Central to organizing with the Industrial Areas Foundation is an ongoing cycle of learning linked to leadership development. Mentoring of individual leaders, skill building internal to member institutions, and learning opportunities within the local broad based organization (as well as at the regional, statewide and national levels) are all a part of what IAF embodies as a network committed to building a flexible, growing school of public life.
IAF National Training is generally one week in the summer, sponsored by the National IAF in different parts of the country and our premier training opportunity. Regional Leadership Training is generally 5 days, sponsored by the West / Southwest region of the IAF in November (between Election Day and Thanksgiving) and an excellent introduction to national training. These trainings assume a special prominence due to their depth, integration of key concepts and focus on habits and practices central to successful organization building at all levels.
Experienced professional IAF organizers lead the sessions and depending on the make up and preference of the participants, trainings can be and have been held in Spanish and English.
These extensive trainings are for key clergy, staff and laity of member congregations as well as the staff, board and members of non-profit organizations who are members of or who are building broad-based IAF organizations.
The curriculum includes how to: understand power; discover and act on the interests of your institution; identify and develop sustainable leadership; think and act strategically; and most important, how to engage in real conversations about the mission and democratic action of your institution- including the ability to discuss, argue, negotiate and compromise- while forming and maintaining collaborative relationships that ultimately lead to action.
In small groups as well as in larger plenary sessions, and using a variety of teaching modalities (i.e. lecture, role plays, reading and discussion, case-studies, hands-on practice, individual reflection, experience of a local action, etc.) participants will experience what it is like to think conceptually about their own leadership and the mission of their institutions as well as learning and practicing the skills necessary to build broad-based organizations through which their institutions can act on their values and interests in the world.
Criteria for Participation
IAF has important criteria for participating in National Training. Participants need to be involved in or interested in engaging with or building a local IAF organizing effort and need to have a minimum of 6 months experience in their organizations. They have to be interested in their own development and the development of others and able to take part in small and large group session that generally take place in morning, afternoon and evening clusters, with ample time for rest, reflection and integration. Workshops and training sessions build on each other so it is necessary that participants are able to stay from the beginning to the end (barring illness or emergency, of course) and be committed to practicing what they have learned within their institutions.