HARKER HEIGHTS — The Chamber of Commerce has developed a new program it hopes will help train and identify future community leaders.

Vision XXI is the chamber’s answer to the leadership programs typically conducted by chambers of commerce. Jim Anderson, Vision XXI chair and former Central Texas College chancellor, said he was approached by Chamber President Bill Kozlik to work on the project, and he accepted.

“The first thing I wanted to do is not call it ‘leadership,’ although it certainly has that aspect to it,” Anderson said. “I will take credit for the name ‘Vision XXI’.”

Anderson has experience with leadership programs. He was a “supportive speaker” for Leadership Killeen when he served on the Killeen chamber board, he said. In the future, he foresees that ideally all members of the chamber board would be graduates of Vision XXI.

Between 15 and 25 people will be chosen for the program, Anderson said. Not all applicants need to be residents of Harker Heights, according to the chamber, but they should have intentions of getting involved in the community and staying involved.

“What we would hope to have are people who work for chamber members, but it’s not an absolute criteria,” Anderson said. “What we envisioned are up-and-comers in the community who will down the road have leadership roles.”

Kozlik agreed with Anderson. When the program was in the first planning stages back in August, he said their goal is to mold young people to assume leadership roles in the community.

“You’ve got to have movers and shakers. My hope is with (Vision XXI) we’ll be able to form a young professionals group, as well.”

Vision XXI is made up of eight monthly sessions, with each session focusing on different community aspects, from medical availability, employment opportunities, city and state government and restaurant and retail resources to housing, entertainment and quality of life issues. The sessions will take place on the first Tuesday of each month starting in February and last about four hours each, except for a full-day trip to visit the state Capitol in Austin.

The first session focuses on local government, and in March, the group will visit Fort Hood.

“We want to let people know how Harker Heights fits into Fort Hood … how we support them and how they support us in return,” Anderson said.

A complete schedule for Vision XXI is in development and will be posted on the chamber’s website soon, Pence said.

The cost to participate in the program is $300 per person and covers all sessions, lunches and transportation, according to the chamber. To apply to Vision XXI, go to www.hhchamber.com. For more information, call the chamber at (254) 699-4999.

Contact Kristi Johnson at kristij@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7548

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