Lumina News file photo
Students Bob Wallen, front, and Richard Pfeiffer look over their course materials as Dennis Ihnat, left, and Mark Francolini, New Hanover County Human Resources and Community Relations Department director and manager, respectively, prepare for the first night of the Citizens in Action program at the NHC Government Building on Jan. 26, 2012.
Third annual Citizen’s Academy deadline approaches
Applications are now being accepted for the next New Hanover County Citizen’s Academy, which will begin Jan. 24. The 10-week course, held Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m., is designed to help educate participants about the variety of services provided by NHC departments.
NHC human resources specialist, Tracy Dawson, said that this is the academy’s third year, and even though she has worked for the county for five years longer, she still finds the classes enlightening.
“You get different details about what the county does,” Dawson said. “You see where your tax dollars are going and what services those tax dollars are paying for, and why they’re important.”
Each week, students will be presented with information about New Hanover County and tour various county facilities. They will also hear from various departments regarding planning and inspections, the sheriff’s department, public safety, community justice services and so on.
“Every department has a night and sometimes it’s shared with another group,” Dawson said. “The public safety night is always a really interesting one. I think that even really informed citizens don’t realize the scope of what we do. … You really get a lot of details.”
Dawson said she has observed people who have come in with preconceived notions of county operations and often have a change of heart when they leave the sessions.
“Another [class] that I think really changes people’s perspective is the social service night,” she said. “They have their own night because they have so many different programs.”
“The Citizen’s Academy is just a great way for citizens to be involved in their community,” Dawson said. “They get to interact with the other participants, but also get to meet several people from each department … so you kind of have a contact for the future if there is anything that you need.”
With limited seating for about 30, applicants must be at least 18 years old and submit a $25 fee. If demand exceeds the spaces available, applicants will be placed on a waiting list for the next Citizen’s Academy. Applications should be emailed or postmarked by Jan. 11, and are available at www.nhcgov.com.
For more information, email CIA@nhcgov.com or call New Hanover County Human Resources at 910-798-7178.