Employment - Metropolitan Planning Council

Skip to main content


MPC is now accepting applications for a full-time Administrative Assistant to join staff in February 2018. MPC is also seeking a 2018 Allard Fellow for a six-month paid fellowship opportunity (March to August). 

MPC offers unpaid Research Assistant positions, an unpaid Development Intern position and an unpaid Marketing and Communications Intern position. We are now accepting applications for Winter and Spring 2018 (details below). 

Administrative Assistant

MPC seeks a detail-minded Administrative Assistant who possesses enthusiasm for the Metropolitan Planning Council’s agenda and an eagerness to assist our staff in furthering our mission. The Administrative Assistant provides programmatic and organizational support to advance MPC’s priorities. The Assistant will also provide specific administrative support to three senior staff—Emily Blum, Director of Marketing and Communications, Alden Loury, Director of Research and Evaluation and Audrey Wennink, Director of Transportation.

The Position

The Administrative Assistant is responsible for:

  • fielding phone calls and emails, managing e-mailings, assisting with hospitality needs in the reception and Conference room spaces, and other general administrative tasks;
  • scheduling, coordinating, and handling meeting preparation and follow-up and occasional travel arrangements for three Director-level staff;
  • coordinating meetings, including drafting agendas and correspondence, communicating needs and deadlines to relevant staff members and preparing meeting minutes;
  • coordinating logistics for MPC internal and external events, with guidance from MPC’s Events Manager, Angie Leyva;
  • researching, drafting and producing memos, correspondence and blog posts for a diverse set of clients and constituents;
  • facilitating effective internal communication and collaboration between program, research, communications, development and management team staff; and
  • updating MPC’s Raiser’s Edge constituent database and mailing lists.

MPC is looking for an intelligent, highly organized, personable individual who thrives in a collegial work environment and can juggle multiple deadlines. The preferred candidate will have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and at least two years of work experience. Prior administrative experience and public policy interest/experience is strongly preferred. Expertise with constituent databases, such as MailChimp and Raiser’s Edge is a plus. The ideal candidate will have the following core competencies of highly successful MPC employees:

  • Entrepreneurial: a self-starter, able to proactively identify, prioritize and complete tasks, handle multiple projects and deadlines and work in a fast-paced environment, able to chart a course and map out the path to a problem solution, and extremely detail-oriented
  • Relationship Builder: able to develop sincere connections and establish rapport with diverse groups and individuals, able to maintain and cultivate relationships even during conflict
  • Passionate, Eager and Positive: passionate about the issues that MPC addresses and committed to supporting the organization’s mission, able to contribute positively to group problem solving, always seeking solutions, volunteering and taking initiative
  • Curious: demonstrates desire for lifelong learning and self-improvement, engaged in the news and current events, not afraid to ask why and seek to understand context
  • Team Player: capable and willing to work collaboratively with staff and volunteers, consult the team for guidance, value positive contributions, tap strengths of all staff and ask for help when needed
  • Strong Communicator: an excellent writer and communicator who can competently represent the organization and its work to the public, board members, donors and audiences of all kinds
  • Analytical Thinker: able to identify root causes and causal relationships, challenge assumptions and identify pros and cons of possible paths forward
  • Socially and Emotionally Intelligent: able to read people and situations, anticipate reactions, read between the lines, and be aware of emotional reactions

How to Apply

Please send the following materials by e-mail or mail:

  1. A letter detailing how your experience relates to the job description; 
  2. Your résumé and salary history;
  3. A brief writing sample; and 
  4. Three references.

Skyler Larrimore
Metropolitan Planning Council
140 S. Dearborn, Suite 1400
Chicago, Ill. 60603

No phone calls please.  For more information on MPC, please visit our website: www.metroplanning.org

MPC is proud to be an equal opportunity employer.

Allard Fellowship

The Allard Fellowship, named for a beloved former MPC President, the late Jean Allard and generously seeded by Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal (now SNR Denton), is designed to attract a talented emerging professional not currently in a position to volunteer at MPC. This paid fellowship is targeted for candidates who reflect the economic and racial diversity of the Chicago region. The Fellow works directly with staff at all levels of the organization, external partners, Board members and other volunteers at MPC. A fellow works approximately 20-30 hours a week, for a six month period.

