Academy Illustration by Julia Rothman

Arena Academy is a low-cost, multi-disciplinary political training program that is the first step in our four-part talent pipeline.

We need staffers that reflect the diversity of our communities to build winning progressive campaigns. But the campaign staff we need find politics inaccessible and risky.

There are many innate challenges in campaign work: It is seasonal, hierarchical, fast-paced, and low- paid. Staffers often lack the training, coaching, and connections to run and assist successful campaigns.

To address these issues, Arena recruits and invests in a diverse talent pool to participate in five-day immersive trainings that prepare graduates for life on campaigns. And we engage best-in-class trainers and connect graduates to opportunities and mentors.

The application for the March Arena Academy is now closed. The next Arena Academy will be June 10 – 14, and the application will launch soon.

Arena Academy Tracks

At the Academy, we offer seven tracks. Participants attend some plenaries and some track-specific courses. And the tracks allow attendees to pick an area of focus. Read through the tracks below to decide which you want to apply for.

Campaign Manager

Campaign Managers sit at the heart of every campaign, managing a wide range of people and projects to achieve victory. It is uniquely exhilarating and hard work, and this track will equip you with the foundational knowledge you need to run a smart, progressive campaign this cycle. (And improve upon them in the future.)

This track walks through every part of a campaign, from creating a pathway to victory, to budget, finance, communications, and more. In each session, you’ll gain the skills and knowledge you need to pull it all together into a winning campaign plan. Because this track assumes a basic level of campaign knowledge, it is best suited for those with prior campaign experience, though, relevant transferable experience is considered when reviewing applications.

Communications

This track is for you if you are looking to step into a role crafting a campaign’s core messaging, running the press shop, and directing rapid response. You’ll learn how to tell your candidate’s story and the story of what’s happening on the campaign to the press.

We believe that great communications professionals are excellent storytellers and calculated strategists. Whether you’ve worked on a campaign before or have transferable skills from another industry, this track will give you the practice and the tangible skills you need to help campaigns communicate their message.

Data

Our philosophy is that data should be actionable and drive people-focused campaign strategies. The data track teaches the necessary technical skills needed to analyze large data sets in an electoral campaign context. This is an immersive experience where you will get an opportunity to write code (maybe your first line of code) and work with a team to incorporate analysis that informs a winning campaign plan.

This track gives foundational knowledge for how campaigns work and use data, which is perfect for anyone looking to break into data within electoral politics. This track is also great for data-minded campaigners in non-data roles looking to level up their data know-how.

Digital

This track is for you if you love storytelling, analytics, writing, and using the internet to organize and mobilize communities. You’ll gain the know-how and skills to build and run a digital program on a campaign. From digital ads, digital fundraising to digital organizing, we’ll cover the 50,000-foot view and nitty-gritty of this ever-evolving field. You’ll end the course with a better understanding of how to use the internet to win elections and how to think like a digi pro.

Working in digital on a campaign can mean many different things. This track will give you the foundational knowledge for how campaigns work and a better understanding of the kinds of digital roles out there and what you need to do to break into the digital space in electoral politics. This track is also great for digital-minded campaigners in non-digital roles looking to level up their digital know-how.

Finance

The finance department raises the money that powers all other aspects of campaign operations. In this track, you’ll learn how to cultivate donors, manage call-time, make a strong fundraising ask, and raise money online. From writing a finance plan to writing a fundraising email, we’ll cover both the strategy and details of a successful finance department.

This track is for you if you like the idea of building high powered networks and managing their capacity to fund a robust campaign.

Organizer

Many campaign professionals get their start as organizers on campaigns. At Arena, we believe the best organizers come from all walks of life and bring a deep passion for their community to this work. Organizers are the frontline of a campaign, connecting to voters digitally and in-person and creating teams of dedicated volunteers to scale and amplify the campaign’s efforts.

This track will teach you the skills you need to be a successful organizer in a digital world. You’ll learn how to develop and manage teams of volunteers to amplify the campaign’s message and move voters to the polls to vote for your candidate. If you’re new to politics, the organizer track is a great place to start.

Organizing Director

You must have served at least one cycle as an organizer—on a campaign or in any advocacy, electoral, or community-based organization—to be considered for this track. Organizing Directors set the strategy for the organizing program and lead teams of organizers and volunteers to meet goals. Organizing Directors are both compassionate people-managers and goals-driven data nerds.

This track is for you if you are looking to step into a role managing the organizing program of a campaign. You’ll learn how to target voters, build voter universes, establish metrics and goals, and manage a team of organizers to persuade and turnout voters.

Sign up for an alert when Arena announces its next training.

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Our Results

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Number of graduates to-date
0 %
Received full or partial scholarships
0
graduates placed on campaigns, not
including those already working on
campaigns when they attended.

5,277 people have graduated from eight Arena Academies. These graduates come from 48 states and territories. The majority of graduates are women and people of color.

Trainers

Addisu Demissie

Campaign Manager, Cory Booker 2020 Arena Campaign Manager trainer

DeJuana Thompson

Partner, Think Rubix & Woke Vote Arena keynote speaker, Organizer and Organizing Director trainer

Dr. Kira Hudson Banks

Associate Professor, Saint Louis University Arena Unconscious Bias trainer

Christina Reynolds

P of Communications, EMILY’s List Arena Communications Director trainer

Luis Ávila

Founder, Iconico & AZ State Director, Organizing Together 2020 Organizer & Organizing Director trainer

Addisu Demissie

Campaign Manager, Cory Booker 2020 Arena Campaign Manager trainer

DeJuana Thompson

Partner, Think Rubix & Woke Vote Arena keynote speaker, Organizer and Organizing Director trainer

Dr. Kira Hudson Banks

Associate Professor, Saint Louis University Arena Unconscious Bias trainer

Christina Reynolds

P of Communications, EMILY’s List Arena Communications Director trainer

Luis Ávila

Founder, Iconico & AZ State Director, Organizing Together 2020 Organizer & Organizing Director trainer
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By providing your cell phone number you consent to receive periodic updates from Arena, including automated text messages and phone calls. Txt HELP for help, STOP to end. Msg & Data rates may apply. See our Privacy Policy.

Stay up to date with news and resources from the Arena community

By providing your cell phone number you consent to receive periodic updates from Arena, including automated text messages and phone calls. Txt HELP for help, STOP to end. Msg & Data rates may apply. See our Privacy Policy.