Employment - Metropolitan Planning Council

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MPC is currently accepting applications for a Director of Transportation; Associate/Manager, Equitable Transit-Oriented DevelopmentExecutive Assistant; and Research Assistants. We also offer two paid fellowships, The Allard and Wayfinding Fellowships (details below), but the 2016 deadlines have passed.

Director of Transportation

The opportunity:

The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) seeks a highly skilled Director of Transportation to advance and shape the direction of core initiatives and contribute to the organization’s growth and impact.

Position overview:

MPC has expanded its commitment to the development, analysis and advocacy of policies that will lead to an improvement of the condition of the Chicago region’s infrastructure.  Recent research has shown that Illinois needs to invest $43 billion in its transportation infrastructure over the next decade due to years of neglect. With the state’s fiscal condition in disarray, and with many competing priorities, MPC is a leading voice in pushing for a long term solution to Illinois’ capital investment to unlock growth.

MPC executes its work plan through a variety of mechanisms. Our Board of Governors  and three Program Committees drive the organization’s policy development. The Director of Transportation will lead the activities of the Regional Planning & Investment Committee. MPC also frequently partners with other entities and leads coalitions and working groups; the Director will oversee the Accelerate Illinois coalition, comprised of over 30 entities from the private and civic sectors, which articulates the urgent need for investment in transportation infrastructure.

We also believe that investing in equitable transit oriented development (TOD) will help reverse the trend of stagnant growth across Chicagoland. MPC’s Grow Chicago initiative is an interdisciplinary approach that combines sound research, community engagement and outreach to elected officials to cluster balanced growth near transit.

As part of MPC’s management team, the Director of Transportation contributes to the development of organization-wide strategies and direction and oversees the execution of objectives in alignment with MPC’s strategic plan. This position reports to MPC’s President and is a member of the Management Team.

MPC is largely privately funded with 40% of its annual budget from foundations, 40% from corporations and the remainder from endowment earnings and individuals, and the occasional modest government grant.  MPC is a financially robust organization that enjoys a $10 million endowment.  

The successful candidate will be a dynamic extrovert, passionate about being a part of a highly motivated team working to create a competitive, equitable and sustainable metropolitan Chicago. S/he will have demonstrated experience managing teams and working on an interdisciplinary basis with peers.  S/he must be independent, a strategic thinker, highly organized and personable, comfortable with public speaking, and possess excellent written communication skills that appeal to diverse audiences, including both the private sector and government officials from the entire geography in which MPC works – Chicago, the tri-state region, and across Illinois.

Key responsibilities:

  • Strategic planning, implementation and tracking;
  • Build, supervise and support a creative, energetic and high-performing team (both direct reports and others) in carrying out transportation objectives;
  • Board and Committee engagement;
  • Resource development; and
  • Market ideas and solutions to a variety of constituencies.

Knowledge, skills and abilities:

  • BA/BS degree required, advanced degree preferred;
  • Familiarity with the Chicago region and its public and private transportation players, including railroads, logistics and professional associations;
  • 6+ years of experience on land use development, transportation planning and infrastructure investment issues;
  • Familiarity and experience with the Chicago philanthropic community;
  • Strong analytical, strategic thinking and management skills, including an understanding of nonprofit financial statements;
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills and ability to make compelling public presentations; and
  • Experience managing complex programs and balancing multiple priorities effectively.

Search and application process:

Please send the following materials by e-mail to: Skyler Larrimore at SLarrimore@metroplanning.org

  1. A cover letter that speaks to the ideal qualities and skills outlined in this position description;
  2. A résumé and salary history;
  3. A writing sample; and
  4. Three references.

No phone calls please. MPC is an equal opportunity employer. 

Associate/Manager, Equitable Transit-Oriented Development

About MPC:

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 is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with an established tract-record of high-quality research, advocacy and demonstration projects to help our region and its local communities thrive. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems—with a focus on economic development, vibrant neighborhoods, quality housing and transportation choices and well-managed natural assets—and we think ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow.

With a professional staff of 23 and growing, three Senior Fellows and a team of Research Assistants, MPC’s 2016 budget is $3.6 million.  More information on MPC can be found online at: https://www.metroplanning.org

The position:

MPC is hiring a full-time associate or manager to support current and future work on equitable transit-oriented development (eTOD). This individual will be a part of developing outreach and engagement strategies to promote our Grow Chicago Initiative and will provide technical support to communities, developers and elected officials seeking to initiate eTOD projects.

MPC is searching for a highly motivated individual with outreach and organizing experience as well as knowledge of planning and zoning and background in community development and/or urban planning. Strong public speaking, project management and facilitation skills are essential. Candidates should be comfortable in a range of settings from community forums to one-on-one meetings across the region’s geography. Relationships with elected officials, community organizations, business and civic leaders and media in the City of Chicago and inner suburbs are a plus.

The position will report to MPC Director Marisa Novara and will work closely with the communications team.

