Employment - Metropolitan Planning Council

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MPC offers unpaid Research Assistant positions and an unpaid Development Intern position. We are now accepting applications for Fall 2017 positions (details below). 

Research Assistant

We are now accepting applications for Fall 2017 positions. The priority deadline is August 18, 2017, but applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all positions are filled. 

Current needs: 

Research assistants 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 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 Fall 2017, 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 component aims to quantify various impacts of our economically and racially segregated region; research questions 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 next steps with MPC's Municipal Capacity strategy paper with CMAP, 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, urban flooding, climate resilience and more. Strong writing skills as well as qualitative and quantitative research required.

Transportation. MPC is finalizing its forward-looking transportation policy and research agenda, which could include projects focused on safety, equity, walkability and transit access to employment hubs among other topics. Strong writing skills, familiarity with transportation poilcy as well as qualitative and quantitative research required.

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.

Productive Lands. This project will focus on land conservation 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 (funded by Donnelley); the Calumet Land Conservation Partnership project on wetlands mitigation and stormwater management in the Indiana portion of the Little Calumet Watershed (funded by Donnelley and ArcelorMittal); and a potential project with Openlands to develop a land acquisition plan for the Cook/Will County border. 

State of the Region. This project aims to capture how the 7-county Chicagoland region is doing 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 analysis, 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.

Communications. MPC's Communications team seeks an energetic, organized journalism student to craft narrative around our programmatic work in areas such as segregation, riverfront development, affordable housing and transportation. We want to add depth to our data journalism and urban planning through storytelling—and with the assistance of a skilled reporter who's comfortable going out into the field. Photography skills essential. Comfort with audio and video preferred. Infographic production experience strongly desired.

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. 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 Fall 2017 is Friday, August 18, but applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all positions are filled.  If you are interested in a position for Fall 2017, 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 a four-month unpaid Development Internship from September 2017 to December 2017.

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 is Friday, September 15, 2017. 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.

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

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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 »

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