Application Process

Emerge California Application Process

Applications for the
Emerge California Class of 2021
have closed.

Keep in touch with us and stay informed
about the Class of 2022 application process!

Emerge California’s signature program is a 6-month, intensive training program for Democratic self-identified 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 self-identified Democratic women from groups that have been historically underrepresented in politics, including the New American Majority – Black, Brown and Indigenous women, women of color, LGBTQ+ women, and young and unmarried women.  

Each year, we train a class of approximately 45-60 program members throughout the state. The class consists of three regional cohorts — Northern California, Southern California and Central Valley. The 6-month training runs from January to June each year. 

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 2021 runs from July 20 – December 10, 2020. To be considered for the Class of 2021, interested applicants must complete the following:

  • Submit Application: The Class of 2021 Application must be submitted by the September 22, 2020 deadline. No late applications will be accepted. In order to be considered for the Class of 2021, interested applicants must submit a complete application. This includes an online application, as well as a submission of one’s resume and two letters of recommendation. 
  • Interview Round: After application review, selected applicants will be invited to a virtual panel interview. Applicants must interview the weekend of November 21-22, 2020 in order to be considered for the Class of 2021. 

Before applying, we recommend that you review our list of actions to take if you are interested in applying for the Class of 2021. It is especially important to know the following before you apply: 

  • Eligibility Requirements and Selection Criteria 
  • Application Deadline and Interview Dates (see below) 
  • Class of 2021 Training Schedule  (attendance at all training sessions is required upon acceptance into the program) and how the program will be delivered virtually in 2021
  • Program Tuition, as well as Scholarship and Grant Opportunities (see below) 
  • Fundraising Commitment (see below)

Class of 2021
Application Timelin


July 20, 2020
Application opens for the Class of 2021

July 20 – September 22, 2020
The 2021 Emerge California Recruitment Tour: Answer the Call

September 22, 2020 at 11:59 PM PST
Deadline to apply to the Class of 2021
No late applications will be accepted — no exceptions

November 6, 2020
Notification to all applicants regarding the Virtual Interview Round

November 21-22, 2020
Virtual Interview Round

We recommend you hold this weekend for the Virtual Interview Round, as applicants must interview to be considered for acceptance into the program – no exceptions.

Interviews will be held virtually (via Zoom). Virtual 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.

December 10, 2020
Announcement of the Emerge California Class of 2021!

Application Fee
A non-refundable application fee of $50 is required at the time of the application.
Fee waivers are available —more information about fee waivers
can be found in the Class of 2021 Application.

Cohort Regions

The Emerge California Program has three distinct regional cohorts: Northern California, Southern California and Central Valley. We require applicants to apply to the regional cohort in which they live. Please see below for the geographic breakdown of each cohort and select the corresponding region in your application.

  • Northern California includes the following counties: Del Norte, Siskiyou, Modoc, Humboldt, Trinity, Shasta, Lassen, Mendocino, Tehama, Plumas, Napa, Lake, Sierra, Alpine, Calavernas, Mono, Tuolumne, Inyo, San Benito, Monterey, Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Solano, Contra Costa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Mariposa
  • Southern California includes the following counties: San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Imperial
  • Central Valley includes the following counties: Shasta, Tehama, Glenn, Butte, Nevada, Colusa, Sacramento, El Dorado, Sutter, Yuba, Yolo, Placer, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Kern

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 or through installments. 

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, program members can also apply for a child care grant for up to $350, in the event that child care is needed to ensure your full participation in the program. We understand that, during this time of COVID-19, it may not be a reality to use the grant funds for a child care provider. We encourage program members to apply for the grant if these funds can go towards virtual classes or other programming to be utilized during the training sessions.

Finally, we understand that the global pandemic and economic downturn has had 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 also launched our Sisterhood Grant. Program members can apply for a Sisterhood Grant of up to $250. 

Please note that all scholarships and grants come in the form of a tuition reduction from the $1,500 program tuition cost. We understand that the scholarships and grants offered do not cover tuition expenses in full. Program members can also opt to fundraise to cover the tuition cost. Please note that this would be in addition to the fundraising commitment (see below). 

Emerge California will review all scholarship and grant applications and make awards based on eligibility and funds availability. 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 applying for a scholarship or grant applications) 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, which means that we cannot formally endorse 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 racial justice and equity as an elected leader, as well as building one of the most important of candidate skills – the ability 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. This fundraising component is separate from the tuition cost of the program. 

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

We understand that during this time of COVID-19, you may know many in your network impacted by the economic downturn who may be unable to contribute to your fundraising commitment at this time. During the program year, we will address how to raise funds during a crisis 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, including the training sessions, training pre-work, candidate prep work and additional training and networking opportunities. Over the 6-month period, program members will meet virtually for six training sessions (10 training days total). Time outside of the regularly scheduled training sessions will be necessary for candidate prep work and training preparation, on a near weekly basis. All six training sessions (10 training days) are mandatory — missing a training session may impact participation in the program and one’s ability to graduate and be considered an Emerge California alumna.

Ready to Apply to the
Class of 2021?!

All applications must be submitted by:
11:59 PM PST on
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
—no exceptions. 

We look forward to reading your application! 

Sign up on our Class of 2021 Interest Form
so we can stay in touch with you about the
application and recruitment process!

Applications for the
Emerge California Class of 2021
have closed.

Keep in touch with us and stay informed
about the Class of 2022 application process!