Primary responsibilities:

  • Develop and maintain a comprehensive database of projects, neighborhoods, major stakeholders, key meetings and dates.
  • Engage and educate elected and appointed officials to become strong proponents of eTOD and related MPC policies.
  • Conduct in-depth neighborhood outreach to advance MPC’s Grow Chicago agenda, and prepare staff to support community planning and provide technical assistance. This includes researching neighborhood challenges and opportunities, identifying and securing the participation of key stakeholders, developing materials to communicate best practices and principles, and facilitating convenings.
  • Maintain and update the Grow Chicago TOD calculator as needed, integrating it with a tool developed by the Center for Neighborhood Technology.
  • If selected for the Strong Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARRC) funding, participate in the implementation of a regional agenda to align investment in eTOD projects that increase racial equity, improve health disparities and support climate resilience.
  • Serve as MPC liaison on the Together Chicago eTOD collaborative. This includes developing a coordinated outreach strategy with partner agencies and organizations.
  • Communicate development and zoning concepts to a variety of audiences with limited to advanced knowledge of housing and community development.
  • Provide technical support to communities, partners and practitioners in understanding on the Chicago TOD ordinance and zoning implications, and replicating it in receptive suburbs.
  • Conduct neighborhood level demographic research and analysis including census and market data to inform community engagement.
  • Track major developments or policies related to eTOD goals in communities and identifying the key ways in which MPC can be impactful.  
  • Attend community meetings, testifying at City Council or other major events and/or preparing other staff to do so, and have one-on-one meetings with public officials.
  • Work with MPC’s communications team to write about and share materials with a variety of audiences, including via social media.
  • Assist MPC colleagues with translating lessons learned from outreach into policy reform recommendations, to be communicated through original reports, policy briefings, and dialogue with elected officials.

Knowledge, skills and abilities:

MPC seeks an organized, high-energy individual who thrives in a collegial work environment and can juggle multiple deadlines at once. The ideal candidate holds a master’s degree in a relevant field, and has at least three years of relevant organizing and outreach experience.

A qualified candidate:

  • is an analytical and creative thinker able to help expand MPC’s outreach;
  • is a self-starter, able to prioritize, handle concurrent tasks and projects, and work in a fluid environment;
  • is able to communicate directly and work collaboratively with staff colleagues and external partners;
  • is experienced with GIS programs such as ArcMap or QGIS and online mapping libraries (Google maps, Cartodb, etc.); strong spatial analysis and mapping skills
  • is knowledgeable about zoning and Chicago zoning code in particular
  • is passionate about the body of issues that MPC addresses and committed to supporting the organization’s mission;
  • enjoys a fast-paced, intellectually-stimulating workplace;
  • is an excellent writer and an articulate speaker in a range of settings;
  • is both entrepreneurial and executes skillfully on assigned work;
  • has a working knowledge of relevant actors and institutions in the Chicago region; and
  • has experience communicating complex ideas to a diverse audiences.

How to apply:

Please send the following materials by email to: Angie Leyva at ALeyva@metroplanning.org    

1) A letter detailing how your experience relates to the job being filled;

2) Your résumé and salary history; and

3) A short writing sample (2-3 pages)

4) Three references  

No phone calls please. MPC is an equal opportunity employer.

Executive Assistant

The Opportunity

MPC seeks a detail-minded Executive Assistant who possesses enthusiasm for MPC's agenda and an eagerness to assist our leadership in furthering our mission. The Executive Assistant provides administrative, programmatic and organizational  support and reports directly to the President.

The Position

The Executive Assistant is responsible for:

  •  scheduling, coordinating, and handling meeting preparation and follow-up and occasional travel arrangements  for the President;
  • coordinating Board and Executive Committee meetings, including drafting agendas and correspondence, communicating needs and deadlines to relevant staff member  and preparing  meeting  minutes;
  • managing logistics for board meetings, committee meetings, roundtables  and other events;
  • daily monitoring of and handling responses to emails directed to the President and initiating social media posts;
  • assisting the President and  the  Vice President of  Philanthropy with development and  fundraising responsibilities;
  • researching, drafting and producing memos. correspondence and blog posts for a diverse set of audiences and partners;
  • fielding phone calls and emails, managing  mass mailings, assisting with  hospitality needs in common  office spaces and other general administrative  tasks;
  • providing program  support  to the transportation and regional investments team;
  • facilitating smooth internal communication between program, research, communications and development staff; and
  • updating MPC's Raiser's Edge constituent database and Outlook.

MPC is looking  for an intelligent, highly organized, personable individual who  thrives in a collegial work  environment and can juggle multiple  deadlines at once. The preferred candidate will have a bachelor's degree and at least 2 years of work experience. Prior administrative experience and policy interest/experience is strongly preferred. The last two individuals in this position were promoted, demonstrating our commitment to advancement. 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

Since 1934, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has been dedicated to shaping a more sustainable and prosperous greater Chicago region.  As an independent nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, MPC serves communities and residents by developing, promoting and implementing solutions for sound regional  growth.

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 resume 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. 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 a longtime MPC Board member, 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. 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.

In 2017 MPC will once again offer a Fellowship. We are no longer accepting applications or nominations for 2016.

How to Apply

Please send the following materials by e-mail to Josh Ellis, program director and research assistant coordinator, at jellis@metroplanning.org:

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: www.metroplanning.org

MPC is an equal opportunity employer.

Research Assistant

Starting Date: Rolling start dates

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 2016, particularly for the following priority projects (as of August 2016):

Great Rivers Chicago. This project is working to implement an exciting vision for the next 100 years of Chicago’s rivers, and in the summer of 2016 will shift from planning to implementation. Community engagement, GIS, research and design skills needed.

Cost of Segregation. This project is looking to quantify the negative impacts of our economically and racially segregated region. GIS, qualitative and quantitative research and writing skills needed.

Transform Illinois. This project is identifying ways to make our governmental bodies more effective by streamlining delivery and consolidating services. 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 facilitation of the Calumet Stormwater Collaborative, research into stormwater infrastructure financing and more. GIS, qualitative and quantitative research and writing skills needed.

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: 

Please send the following materials by e-mail to Josh Ellis, program director and research assistant coordinator, at jellis@metroplanning.org:

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;

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.

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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