For the 2018 Allard Fellowship, the ideal fellow will have the research skills, relevant topical knowledge and organizational acumen to support work in two core inter-related areas: Municipal Capacity Building, and Water Supply Management. This work will entail:

  • Researching and documenting best practices in municipal service sharing, joint procurement and other intergovernmental agreements;
  • Examining how other state and regional government entities, as well as private sector actors, bolster municipal capacity through their operations;
  • Researching best practices and case studies in drinking water utility governance and regionalization;
  • Developing curriculum and supporting materials for a municipal academy to complement Drinking Water 1-2-3;
  • Organizing and scheduling meetings for key staff with partner organizations and project stakeholders; and,
  • Writing case studies for MPC’s web site on best practices in local government effectiveness.

The appropriate candidate will have a Bachelor’s Degree in planning, policy, urban studies or another relevant field. A Master’s Degree and/or one to two years of work experience is preferred.

For the Allard Fellowship, the applicant must submit:

  • current CV;
  • writing sample (1-2 pages);
  • any other supporting evidence as the applicant sees fit (e.g. evidence of quantitative analysis, GIS work, renderings, articles, etc.);
  • cover letter that articulates specific interest in MPC and its governance and water supply programs, how this Fellowship opportunity will position the applicant for professional growth, and why, but for this Fellowship, the applicant would not be in a position to volunteer at MPC; and
  • nomination letter by a non-family member. The nomination letter should be included in the application materials, should articulate the nominee's potential for a career in urban and regional policy, and shouldestablish why the nominee deserves and needs a paid fellowship at MPC.

The Metropolitan Planning Council is accepting applications through February 19, 2018. The fellowship will take place from approximately March 1 – August 31, 2018. Please send application materials by e-mail to Skyler Larrimore, Operations Manager, at manager@metroplanning.org. No phone calls please. MPC is proud to be an equal opportunity employer.

Research Assistant

We are now accepting applications for Winter and Spring 2018 Research Assistants. The priority deadline is January 5, 2018, but applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all positions are filled. 

Current needs: 

Research assistants (RAs) play an important role at MPC, offering essential support for our projects, working with staff on a daily basis, attending meetings, and learning about how urban planning/policy works in the real world. We especially like RA applicants who are talented writers, investigators, communicators, and/or GIS users.

We’re currently recruiting RAs for Winter and Spring 2018, particularly for the following priority projects:

Great Rivers Chicago. This project is working to implement an exciting vision for the next 100 years of Chicago’s rivers and focuses on reviving underused stretches of riverfront at the neighborhood scale and developing policy recommendations for future management. Community engagement, GIS, research, writing, and design skills needed.

Cost of Segregation. This project aims to quantify (and offer policy recommendations to address) the steep costs of Chicagoland's racial and economic segregation. Research questions for Rearch Assistants will include 'Is the face of segregation changing?', 'What are the negatives of concentrated affluence/whiteness', and 'How can we learn from regions that are less economically/racially segregated than our own?' GIS, qualitative and quantitative research and writing skills needed.

Government Effectiveness. This project is identifying ways to make our governmental bodies more effective by streamlining delivery and consolidating services. This project will support the Transform Illinois coalition, and MPC's government effectiveness research more broadly. This could include the development of case studies on service sharing success stories, supporting municipal discussions on possible shared services, mapping and research on government spending/procurement/innvestments. This person could also support legislative tracking, development of legislative fact sheets, and other advocacy work. A background in public administration or finance a plus. GIS, qualitative and quantitative research and writing skills needed.

Equitable transit-oriented development. This project works to encourage more of the region’s development to occur in areas near our public transportation lines, so as to reduce congestion, eliminate pollution and boost economic development. We are currently examining opportunities for infill station development and suburban TOD. Community engagement, GIS, research and writing skills needed.

Stormwater management. This program includes a number of discrete projects, including supporting the facilitation of the Calumet Stormwater Collaborative, research into stormwater management practices, policies, and funding programs, urban flooding, climate resilience and more. Strong writing skills as well as qualitative and quantitative research required.

