Registration is Open for 4th Annual Paducah Citizens’ Academy

The City of Paducah is accepting registration applications for the fourth annual Paducah Citizens’ Academy, Your Passport to City Government.  If you are interested in participating, complete the Registration Form.  

The Academy offers participants an in-depth look at how government works through an interactive program held on eight Thursday evenings beginning in March.  Topics include form and function of government, parks & recreation, information technology, planning and community development, finance and budget, engineering and public works, and public safety.  The Academy is a mixture of classroom instruction, hands-on activities, site visits, and tours.  Additional information about each session is located on the website.

City Manager Jim Arndt says, “Through interactive activities and interesting conversations, the Citizens’ Academy strengthens our connections with Paducah’s citizens and helps us learn what’s important to them.  It’s exciting to receive the feedback from the participants as they gain greater insight into city government operations and projects.  Our hope is that each graduate will share their knowledge and experience with the community.”

AJ Collins graduated from the Academy in 2019.  Collins says, “The Paducah Citizens’ Academy provides the people of Paducah a unique opportunity to see behind-the-scenes in city government. There are so many moving parts that help the city operate each and every day that it’s easy to take for granted the work that goes into it. Being able to learn from those individuals making decisions and having the chance to share our own perspective really made the experience worth it.  I believe the Citizens’ Academy is a great opportunity for any individual in Paducah, whether you’ve lived here all your life or just recently began calling Paducah home.”

Assistant City Manager Michelle Smolen coordinates the Academy.  Smolen says, “The Citizens’ Academy is an opportunity for participants to get a much closer look at local government operations and make new connections with City staff.  I also hope the participants find an area they are passionate about to get involved with the City.  Previous graduates of the academy have participated on advisory committees and the testing of a city service request mobile app that will be launched soon.”  

“This is another effort the City of Paducah makes to put citizens at the forefront and be open and transparent to the community we serve,” adds Smolen.

The Paducah Citizens’ Academy will be Thursdays 6 until 8 p.m. from March 12 through May 12.  The Academy will not meet April 9 due to spring break for local schools.  A graduation ceremony will be at the May 12 meeting of the Paducah Board of Commissioners with a reception before the meeting.  The program is free to participants; however, class size is limited.  Individuals 16 years of age and older who live, work, or attend school in Paducah-McCracken County are encouraged to apply.

The Paducah Citizens’ Academy is similar in structure to the highly successful Citizens’ Police Academy offered through the Paducah Police Department.  If you have a question, contact Smolen at 270-538-9827 or at

Date of release:  February 12, 2020

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