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The goal of the Kennebec Leadership Institute (KLI) is to assure a continuing flow of able, committed and resourceful leaders to serve our communities. As the oldest leadership program in the state, KLI draws prospective leaders from a wide cross-section of businesses, organizations and the community at large. Its purpose is to inspire these promising individuals to work more effectively within their own spheres of influence while expanding their civic and community participation. 

2022 KLI Application 


What is the Kennebec Leadership Institute?
KLI is the oldest leadership program in the state of Maine

The program was designed to:

  • Promote the development of critical skills needed by future leaders through interactive workshops, assignments and community interaction
  • Build the motivation of participants to assume responsible leadership positions in business, civic and community organizations in the Kennebec Valley
  • Build awareness among future leaders of the diversity, strengths, resources and concerns of the Kennebec Valley
  • Establish a network of capable, committed leaders ready to take on new challenges and opportunities in the ever-changing business and community life of the Kennebec Valley

KLI seeks to foster a network of leaders who are committed to understanding and improving the Kennebec Valley. Past graduates have successfully run for office, gained promotion in their companies, served on boards of directors throughout the community, started their own business in the community and chaired a myriad of civic and community groups.

A Hybrid KLI Program

KLI seeks to foster a network of leaders who are committed to understanding and improving the Kennebec Valley. The connections made in the program are a crucial to your experience and learning. With Governor Mills’ plan to Restart Maine’s Economy in mind, KLI will be conducted in a hybrid model that still allows for these connections to be made, both with your fellow classmates as well as the community leaders who have volunteered to play a part in the program.


Click here to view the full program overview.

Every session is mandatory and any absence will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Time Commitment

The program consists of 14- weeks of instruction. 

Who should participate?
Over 600 alumni have already benefited from KLI

The Kennebec Leadership Institute is open to individuals who live or work in the Kennebec Valley. Anyone with an interest in community betterment is welcome to apply. Applicants do not need to currently be in a leadership position. The only requirement is a sincere commitment from the employee and employer to building skills and knowledge, and to becoming a more active participant in the future of the Kennebec Valley.

Participants must commit to participating and completing all program requirements during the 14-week program including:

What role does the participant’s manager play?
A manager’s support and coaching is the key to employee growth

The research is clear: the number one success factor is building an employee’s skills is the involvement of the direct supervisor. This is especially true when the employee participates in a formal offsite training program. Skills building does not end in the classroom – it begins there. That’s why the Kennebec Leadership Institute offers a unique feature that most programs do not: easy-to-use coaching guides for the participant’s direct manager to use both before and after an employee attends a workshop.

Why does this guidance matter?

For the participant

  • Increased motivation and commitment
  • Better retention and understanding of the skills learned in class
  • Increased likelihood that the participant will use what was learned

For the manager (and the participant’s organization)

  • Valuable insight into the participant’s character, skills, work ethic and potential
  • More skilled employees
  • Better coaching and communication skills for the manager
  • Better employee retention – employees who feel invested in are more likely to stay with their organization

What will the participant’s manager do?

Managers will receive a Coaching Guide for each workshop. Here is what the participant’s direct manager, supervisor or coach is expected to do to make sure the employee gets the full benefit of the program:

✓ Before each leadership skill building workshop, have a quick but targeted conversation with the employee to discuss expectations and possible skills gaps. Managers will receive a step-by-step coaching guide for this conversation. Make sure the employee has completed all pre-workshop activities.

✓ After each workshop, debrief the participant on what he or she learned and how he or she intends to put this learning into action. Coach and encourage the employee as she or he practices these new skills!

How do I apply?

Tuition for the 2022 Kennebec Leadership Institute is $1,400. Partial scholarships may be available; call the Chamber of Commerce for details. Meals for full-day workshops are included; please contact the Chamber in advance concerning any dietary needs or restrictions.

Thank you to our Kennebec Leadership Institute Sponsors!

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