Productive Lands. This work will focus on identifying priority areas for land conservation workable strategies, and will include mapping and research on parcel information and ownership, as well as vetting of funding or financing options for potential land conservation projects. Experience in open space planning, wetlands mitigation, and conservation a plus. This person would support: MPC's assessment of riverfront land conservation opportunities; a Calumet Land Conservation Partnership project on wetlands mitigation in the Indiana portion of the Little Calumet Watershed. 

Housing and Community Development. This project will include conducting research on community impact assessment models and conducting an analysis of how this tool might be adopted locally, based on local and state-wide policies. This will also include analysis of other regions across the country and approaches they have taken to create and implement equitable housing and development strategies.

State of the Region. This project aims to capture how the 7-county Chicagoland region is doing based on a variety of metrics related to MPC's equity agenda. Focusing on measures related to housing, public health, safety, jobs, and education, the research team is collecting data, performing analyses, and producing an annual narrative that reflects how the region is doing with respect to other national competitors over time. Quantitative research, GIS, and writing skills needed.

Building Healthy Places. This project aims to create a framework for the development of a social impact calculator (i.e. a calculator that will be able to quantify the health benefits generated from community development projects). Phase I of this project (Sept. through Dec.) will involve creation of a framework based on financial modeling data. Quantitative research skills and familiarity with community development needed. Background in economics is preferred.

Urban Development Monitoring. MPC monitors and reviews high-impact real estate development projects on an ongoing basis in order to be more fully informed, positioning us to take a proactive stance at opportune moments. This Research Assistant position would be responsible for overseeing and updating the development tracking database, with opportunities to analyze trends, write for the blog and present to staff.

Overall program: 

MPC’s volunteer research assistants are a vital part of the organization’s success. Depending on the project at hand, RAs conduct original research, write blog posts and case studies, organize community meetings, perform GIS and quantitative analysis and a range of other work.

You may apply for an RA position at any time, but as a general guideline new RAs start around May 1, September 1 and January 2. Candidates receiving school credit or compensation through a fellowship program will receive preference in staffing decisions, but all are welcome to apply. Fall and winter RAs are expected to commit at least two full days of work per week, and summer RAs at least three.

How to Apply: 

The priority application deadline for Winter/Spring 2017 is Friday, January 5, but applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all positions are filled.  If you are interested in a position for Winter or Spring, please send the following materials by e-mail to manager@metroplanning.org:

  1. A current resume;
  2. A cover letter articulating your specific interest in MPC, the current projects you have the most interest in and what you believe you can add to them, and a proposed schedule; and
  3. A short (2-3 page) writing sample, and if applicable, examples of geospatial analysis or design work.

No phone calls please. For more information on MPC, please visit our website: www.metroplanning.org

MPC is an equal opportunity employer.

Development Intern

The Metropolitan Planning Council is seeking a detail-oriented individual with excellent communication and multi-tasking skills for an unpaid Development Internship starting February 2018. 

This individual should have a strong understanding of and/or interest in fundraising, philanthropy, marketing, and nonprofit management. The individual will contribute and receive exposure to a variety of projects associated with the front and back-end operations of a Development department.

The individual work in collaboration with a team of five other staff and will have the opportunity to help shape innovative fundraising ideas for MPC.   

Over the course of the internship, the individual will have responsibilities involving support for fundraising campaigns; major gifts; marketing; gift acknowledgement; Raiser’s Edge database entry; and fundraising research.


Fundraising Campaigns

  • Assist with creation, copywriting, and production of solicitation and stewardship materials including direct mail letters, e-mails, online ads, social media, blog posts, and donor acknowledgement correspondence


  • Assist with projects that promote the work of MPC (i.e. brochures, fundraising pitches in the Regionalist e-newsletter, Impact Reports to donors)

Database, Gift Processing/Acknowledgement

  • Train on Raiser’s Edge donor database
  • Support gift acknowledgment letter processing, and database clean-up projects
  • Perform basic level analysis (For example, research trends in MPC’s 2017 Annual Luncheon giving)


  • Conduct research on corporate and foundation prospects
  • Assist with research on potential and current individual donors


