Our Programs

Rust Belt Rising connects the Democratic Party to its base of working families by helping candidates lead on critical economic issues. We offer online learning sessions to our network. Previous webinars have included presenters like Indiana State Rep. Chris Campbell, who flipped her district, and Wisconsin’s Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who explained how and Gov. Tony Evers won Wisconsin back from Scott Walker by talking about what Democrats are for.

Read our 2020 impact report

Be a Rising Leader

Apply to be part of Rust Belt Rising’s cohort of rising leaders in our region. 

Rust Belt Rising has been a great resource for my campaign this past year. The training, the webinars discussing current events and messaging, along with the polling data specifically for Ohio, has made a huge difference in how I approach hot button issues like guns and abortion to everyday issues like healthcare and the environment. I will continue to look to Rust Belt Rising, this election year, for additional messaging and advice to propel my campaign and win my election.
-Donna Beheydt, candidate for Ohio House District 69, Rising fall course alum.

Our online-based learning sessions equip you on core issues that Midwesterners want to see leaders address. You will join sessions on winning election strategies and key issue areas with presenters of proven approaches and fellow Midwest leaders. 

We are looking for those who want to join the nearly 400 leaders in our region who have already participated in one of our trainings. 

Whether you are a candidate at any level (local, state or federal) in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, or Illinois, or are working with such a candidate/campaign, you will benefit from becoming part of a network of some of the best leaders in this region and having Rising staff help you wage a successful campaign. 

Rust Belt Rising’s recent live online sessions have included guests like Obama speechwriter Sarada Peri on persuasion, candidate video creator Sarah Ullman, and top digital strategists Nate Lubin and Tim Lim. We provide short learning modules you can watch when convenient, a password-protected resource page with pollings, issue talking points and effective communication examples in our region, and individual coaching to help you hone your authentic message and win. 

With us, you will develop skills to help you and the whole Democratic ticket win on topics like:
-Effective ways to talk about Democratic issues  
-Policy solutions that are helping families in the Midwest 
-Authentic digital content that actually engages potential supporters 

Apply here. With questions or concerns, email info@rustbeltrising.com.

Previous Classes: Spring Win in 2020 and Fall Messaging Bootcamp

Our 2019-20 courses focused on turning one’s story and values into a core message to connect with working families and win. Some of the most effective minds in Midwest politics helped to shape the courses and we shared successful examples from the region throughout.

We took participants through lessons on articulating your “why” for running, how to tell your story, communicate your values and core message, employ effective frames, discuss key Democratic issues, and examples of strategies that are growing regional economies in the Midwest.

Live sessions included Michigan State Rep. Darrin Camilleri on winning back a district that voted for Trump, Ohio State Rep. Kent Smith on how to talk about the economy as a Democrat and growing your communities’ industries to benefit everyone’s wages, John Austin on helping your area thrive economically, Howard Lerner on clean water and environmental issues, and health care experts on Claire McAndrew and Mike Naple on what you can do about health care at the state and local level and how to talk about it. 

Finding Your Voice in the Rust Belt

Our 2018 training was a series of six interactive online sessions. Twelve candidate participants won elected office in the Midwest.

Topics included coaching on message and storytelling, policy seminars with post-session exercises, and the opportunity to connect with and learn from other candidates. Speakers included Rep. Cheri Bustos, Rep. Lauren Underwood, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning on using your values to persuade on controversial issues that often cause Democrats to lose elections, and a range of policy area experts.