BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Bismarck is accepting applications through the month of November for its second class of the Bismarck Citizen Academy.

According to a news release, the Citizen Academy is a hands-on approach to learning about the municipal government that includes walkthroughs of facilities, conversations with city leaders and staff and unique, behind-the-scenes access to Bismarck’s 14 departments.

“The Bismarck Citizen Academy is really an ambitious, first-of-its-kind experience in the state of North Dakota,” said Bismarck Assistant City Administrator Jason Tomanek. “If you want transparency in your local government and to drink from an informational fire hose, this is the way.”

Following feedback from the program’s first class, the 2023 Citizen Academy has been expanded from eight weeks to 12 weeks, and the class size has been increased from 12 participants to 20 participants.

“What we found out with that first class is we needed to give departments more time to share their information,” said Tomanek. “The city’s operations are an involved process and in that first class, I think we found out rather quickly that we were rushing through presentations in order to get everything in. Expanding the Citizen Academy was a natural answer to that challenge.”

Residents, business owners or students in Bismarck interested in participating in the Citizen Academy must meet the following criteria to apply:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be able to attend all sessions
  • One participant per household allowed
  • City employees wishing to apply must receive written department approval

Applications must be submitted online by 11:50 p.m. on November 30.

In December, received applications will be scored and the top 20 scores will be notified of their acceptance to the program. In the event of a scoring tie, applicants will be chosen at random.

The Citizen Academy is scheduled to begin on January 5, 2023.

The final class session will be on Thursday, March 23, 2023, followed by a graduation ceremony during the Bismarck City Commission Meeting on Tuesday, March 28, 2023.

For more information about the Citizen Academy, visit its website.