Application Process

Emerge California Application Process

Applications for the Class of 2025 are now open! 

Application window:  June 11, 2024 – August 15, 2024 


Emerge California’s signature program is a 6-month, intensive training program for Democratic women who are planning to run for elected office. The training equips leaders with the resources, knowledge, connections and community of support necessary for a successful run as a candidate. Emerge California is intentional about recruiting Democratic women from groups that have been historically excluded from politics, including the New American Majority—Black, Brown and Indigenous women, women of color, LGBTQ+ women, young, and unmarried women.

In 2024, we will train a class of approximately 50-55 program members throughout the state in at least two regional cohorts. The 6-month training runs from January through June.

Below is information regarding the Application Process, as well as important information to know before applying to the Emerge California candidate training program.

Application Process

The application and selection process for the Class of 2024 runs from June 11 – November 7, 2024. To be considered for the Class of 2025, interested applicants must complete the following:

Submit Application:

The Class of 2025 Application must be submitted by the August 15, 2024 at 5:00 PM deadline. No late applications will be accepted — no exceptions. In order to be considered for the Class of 2025, interested applicants must submit a complete application through the application portal. This includes creating an account, an online applicant profile, application questions, application fee or fee waiver, and the submission of letters of recommendation from two references. References will be contacted by Emerge to provide their letters once you submit their contact information through the application portal. We highly suggest you start asking references if they will be able to provide letters of recommendation now, since those may take time.

Interview Round:

After the application review, selected applicants will be invited to a virtual panel interview. Applicants must interview Saturday, October 19 or Sunday, October 20 in order to be considered for the Class of 2025.

Before applying, we recommend that you review our list of actions to take if you are interested in applying for the Class of 2025.

It is especially important to know the following before you apply:

  1. Eligibility Requirements and Selection Criteria
  2. Application Deadline and Interview Dates (see below)
  3. Class of 2025 Training Schedule (attendance at all training sessions is required) and how the program will be hybrid (the 6-month training will be delivered both in-person and virtually via Zoom) in 2024.
  4. Program Tuition, as well as Scholarship and Grant Opportunities (see below)
  5. Fundraising Commitment (see below)

Please note: to ensure a fair and objective review process, it is the policy of Emerge California not to comment on the deliberations of its selection decisions.

Class of 2025
Application Timeline

Tuesday, June 11, 2024
Application opens for the Class of 2025

June 11 – August 15, 2024
Emerge California Class of 2025 Recruitment Period: Join us for an In-Person or Virtual Recruitment Event!

Thursday, August 15, 2024
5:00 PM PT
Deadline to apply to the Class of 2025
No late applications will be accepted
— no exceptions.

Applications must be 100% complete, including submission of a resume and two references who will provide letters of recommendation on your behalf, to be considered.
There is a 5-day grace period after the deadline for the letters of recommendation from your references to be received.

Monday, September 30, 2024
Notification to all applicants regarding the Interview Round

Saturday, October 19 and Saturday, October 20, 2024
Interview Round

We recommend you hold both dates for the Interview Round, as applicants must interview to be considered for acceptance into the program — no exceptions.

Interviews will be held virtually (via Zoom). Interviews will be approximately 30 minutes and require a relatively quiet space with internet and computer access, as we require you to participate via video. If you have limited access to any of these items, we will work with you to help ensure you can participate successfully.

Thursday, November 7, 2024
Notification to all applicants regarding acceptance

Tuesday, December 10, 2024
Public Announcement of the Emerge California Class of 2024!

Wednesday, December 11, 2024 -or- Thursday, December 11, 2024
12:00 – 1:30 PM OR 5:00 – 6:30 PM
Emerge California Class of 2025 Orientation

Attending an orientation is mandatory for all program members accepted into the Class of 2025.
The orientations will take place virtually via Zoom. You only need to attend one of the above sessions.

Application Fee

A non-refundable application fee of $50 is required at the time of the application. Fee waivers are available upon request — more information about fee waivers can be found in the Class of 2025 Application.

Cohort Regions & Travel Policies

The Emerge California Program will have at least two geographic cohort regions for the Class of 2025. Cohort regions will be announced upon acceptance into the program.

