Clinton Community Fellows program paving career paths, from here to London

CLINTON COUNTY — The first class of the Clinton Community Fellows program debuted 12 years ago in 2010.

The program’s goals are to provide a real professional experience for young professionals, give local businesses/organizations project support and capacity from the fellows, and attract/retain the young professionals in Clinton County, according to its website.

But where are these young professionals now?

The News Journal reached out to previous Fellows, beginning with:

Kelly Crouch, Class of 2014

Crouch, 27, an East Clinton High School graduate, is now a grad student at the London School of Economics in England studying Public Administration.

Through the CC Fellows program, Crouch made life-long connections and received preparation for a career in policy and community development. This happened due to the program “demystifying” how local change happens.

“I had the opportunity to meet mayors, county commissioners, and even elected members of the Ohio Statehouse,” said Crouch. “Getting this community exposure eventually helped me get my first job out of college, which was working at the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission.

“My transition into my new role was made more seamless because of the connections to community leaders I met during my time as a Fellow.”

Crouch worked projects then that included creating a master plan for the Experiential Academy’s campus and creating a vision plan for HealthFirst which helped identify priority areas for grant funding.

Since leaving the Fellows program, a lot has happened. Crouch became a Quaker and has enjoyed integrating faith with public service.

Crouch also helped establish the county land bank and designed pedestrian improvements for downtown Wilmington. “These projects took years to come to fruition but were very satisfying once I started to see tangible results.”

Crouch also got to meet Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg a few months before she passed away.

“The Fellows helped me to solidify Clinton County as a permanent home base for me. It introduced me to friends and mentors who I expect will support and challenge me for the rest of my life,” said Crouch.

And for any future participants in Clinton Community Fellows, Crouch recommended they “take this opportunity to be as creative as possible in your projects.”


By John Hamilton

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Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574