Connect was established in 2005 in response to a growing community’s desire to attract and retain young professionals by educating them about the Huntsville/Madison County community and engaging these young leaders to get involved. Specifically designed for young professionals under the age of 40, Connect is designed to help participants enhance their community connections and involvement. The program challenges and enhances skills sets of participants to help them see their potential as a leader in their career field and the community.
"As a graduate and now a volunteer, I have witnessed and experienced how Connect shapes and changes lives. I have seen how ordinary individuals, with a sense of community service and a desire to give back, have realized that they have the power to be change agents in our community. Once that force is unleashed, great things happen and the character and strength of our community continues to be enhanced because of Connect."
-David Little, BlueCreek Investment Partners, Connect 10, Impact 3
The Connect program runs May through November with participants meeting one or two times per month. Young professionals are exposed to exemplary leaders from the major sectors of Huntsville and Madison County. Program topics include Economic Base, Judicial/Law Enforcement, Local, State and Federal Governments, Local, State History and Growth, Simulated Society, Healthcare, Education, Human Services and Quality of Life. "Service Leadership" principles have been integrated into every program day and to expand on this goal, small-group projects are completed throughout the year to immediately impact change.
Connect recruits young professionals under 40 from every sector in the community. Class members are selected by a committee of Connect graduates , local leaders and Leadership Huntsville/Madison County Board Members. Selection is based on high standards of personal integrity, record of achievement in community activities, desire to increase community involvement, the ability to set and attain goals as demonstrated by significant career/personal /community achievement, and the commitment of necessary time and effort to complete the program. Connect classes usually include 35 to 40 participants representing a cross-section of the population.