Employment - Metropolitan Planning Council

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MPC offers paid and unpaid Research Assistant positions. We are now accepting applications for research assistant positions Fall 2021. 

MPC is carefully following CDC and Chicago Department of Public Health safety guidelines due to COVID-19. The organization has implemented a work from home policy for all staff and research assistants. 

Research Assistants 

We are now accepting applications for fall 2021 research assistant positions. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all positions are filled. MPC’s priority deadline for research assistants is September 12, 2021 but applications will be considered after that date until all positions are filled. 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 seeking RA applicants who are talented writers, investigators, communicators, and/or GIS users.

 MPC is carefully following CDC and Chicago Department of Public Health and safety guidelines due to COVID-19. The organization has implemented a work from home policy for all staff and research assistants. 

We’re currently recruiting RAs for fall 2021, particularly for the following priority projects:

Land Use and Planning: This program is working to advocate for land uses policies that create vibrant and thriving neighborhoods. Current work includes support the City’s We Will Chicago planning, engagement and implementation process. Responsibilities for this part-time, 3-month position include the following:

  • Support on Historical Reckoning scope of work for We Will Chicago;
  • Research and analyze similar planning efforts in other cities.

Transportation: MPC works on a wide range of transportation issues and advocates for strong regional policies. Responsibilities for this part-time, 4-6 month position include:  

  • Implementation of MPC’s report on universal accessibility of transportation,
  • Advocacy related to sustainable transportation funding, and developing of transportation policies for a post-COVID environment.

Policy research skills general knowledge of urban planning and policy issues necessary. GIS skills preferred but not required.

Water Resources: MPC uses research, advocacy, education and technical assistance to: 1) ensure clean, equitable and abundant drinking water; 2) prevent flooding and improve water quality; 3) facilitate and encourage stewardship of our natural assets; and 4) foster social, economic and environmental benefits within communities. This program area is currently looking to fill two postitons. 

Water Resources Research Assistant:

  • Assist with municipal stakeholder engagement and education related to the Drinking Water 1-2-3 Technical Assistance and nascent Water Champions initiatives
  • Participate in the administration of monthly meetings of the Calumet Stormwater Collaborative
  • Conduct qualitative research and writing related to water supply and stormwater management, with the specific topics to be decided based on the candidate's interest and experience

Water Resources Policy Research Assistant:

Assist in the implementation of the StormStore project--a partnership with The Nature Conservancy to startup Stormwater Trading Markets in NE Illinois. This project requires an entrepreneurial mindset, including the ability to context switch from the various stages of research and policy change, to project development and finance. Responsibilities will include project-related research, outreach to project stakeholders, content development, and other tasks as needed.

Skills and Qualifications:

  • Strong research, writing, and analytical skills
  • Ability to juggle projects, stay organized, and adhere to time tables
  • Ability to work well independently as well as with others
  • Ability to distill concise, accurate descriptions of complicated policy issues, or experience writing for lay audiences a plus
  • Strong computer skills, especially data science, geospatial, and/or illustration a plus

Stakeholder Engagement:

The community engagement team at MPC is working to connect stakeholders through various projects, including an equity learning cohort and stakeholder engagement roundtables. MPC seeks a research assistant to activate a justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) cohort which aims to strengthen equity across city departments and agencies. Additionally, the team member will help facilitate a series of bimonthly virtual stakeholder engagement roundtables to build a broader strategy and vision for community engagement in Chicago. Research assistant will provide administrative assistance to Community Engagement staff in the facilitation of various community engagement initiatives and projects. Responsibilities for this part-time, 3-month position (with possibility to extend) include the following:

  • Project management - ability to juggle multiple projects and timelines
  • Community and stakeholder engagement - understanding of equitable engagement, coalition building, and ability to work with diverse partners and ideas
  • Understanding and application of DEI, racial justice, and equity
  • Willingness to experiment and learn about thoughtful community engagement and human center design,
  • Background in urban planning and public policy is a plus

Marketing Communications: The Communications team leads the organization’s communications and marketing strategy that focuses on delivering relevant and informative messages that distill the wealth of MPC data, expertise, and solutions. The team executes organization-wide messages, program-specific communications, and MPC events. The Marketing Communications Creative Support Assistant is a full-time position with a duration of 6-months to 1 year and is responsible for the following but not limited to:

  • Website support, email support, events logistics, social media image design, and other lightly designed materials.

