Building Sustainable Communities: Leadership Development Along the U.S.-Mexico Border

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Much attention to revitalization in central urban neighborhoods focuses upon economic development and the infusion of economic capital. Throughout the United States, many organizations and communities have sent their "best and brightest" representatives to various types of leadership training programs. Leadership training, through promising as an investment in human capital, warrants greater attention as a catalyst for social capital. This study explores the potential for social capital development in an ethnically diverse community facing rapid growth, high levels of poverty, unemployment, severe economic disparity and serious environmental threats. Will individuals identified as community leaders, if exposed to general leadership skills training and substantive information about current problems facing the community, develop consensus over goals and a unified a commitment to work together to addressed community problems? Although preliminary results suggest orchestrated cohorts may play less of a role in evolving value consensus than previous personal affiliations like ethnicity, participants reported enhanced relationships.

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