About the Community Learning Partnership

Contributing to transformative community and social change

Our Mission

CLP is contributing to building a stronger and more equitable democracy.

The Community Learning Partnership (CLP) contributes to transformative social change by strengthening the workforce of credentialed, knowledgeable organizers, and skilled leaders from and for low income communities, communities of color, and immigrant communities.

Community change learn-and-earn career pathways prepare students to create systemic change in local communities. Students tackle issues of structural racism, poverty, public and community health, clean energy planning and development, climate change, immigration, community development and prepare for careers providing critical services to immigrant communities.

Our Founding

The Community Learning Partnership (CLP) was co-founded in 2010 by Andy Mott and Denise Fairchild to build educational pathways by partnering with community colleges as an untapped resource for growing leaders and organizers from communities directly impacted by systemic injustices.

The long-term vision was to address the severe shortage of community organizers the founders saw hindering grassroots groups and other organizations from effectively tackling issues of poverty, structural racism, and social justice.

Our Vision and Values

We envision a multi-ethnic, multi-racial, equitable and sustainable society where justice and equity triumphs over exploitation.

To achieve a just, humane and healthy world, it is essential that people, particularly marginalized youth and communities of color, be actively involved in determining the conditions that shape and affect their lives – and the structures, policies, and practices that support those conditions.

CLP embraces, individually and collectively, a continuing mandate to consciously operate from principles that are inclusive, participatory and respectful of the diverse and life-serving practices among all individuals and communities, especially our youth.

These core beliefs guide our work:

Every human being deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. All people have the capacity to learn and to grow. Continuous learning and growth happens best within the context of compassionate, holistic, diverse and safe environments.

Bringing about the changes needed for more just and humane systems requires building the power of youth and communities who have been most marginalized from democracy to be at the forefront of civic engagement campaigns.

Issues of race, class, national origin, gender, sexuality, disability and immigration status must be addressed as primary and integral parts of social justice and full democratic participation.

Education is a fundamental human right. Government has an obligation to provide accessible educational pathways that invest in developing local leadership that fosters social responsibility and civic engagement in all communities, especially in communities that have endured injustice and inequity.

Investing in the leadership of historically marginalized youth and their communities is essential to building and sustaining an inclusive and integrated (bottom-up, top-down), social justice movement and participatory democracy.

We partner with allies who demonstrate the capacity to work effectively and respectfully with people from diverse communities as a necessary part of establishing a partnership.

What makes programs in the CLP Network unique?

CLP programs encompass these seven key elements:


CLP builds partnerships among community colleges/public 4-year universities, social justice and grassroots organizations, and community leaders who work together to create community change career pathways.


CLP prepares youth and adults, including students with low incomes, people of color, immigrants, Opportunity Youth, individuals impacted by the criminal legal system and students who wish to enter careers in community change across diverse social justice issues.

Unique Academic Credential

CLP students receive a certificate and/or degree (minor or major), or community-based training in a community change career pathway. CLP academic programs are designed to build the leadership and organizing capacity of people who have been directly impacted by injustice.

Recognizing Lived Experience

CLP programs offer academic curricula or community-based training co-designed with local and national partners and co-grounded in the lived experience of students and their communities and recognizing that experience as an asset.

Skill Development

CLP students gain skills in community organizing, advocacy, leadership and development.

Work-Based Learning

CLP students gain invaluable experience by doing meaningful community change work with local partners working on a variety of issues important to the students and their communities.

Robust Student Supports

CLP students receive ongoing academic and social-emotional support, mentoring, and leadership development opportunities.

Our Impact

Thousands of CLP students and alumni in communities across the country are contributing their vision for a new world, their belief in their ability to change things, and their leadership and organizing skills to create communities that are just, equitable, and humane.

Over 800 students have graduated from CLP programs with completed community leadership credentials.
Close to 4,000 have completed core CLP classes over the past eight years.
Over 100 community-based organizations currently partner with CLP as hosts for paid work learning opportunities and gain access to influential guest speakers.

“I am so proud to have the California Youth Leadership Corps at De Anza College. This program is providing learning opportunities and career pathways for people in our community who never thought they could go to college or get a well-paying job serving their communities.” – Dr. Lloyd Holmes, President, De Anza College 

A majority of CLP alumni go on to careers where they contribute to community change working in nonprofit organizations, local government, and educational institutions. Some have started local businesses that contribute to community-controlled economic development. Others found nonprofits.

Alumni Have Entered Community Change Careers In:

Meet Our Alums!

See where they are on their pathway as a
community change agent.

Staci Lowry

Southeast MI alum Staci Lowry founded Black Unicorn to provide consulting in grassroots organizing and movement building.

Say Yang

Minneapolis alum Say Yang is a Senior Program Advisor at the Center for Earth Energy and Democracy where she supports community development and civic participation in the Twin Cities.

Edward Garcia

CCNY alum Edward Garcia is director of Housing Justice & Community Development at the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, where he leads fights for economic justice in the Bronx.

Mariam Ahmed

DeAnza alum Mariam Ahmed works with a consulting group on political and advocacy campaigns.

Lilah Saber

West Chester University alum Lilah Saber is the organizing director for POWER where she organizes and trains congregations in Northwest Philadelphia to engage in fights for racial and economic justice and develops youth leadership.

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Whether you are a young person interested in community issues, a college, community organization, or funder committed to community change, we would love to hear from you!