professionals to challenges the region faces along the racial equity lines, said Paul Sorenson, interim director of UMSL’s Community Innovation and Action Center.

“We're hoping that it both builds individual leadership skills as well as a deep understanding of St. Louis and some of the things that are needed to move our community forward,” Sorenson said.

The program aims to raise $350,000 to support programming, fees and fellow stipends.

People have until Jan. 7 to apply. The fellowship program begins on Aug. 21.

Follow Andrea on Twitter: @drebjournalist

Andrea covers race, identity & culture at St. Louis Public Radio.

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