There’s a lot to be said about women empowering women. It’s something we’ve always put into practice here at the Alliance, for the 24 years that Kaycee Kemper and I have had the privilege of working together!

Kaycee has served as Alliance Vice President since 2015. While she has always been a leader in my eyes, she is currently taking her leadership role to a new level. Behind-the-scenes, she’s been furthering her education for several years. Her work at the Alliance has never skipped a beat, as she juggles and incorporates her course work. In fact, the two are intertwined! And Adams County is benefiting as a result.

First, Kaycee completed her associate degree in Business Administration from Hagerstown Community College this past May. Currently, she’s enrolled in the Applied Community Development Master’s Program at Future Generations University, based in Franklin, West Virginia.

From its base in Appalachia, Future Generations’ goal is to reach other marginalized communities across the world, with their one-of-a-kind, community-based, sustainable development program. I cannot think of a better fit for Kaycee—and Adams County.

“It’s a unique format for learning,” Kaycee explains, “where you marry education with your career by utilizing work projects as your school projects.”

Kaycee’s master’s work is primarily in the arena of workforce development. Likewise, in her Alliance role, she leads our workforce development efforts.

“It’s refreshing to study a topic, apply the concepts in real time, and see the results first-hand,” Kaycee says. “I am a hands-on learner, so this format works perfectly for me. I’m learning so much that applies directly to my daily work focus.”

Kaycee’s classes offer a wonderful world view. Not only is she learning alongside classmates who represent numerous countries, but she will have the opportunity to complete a residential study somewhere around the globe—possibly Bolivia. During this three-week intensive, Kaycee will absorb lessons focused on everything from culture to economy.

“The conversations we share, and the learning that happens from person to person, culture to culture, is something special. I’m not sure I would experience the same dynamic in a traditional graduate school setting,” says Kaycee.

I am so very proud of Kaycee for many reasons! First, she’s representing us (Adams County) within a network of peers from across the world. Kaycee is also learning about community development from international experts—and while this is a fantastic investment in her own future, it’s also an investment that will pay dividends to our beloved Adams County as she adapts and applies them to our very own community context.

Please join me in wishing Kaycee—and Adams County’s future—the very best!