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MPC is currently accepting applications for these positions:

In addition, applications for Research Assistants are always accepted.

Vice President for Programs

Available: Immediately

About the Metropolitan Planning Council

In these tough economic times, Chicago-area leaders need practical strategies that drive regional growth and support vibrant, livable neighborhoods with quality homes and transportation options, strong local economies and well-managed natural assets. The Metropolitan Planning Council is known for developing and implementing innovative, pragmatic solutions to the region’s most vexing challenges, and for bringing those tested ideas to the national stage. Through groundbreaking research, advocacy and demonstration projects, MPC is a trusted partner to governments, businesses and communities as they confront the region’s pressing needs, so that everyone who lives and works here can thrive.

Overview of Position

MPC is seeking a leader who can bring knowledge, skills, dynamism and energy to solve problems and help the Chicagoland region, and other cities and regions, reach their highest potential. The position is multi-faceted, requiring an individual with the skill set to fill various roles – guiding research, project management, and talent development – and represent the organization publicly. We welcome someone who brings a fresh perspective to making an enhanced impact on our region and developing tools and policies that will benefit other regions across the U.S. For a complete overview of MPC’s areas of work, please visit

Required Attributes

  • Passionate, with knowledge of and intense interest in MPC's range of issues; a depth of knowledge on housing and community development topics preferred
  • Personable, with an impressive mix of substantive credibility and managerial aptitude
  • Inquisitive, displaying strong grasp of strategy, tools and best practices from around the globe and acumen to translate them into on-the-ground impact in the Chicago region and into viable national models
  • Trustworthy, with the ability to be both consultative and decisive with co-workers and external colleagues, building a strong foundation of trust
  • Internal Leader, modeling excellence and committed to assisting staff in execution of their individual professional development plans
  • External Leader, with the ability to deploy Board members and other volunteers on customized tasks and the dynamism to engage public sector leaders and the media
  • Attentive to outcomes through consistent and transparent reporting, adjusting tactics as needed
  • Fiscally-minded, able to conceive of projects that are both innovative in the field, and pragmatic enough to attract foundation and corporate funding
  • Willing to work hard and inspire others to do the same, together achieving outcomes that individually would be impossible
  • Creative in tactics and bold in approach, guided by MPC's ambitious goals
  • Communicative, exhibiting exemplary communication and organizational skills; advanced technology skills desirable

Responsibilities of Vice President for Programs

The Vice President for Programs will be responsible for coordinating a dozen or more projects organized across three program clusters, guiding and coaching a growing team of 10 professional staff, and forging deep partnerships with Board members and partner organizations and governments. S/he will work closely with the President, who is increasingly focused externally, and the Executive Vice President, who is responsible for coordinating the internal functions (development, programs, communications, and government relations). As part of a small management team, the Vice President for Programs will also closely coordinate with the Communications Director, Development Director, and Vice President of Finance and Administration. Ultimately, the person in this position is held accountable for the development, execution and evaluation of the work plan, both funded projects and growth opportunities.

To Apply, please send:

1) A letter detailing how your experience relates to the job description;
2) Your résumé;
3) Three (3) professional references; and
4) A writing sample to:

Madeline Grennan
Executive Assistant
Metropolitan Planning Council    

No phone calls please. Applications lacking any one of these three requirements will not be considered.  For more information on MPC, please visit our website:

MPC is an equal opportunity employer.

Allard and Wayfinding Fellowships

The Allard Fellowship, named for longtime MPC President Jean Allard and generously seeded by Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal in her honor before Allard passed away in 2012, is designed to attract young talent not currently in a position to volunteer at MPC. The most competitive candidates will submit applications and nomination letters that establish why they deserve and need a paid fellowship at MPC. This fellowship will help the organization achieve economic and racial diversity goals.  

The Wayfinding Fellowship, supported by a fund generously seeded by longtime MPC Board member James Mann, is designed to cultivate and retain an established, well-regarded MPC Research Assistant. Current MPC Research Assistants who have been with the organization for a minimum of two months, as well as those whose tenure with MPC ended within ten months of the application deadline, are eligible; all applicants must be nominated by an MPC Board, committee or staff member. Because the Wayfinding Fellow must have proven high performance at MPC, the most competitive candidates will identify how they plan to lead a discrete project articulated in MPC’s work plan.

Fellows will work three to four days per week for six months, compensated by a $10,000 stipend paid in two equal installments of $5,000 at the mid-point and conclusion of the fellowship. Fellows also will benefit from structured and informal networking and mentorship opportunities with MPC staff and volunteers, as well as recognition on MPC’s web site.

There are different deadlines for applications and nominations for these fellowships: 

  • Applications for the Allard Fellowship are due May 30 (for a July 1 - December 31 fellowship period). There is only one annual application/nomination cycle for this program.
  • Applications and nominations for the Wayfinding Fellowship are due March 31 (for a May 1 -October 31 fellowship period) and September 30 (for a November 1-April 30 fellowship period). There will only be one Wayfinding Fellow selected in any calendar year. There are two application/nomination cycles to account for the frequent turnover of MPC Research Assistants.  

How to Apply

Please send the following materials by e-mail to Josh Ellis, program director and research assistant coordinator, at

  • For the Allard Fellowship, the applicant must submit a current CV, a writing sample of no more than 5 typed pages, and other supporting evidence as the applicant sees fit (e.g. evidence of quantiative analysis, GIS work, renderings, articles, etc.). The applicant must also submit a cover letter that articulates specific interest in MPC, 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. Finally, the applicant must also be nominated 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 development policy, and should establish why the nominee deserves and needs a paid fellowship at MPC.
  • For the Wayfinding Fellowship, an MPC Board, committee, or staff member must nominate a current MPC Research Assistant who has been with the organization for a minimum of two months, as well as those whose tenure with MPC ended within ten months of the nomination deadline. Both the nomination letter and a cover letter by the nominee should articulate how the nominee's work at MPC has contributed substantively to MPC's mission, and how a paid fellowship would foster that nominee's professional growth and further MPC's work plan. The nominee must also submit a current CV. 

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

MPC is an equal opportunity employer.

Research Assistant

Starting Date: Rolling start dates 

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 1. Candidates receiving school credit or compensation through a fellowship program will receive preference in staffing decisions, but all are welcome to apply. As a general rule of thumb, 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

Please send the following materials by e-mail to Josh Ellis, program director and research assistant coordinator, at

  • a current resume;
  • 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 a short (3-4 page) writing sample.

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

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.

Metropolitan Planning Council 140 S. Dearborn St.
Suite 1400
Chicago, Ill. 60603
P 312 922 5616 F 312 922 5619
Helping create competitive, equitable, and sustainable communities

For 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 »

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