cli winners

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership Institute Class of 2023 Awards Non-Traditional Scholarships

Students were recognized during a luncheon at the Mount Wachusett Community College Leominster Campus on May 24

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership Institute (CLI) Class of 2023 recognized the first recipients of the CLI annual scholarship program on May 24 at the Mount Wachusett Community College Leominster Campus.

Seven individuals who are enrolled with MY TURN, an organization that helps people develop their skills, goals and self-confidence through alternative education, post-secondary planning, career exploration and employment training, each received a $2,000 scholarship. The recipients will use the funding to help bridge the financial gap to attend programs in cosmetology, electrical engineering, licensed practical nursing, human services, or toward tuition to attend a community college or four-year university.

“It was an amazing experience working with the CLI members throughout our program year,” said Nicole Conroy, executive director, MY TURN. “The investment in our youth has been priceless and has led to a partnership that will continue into the future, and our students who received the scholarships said they have continued motivation to work hard to reach their goals.”

The event featured remarks from Conroy and Terry Young, manager of talent and education initiatives, North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce. Maria Milagros, an award-winning speaker, award nominated author, TEDx speaker, storyteller and empowerment life coach, provided the keynote address.

The non-traditional scholarships were an outgrowth of a community project undertaken by the CLI Class of 2023. Funding was provided by local companies and individuals as a result of outreach by the CLI Class. The CLI Scholarship Committee, comprised of eight CLI class members, selected the recipients from applications submitted by individuals participating in the MY TURN, Inc. program who did not qualify for traditional scholarships or other funding opportunities.

The Chamber developed the CLI program in 1988 to inspire a new generation of community leaders to enthusiastically assume important roles in their community while motivating participants from diverse backgrounds to be influential in the region’s future. CLI is dedicated to providing participants with individual leadership skills and a deep understanding of the region. Participants are sponsored for the nine-month program by their business and are seen as leaders or potential leaders within their company and community. In addition to the monthly day-long sessions, participants are required to work in teams on different community projects that can have an impact in the region. Previous CLI projects included the creation of a new non-profit organization to help with holiday gifts for families dealing with a loved one’s cancer diagnosis to a project designed to improve the appearance of vacant business windows in a downtown business district to create interest in future business development and community inclusion.

For more information on the Community Leadership Institute, through the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Commerce, please visit or call 978.353.7600, ext. 222. The Chamber is now accepting applications for the Community Leadership Institute Class of 2024.