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Common Cause Illinois’ Leadership Six program is an intensive internship program in which young Illinoisans will have an opportunity to dramatically improve both their knowledge and skills base across six democracy issue areas while making a real difference in the lives of people across our state.

Our unique program combines policy,  advocacy and professional development. Interns become core advocates across CCIL’s six issue areas: voting rights, ethics, money in politics, constitutional issues, gerrymandering & representation, and media & democracy.  By the end of their service term, interns will have learned valuable skills and knowledge related to advocacy, civic engagement and good governance. In addition, they will have participated in a comprehensive leadership program and built an impressive portfolio of work.

Lead by our Outreach Manager, the Leadership Six team will receive the training and support to become the next generation of civic leaders in Illinois as we work to hold power accountable at every level.


To be eligible for Leadership Six, applicants must reside in Illinois at time of selection. Interns are expected to work between 10-15 hours per week.  Our summer term is three months long, and both fall and spring terms are four months long.

Our Summer 2020 session will begin on Monday, June 8, 2020. 

Internships are not paid. However, interns may receive college or high school credit for the program, and expenses incurred during the internship, such as travel to events, materials, etc. are paid by CCIL. 


If selected, Leadership Six Interns will be immersed in a robust policy and advocacy program across CCIL’s six issue areas. Each intern’s personal campaign plan will focus on some aspect of their campaign of focus, as well as their Letters to the Editor/OpEd piece. While an intern must choose one area for primary focus, all interns will cycle through and learn about all six of CCIL’s issue areas. 

  1. Voting & Elections
  2. Ethics & Accountability
  3. Media & Democracy
  4. Gerrymandering & Representation
  5. Money & Influence
  6. Constitution, Courts & Other Democracy Issues


A central tenant of CCIL’s internship philosophy is “Learn by Leading,” which is why we will encourage interns to consistently participate in CCIL’s communication strategy through publishable blog posts and social media postings, helping to raise their own profile within the democracy reform community. We will also encourage interns to participate as much as possible in events where CCIL has a leadership role, such as in coalition meetings and strategy sessions. 

In addition to the policy and advocacy training all interns will receive, interns will also have an opportunity to participate in a productive 6-course leadership curriculum over the course of their internship. 


  1. Personal & Professional Branding
  2. You Say You Want To Govern: What do we care about most and how do we pay for it?
  3. Model Democracy: How to govern during a pandemic
  4. Ethos, Pathos & Logos: The Art of the Argument
  5. Even if you aren’t interested in politics, politics is interested in you
  6. Retreat/Roadmap for next class


To learn more about our issue areas and our training sessions, download our full Leadership Six Internship Packet


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