Applications for The Center’s youth programs are open, deadlines approaching

Published 3:21 pm Monday, January 11, 2021

Applications for all three of The Center for Rural Development’s youth programs are currently open. However, application deadlines are fast approaching.

The Center for Rural Development has three different youth programs targeted towards students in grades 8-11. Rogers Scholars, for current high school sophomores; Rogers Explorers, for current middle school eighth graders; and the Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (ELI), for students in grades 9-11.

Applications for the Rogers Scholars program are due on January 31st at midnight. Rogers Scholars — The Center’s flagship youth program — is open to high school rising juniors in Southern and Eastern Kentucky seeking to build their skills in leadership, entrepreneurship, technology, and community service. Students spend an entire week on a college campus – Lindsey Wilson College and Morehead State University. Through the program, students have access to valuable leadership opportunities and exclusive college scholarship offers from 19 colleges and universities. Students apply during their sophomore year.

Applications for the Rogers Explorers program are due on February 28th at midnight. Rogers Explorers is a three-day, two-night leadership program which focuses on building skills in leadership, community service, and STEM career exploration. Students attend camp on one of six different college campuses throughout Southern and Eastern Kentucky. Students apply during their eighth grade year.

Applications for the Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (ELI) are due on March 31st at midnight. ELI is a week-long program held at The Center in Somerset, KY. Students spend the week creating a business idea and developing a plan to pitch to a group of judges. The week concludes with a Business Concept Competition. Students from the winning team receive a scholarship offer from EKU valued at $16,000. Students apply during their 9th, 10th, and 11th grade year.

Each application is now available online through the Google Classroom platform. The application classroom codes are available at Students go to The Center’s youth programs website to get the classroom code and they use it to connect to the application via Google Classroom.

If you have specific questions about the application process or want to know more about The Center’s youth leadership programs, contact Allison Cross at or call The Center at 606-677-6000.

In order to be eligible for The Center’s youth programs, students have to live in its 45-county service area in the counties of Adair, Bath, Bell, Breathitt, Boyd, Carter, Casey, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Elliott, Estill, Floyd, Garrard, Green, Harlan, Jackson, Jessamine, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lincoln, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Metcalfe, Monroe, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, Taylor, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe.

Established in 1996 through the vision of U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, (KY-05), and other leaders, The Center for Rural Development is a nonprofit organization fueled by a mission to provide leadership that stimulates innovative and sustainable economic development solutions and a better way of life in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. In its 45-county primary service region, The Center provides innovative programs in leadership, public safety, technology, and arts and culture. The Center is committed to constantly expanding its capabilities in order to deliver a range of key services throughout Kentucky and the nation.