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Leadership Training Backed by Former U.S. Presidents? It's Happening. The first class of the Presidential Leadership Scholars program has begun.

By Nina Zipkin

REUTERS | Andres Martinez Casares
Former U.S. President Clinton and actor Penn

As entrepreneurs and business professionals, there's a good chance that you've taken a leadership course here or there. But there's a new type of program in town – and it's backed by a group of leaders who know a little something about executive power.

The presidential centers of George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Lyndon B. Johnson have teamed up to create the Presidential Leadership Scholars program. Though the lineup may sound a bit like it could be the basis for a Saturday Night Live sketch, the program describes itself as an "unprecedented partnership" between these presidential foundations.

Related: Know When to Trust Your Gut

The professional development program is aimed at motivated and entrepreneurial "mid-career professionals who generally have at least 10 years of experience and a strong record of professional achievement." It emphasizes its exclusive insight into executive leadership as one of its main selling points.

"The curriculum draws from presidential center archives and resources related to leadership and decision-making moments from each administration," according to the program website. "It includes insights from how each president addressed pressing challenges and benefits from the participation of President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton. It also relies upon in-depth analyses of how leaders across all sectors address similar types of challenges."

Related: The 3 Ways Leadership Is the Opposite of What Most People Think

The first class of 60 scholars began the program last week, with four and a half days at George Washington's Mount Vernon, and five more sessions to be held at William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark.; George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas; Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Center in Austin, Texas; and George H.W. Bush Presidential Center in College Station, Texas.

The participants will be spending their time learning about history and leadership strategies, furthering personal projects and hearing from speakers who have worked in various fields, including the former presidents' administrations. George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will be present at the graduation in July.

Tuition, lodging, food and travel expenses are covered by the presidential libraries, and donations from other foundations, companies and individuals. People can also nominate potential scholars for the program, with applications for 2016 going live this summer.

Related: 5 Visionary CEOs and Their Key Traits That Every Leader Should Master

Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

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