Minnesota Young American Leaders Program

Minnesota Young American Leaders Program Logo

The Minnesota Young American Leaders Program is an intensive, two-and-a-half day program at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities convening approximately fifty rising leaders from across business, non-profit organizations and government who are committed to working across sectors to help their communities and our region prosper inclusively. 

Growing from a partnership among the Itasca Project, the University of Minnesota’s Center for Integrative Leadership, and the Harvard Business School, the Program shares themes as well as selected faculty and content with Harvard Business School’s Young American Leaders Program, which includes cohorts from fourteen city cohorts across the nation. The Minnesota Young American Leaders Program provides an opportunity to bring rising leaders together to focus specifically not only on the inclusive economic development of their city, but also on challenges and opportunities of common concern to all generations across our state and region.

The program interweaves case studies, insights from national and Minnesota practitioners of cross-sector leadership, diverse perspectives on our current state economy, and research presentations from scholars of inclusive economic development and the future of work. The 2019 Program took place in November 2019 at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. The 2020-21 Program took place virtually between October 2020 - September 2021. The 2022 Program will take place May 18-20, 2022 at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. 

What Happens at Minnesota YALP?

During the Minnesota Young American Leaders Program participants: 

  • Forge connections with other rising leaders across and within Minnesota’s cities
  • Deepen knowledge and share perspectives regarding the state and trajectory of our national and regional economic development
  • Learn together from examples of and tools for innovative cross-sector collaborations that address key challenges, create opportunity and bridge divides in our communities
  • Work with each other, program alumni, and senior leaders to frame and develop future collaborative initiatives for the good of our region.

2020-21 Program Overview
2020-21 Detailed Schedule

Who Are the Participants?

Participants of the 2020-21 Program came from Duluth, Mankato, and Minneapolis-Saint Paul and participants of the 2019 Program came from Fargo-Moorhead, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Rochester, and Saint Cloud. Each cohort was chosen by a common process convened by selection partner organizations in each of these cities. We are planning to hold the program annually for at least three years and to work with selection partners to nominate and select participants to extend the program’s reach across our state. City selection for the program may vary and is based on a number of factors, including population, economic growth indicators, and institutional presence. 

Participants of the 2022 Program will come from Duluth, Fargo-Moorhead, Mankato, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Rochester, and Saint Cloud.

2022 Cohort

2020-21 Cohort

2019 Cohort

How Do I Apply?

Nominations have been completed for the 2022 Cohort. Nominations will open for the 2023 Cohort in Fall 2022 and the Program is expected to gather cohorts from Duluth, Fargo-Moorhead, Mankato, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Rochester, and Saint Cloud. There are no costs for participants to attend.

When nominating an individual or self-nominating, please keep in mind, we seek individuals who:

  • Have a track record of civic engagement in their city, ideally in cross-sector collaborations. Mere interest or potential is not enough.
  • Have a “runway” for involvement in future cross-sector collaborations. Typically, participants have ranged in age from 30-45, but there have been exceptions made on either end of that window.
  • Are open to new ideas and relationships, are able to bring expertise to bear, and willing to debate tough issues civilly. 
  • Have demonstrated experience working across differences such as race, ideology and sector.

Please email [email protected]

City Partners

Each region has its own local lead organization, which distributions the call for nominations and coordinates the selection process. These partners are:

Duluth - APEX
Fargo-Moorhead - Downtown Moorhead, Inc.
Mankato - Greater Mankato Growth and Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minneapolis-Saint Paul - Itasca Project
Rochester - Destination Medical Center & UMN Rochester
Saint Cloud - Greater Saint Cloud Development Corporation


Itasca Project Logo
Bush Foundation Logo, US Bank Logo
Carlson Family Foundation Logo, Knight Foundation Logo, George Family Foundation Logo
Mortenson Logo, Andersen Logo, Center for Integrative Leadership Logo, Preston Spire Logo