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Do you have Spring or Summer plans?  Would you like an opportunity to combine academics with practical experience?  Consider DCLI!

The Jerry J. Dawson Civic Leadership Institute (DCLI) is a strategic, long-term initiative that encourages students in the Decatur Public Schools to pursue career options that benefit their community. DCLI activities tie civic responsibility to job opportunities in law enforcement, healthcare, local governance, social entrepreneurship and education. A focus on personal values empowers students to understand how personal decisions affect their own lives and those of others. DCLI programming incorporates paid internships and connections to prospective employers. Graduates who are substantially invested in the program are eligible to access financial support for continuing education at Richland Community College.


Below is a brief description of programming that will be offered during spring and summer of 2022.  All programming is open Decatur Public School District 61 students.

Read About DCLI Programs Below



Want to learn more about a career in healthcare?

DCLI High School Health Professions Club provides an opportunity for high school students interested in healthcare to meet healthcare professionals in a variety of areas.  The High School Health Professions Club will provide job shadowing at our local hospitals a well as internships and volunteer opportunities within the hospital.  Students who are participants in the Health Professions Club will receive priority in applying for DCLI Residential CNA Program. Collaboration with Memorial Health Systems and HSHS St. Mary’s.

certified cna program

Are you considering going into the Healthcare field?

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

The DCLI six-week Residential CNA Program begins in mid-June and ends at the end of July. Participants must be a minimum of 16 years of age and prepared to reside with seven other participants for the duration of the program.  Proof of Covid Vaccination will be required to participate as well as other required immunizations.


dcli college scholars

dcli summer internship program

Are you graduating this year?  Have you considered a career in healthcare, law enforcement or education?

Decatur Public School high school seniors who are interested in majoring in one of the five pillar areas of DCLI and attending Richland Community College is eligible to apply to become a DCLI College Scholar.  DCLI College Scholars are required to (1) continue engagement with the Institute; (2) gain hands-on experience through an internship/employment in the field of interest and (3) maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0.

Want to work? Internship Possibilities Are Just What You Need

The DCLI Summer Internship Program is a 9-week full-time paid internship program for high school juniors and seniors.  The goal of the internship program is linked to the mission of DCLI which is a “long-term initiative that encourages students in the Decatur Public Schools to pursue career options that benefit their community. DCLI activities tie civic responsibility to job opportunities in public safety, healthcare, local governance, social entrepreneurship and education.”


Ice House Entrepreneurship Program

Female Student
Do you have the entrepreneurial spririt?

The Ice House Entrepreneurship Program for middle school students who are interested in building businesses or developing an entrepreneurial mindset.  Ice House Entrepreneurship program will be guided by eight core principles and will conclude with workshops on business development. The Ice House Entrepreneurship Program will be offered during summer for high school students as a college course for credit through Richland Community College.  Collaboration with both: Richland Community college and the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative (ELI).

DCLI Phlebotomy program

Interested in a Phlebotomy career?

DCLI will offer a summer Phlebotomy Program. Participants must be high school graduates to participate.


ladies leadership initiative

Do you have what it takes to be a young leader in your community?

The Young Ladies Leadership Initiative is a leadership program specifically designed for high school young ladies.  The Ladies Leadership Initiative is a mentorship program that will focus on built on establishing skills in academics, language and communication, commitment to community and service, appearance and attire and health and wellness.

law enforcement initiative

Want to learn more about how public safety impacts the community?

DCLI Public Safety Pillar will launch with the goal of engaging in activities that expand our scope of understanding of public safety and the impact on our community and our lives.  In the Public Safety Initiative – there will be workshops on physical fitness, mental wellness, policing the community, traffic stop simulations, etc.  This initiative will be a public safety experience unlike any other.  Collaboration with Macon County Law Enforcement Training Center, Decatur Police Department and Richland Community College.

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