  • Assist with preparation and execution of MPC’s signature Annual Luncheon fundraising event on Sept. 22
  • Support MPC’s Communications and Development team to create unique Urban Think & Drink, Roundtable and other special public events.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Preferred: Current (or newly graduated) graduate-level students studying Nonprofit Management, Social Work, Marketing, Business, Communications, or related field. Current undergraduate junior or senior students pursing a relevant degree will also be considered.
  • Outstanding writing skills and an effective communicator
  • Detail-oriented, inquisitive, and thoughtful
  • Efficient and effective multi-tasking and time management skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Team player with the ability to work independently and self-direct
  • Computer Skills: Microsoft Office, Database experience (Raisers’ Edge preferred)

How to Apply: 

The application deadline for this internship was Friday, January 5, 2018, but we are still accepting applications. Please send the following materials by e-mail to manager@metroplanning.org:

  1. A current resume;
  2. A cover letter articulating your specific interest in MPC, your relevant professional experience, and a proposed internship schedule; and
  3. A short (2-3 page) writing sample, preferably related to fundraising.

No phone calls please. For more information on MPC, please visit our website: www.metroplanning.org

MPC is an equal opportunity employer.

Marketing and Communications Intern

The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) seeks one or more intern(s) to support its marketing, communications, community relations, and event coordination efforts. All MPC interns benefit from exposure to a broad range of regional planning policy issues, hands-on communications experience, and the opportunity to connect with a variety of planning agencies, community groups, civic partners, and officials. See metroplanning.org for more information about our organization and our work.

The Marketing and Communications Intern will work closely with our communications team, development team, and program staff to cultivate and promote content that highlights MPC and the impact of our work, donors, and partners. We are looking for a detail-oriented individual with excellent research and writing skills. The ability to think critically and work independently is essential.

This unpaid internship will start in February 2018 and end in April or May and has flexible hours Monday through Friday. An ability to work at least 15 hours per week is preferred. Please include your weekly availability and desired start and end dates with your application.

Responsibilities may include:

Marketing and Public Relations

  • Write and edit content for key communications, including MPC’s social media, blog, e-newsletter and other editorial opportunities
  • Assist with creating and updating MPC’s printed materials, including fact-based issue pages
  • Identify, summarize and share media coverage internally
  • Support projects that promote MPC’s work (i.e., organizational brochures, PowerPoint presentations, marketing push emails, impact reports to donors and other marketing collateral)
  • Research opportunities for MPC to partner with new organizations

Social Media

  • Write social media posts on topics related to MPC’s supporters, events and programs for various social media platforms
  • Monitor, track and evaluate the effectiveness of social media content for metrics of activity, reach and engagement
  • Research how other foundations and nonprofits use social media, and recommend best practices based upon this analysis


  • Assist with event logistics, including Eventbrite setup and management
  • Prepare sponsorship and marketing materials for events

Desired Qualifications:

  • Preferred: Current undergraduate- or graduate-level students studying Journalism, Marketing, Communications, Business, Political Science, Public Policy, Urban Planning or related fields
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Excellent project management skills
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Proficiency with various social media platforms—especially Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Proficiency with basic visual design, photo or video (and relevant software and digital tools, like Adobe InDesign and MailChimp) is a plus

How to Apply:

The application deadline for this internship was January 5, 2018, but we are still accepting applications. Please send the following materials by e-mail to manager@metroplanning.org:

  • A current resume
  • A cover letter articulating your specific interest in MPC, your relevant professional experience, and a proposed internship schedule
  • Two or more writing samples from a wide range of formats (i.e., press releases, fact sheets, articles and social media content)
  • Any information regarding school credit

No phone calls please. For more information on MPC, please visit our website: www.metroplanning.org.

MPC is an equal opportunity employer.

Notices for available positions at MPC are posted here.

Submit applications by e-mail or mail only; no phone calls please.

MPC is an equal opportunity employer.

This page can be found online at http://www.metroplanning.org/about/Employment0.html

Metropolitan Planning Council 140 S. Dearborn St.
Suite 1400
Chicago, Ill. 60603
312 922 5616 info@metroplanning.org

Sign up for newsletter and alerts »

Shaping a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous greater Chicago region

For more than 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area's toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow. Read more about our work »

Donate »