For our in-person trainings, the following travel policy applies:

Full class trainings with overnight travel will be reimbursed up to $200 for those who need to fly to the training location and for those who need to drive more than 100 miles. Hotel stays (double occupancy) will be covered by Emerge California and is mandatory, regardless of where you live.

For regional-based trainings, no hotel stays will be needed. Ground transportation will be reimbursed for those who need to drive more than 100 miles to the training location.

Tuition, Scholarships, and Grants

Tuition for the Emerge California candidate training program is $1,500 to cover program costs that are otherwise subsidized by Emerge California. Tuition can be paid in full, through installments, or you can fundraise for your tuition (in addition to your fundraising commitment, explained below).

Emerge California believes that individual circumstances should NOT be a barrier to participation. That is why scholarships have been available to program members since Emerge California’s founding. Program members can apply for a program scholarship of up to $750.

Through Emerge California’s Child Care Initiative, established in 2019 to increase access to the training for caregivers, program members can also apply for a child care grant for up to $350, in the event that child care (or other caregiving) is needed to ensure your full participation in the program.

Finally, we understand that the global pandemic and economic downturn is still having a significant impact on many families. In an effort to provide additional funding support to program members who may be impacted by this unprecedented time in our lives, and to support program members who may not currently have the technological resources to train virtually, in 2020 we launched our Sisterhood Grant. Program members can also apply for a Sisterhood Grant of up to $250.

We encourage those applying for scholarships and grants to consider all possible program related expenses when applying, including but not limited to: tuition cost, technology upgrades, child care, and travel costs related to in-person trainings.

Please note that all scholarships and grants come in the form of a tuition reduction from the $1,500 program tuition cost.

Emerge California will review all scholarship and grant applications and make awards based on eligibility and funds available. To ensure a fair and objective review process, it is the policy of Emerge California not to comment on the deliberations of its award panel. All information provided through these applications, and related to your request, will be kept confidential and only shared internally.

Equity is a foundational value of ours at Emerge California, which is why we ensure that our candidate training program is accessible to all who are interested in participating. We will work with each accepted program member on an individual basis to create a plan to cover the cost of tuition and other related program costs.

Note to current candidates: Please note that current candidates (at the time of applying for a scholarship or grant) are ineligible for funding support. We HIGHLY encourage applicants to contact Emerge California to discuss their options at Emerge California is a NON-PAC 527 organization. Thus, we cannot endorse candidates or provide financial support (including via monetary contributions or in-kind donations) to current candidates. This is why current candidates for elected office are NOT eligible for the scholarship and grants.

Fundraising Commitment

Our training curriculum is comprehensive, and includes a heightened focus on two specific themes: fighting for justice and equity as an elected leader, as well as building one of the most important of candidate skills – the skills and confidence to fundraise.

To help program members develop their fundraising skills, each program member is required to raise a minimum of $1,000 for Emerge California during the training program. These funds go directly back to Emerge California to train the next class. This fundraising component is separate from the $1,500 tuition cost of the program.

The program offers ample opportunities and support for participants to fulfill the fundraising requirement. Emerge California is committed to helping Democratic women become excellent fundraisers, and raising funds for the organization is one of the best—and most fun—ways to build this skill.

During the program year, we will train you on how to raise funds and we will work with you on the best way to approach your fundraising commitment.

Time Commitment

The success of the Emerge California program depends upon each program member’s commitment to the entire 6-month candidate training program. This includes:

  • Attendance at all training sessions throughout the 6-month training,
  • Completing pre-work prior to each training,
  • Submission and presentation of a Capstone Project — the “Campaign Toolkit,” and
  • Reading and responding to frequent communications from Emerge California.

Over the 6-month period, program members will meet virtually for six training sessions (13 training days total). Time outside of the regularly scheduled training sessions (e.g. to complete pre-work and Campaign Toolkit) is mandatory and expected on a near weekly basis. All six training sessions (12 training days total) are mandatory — missing a training session may impact participation in the program and one’s ability to graduate and be considered an Emerge California Alum.