Previous experience writing blogs, social posts, and marketing email copy is considered a plus. A successful candidate is thoughtfully creative, a clear communicator, eager to learn and experiment with new techniques, and good with deadlines.

Overall program: 

Candidates receiving school credit or compensation through a fellowship or work-study program will receive preference in staffing decisions, but all are welcome to apply. MPC will have a very limited number of paid Research Assistant positions available in 2021-2022; please indicate in your application if you are seeking a paid or unpaid position. RAs are expected to commit at least three days of work per week. 

How to Apply: 

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all positions are filled. If you are interested in a position, 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.
  4. Compensation or credit:
    1. Compensation from MPC: Please note if you are applying for an unpaid Research Assistant position, or if you require compensation from MPC. 
    2. External compensation: Note if you are seeking Federal work-study compensation or external funding from your college/university or an outside program to fund your position at MPC. 
    3. Please note if you are applying for this position to receive college/university course credit, or fulfill an internship requirement. 

No phone calls, please. 

About MPC

Dedicated to shaping a better, bolder, more equitable future for everyone, Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) believes that every neighborhood has promise. Every community should be heard. And every person can thrive. Since 1934, this independent, nonpartisan organization has served metropolitan Chicago’s communities and residents to change perceptions, reimagine conversations, and defy the status quo. Through thoughtful collaboration with local communities, businesses, and governments, MPC is a bold change-maker, addressing the region’s toughest planning and development challenges. We believe that strong partnerships rooted in respect and trust are critical to creative and effective problem-solving. 

MPC is a values-driven workplace, and we are seeking candidates with a demonstrated commitment to creating a region that is:

  • Equitable: For MPC, equity means that every individual and community in our region has the opportunities they need to thrive. Promoting equity means that we recognize the harm that discrimination and racism have caused and continue to pose to our lives and neighborhoods. That’s why we drive policies, investments and ideas that ensure all current and future residents can reach their full potential.
  • Prosperous: For MPC, prosperity means that both metropolitan Chicago and all of its people are economically healthy and prepared for growth. MPC is focused on ensuring that everyone who lives and works in our region can provide for themselves and their families. We support commitments that bring resources, development, and fairly paid and quality jobs to all communities.
  • Sustainable: For MPC, sustainability means that our region meets the natural, human and financial needs of the present while improving conditions for future generations. MPC’s agenda supports ecological vitality, residents’ health and economic stability for the long term, and ensures that as things change, our region adapts.
  • Engaged and Responsible: For MPC, civic participation and effective government are cornerstones of our region’s viability. We drive policies that strengthen the participation and impact of residents in local and regional decisions. We also promote adaptive, collaborative, just and transparent governance at all levels.

EEOC/Diversity Statement: 

MPC is an equal opportunity employer. We stay true to our mission by celebrating the differences among us. We are committed to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion within our workplace and encourage applicants from a wide range of backgrounds, ages, and abilities to apply. We will not tolerate harassment, discrimination, or retaliation of any kind and we promote a climate of mutual respect for our employees.

Notices for available positions at MPC are posted here.

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

MPC is proud to be 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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Shaping a better, bolder, more equitable future for everyone

For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has partnered with communities, businesses, and governments to unleash the greatness of the Chicago region. We believe that every neighborhood has promise, every community should be heard, and every person can thrive. To tackle the toughest urban planning and development challenges, we create collaborations that change perceptions, conversations—and the status quo. Read more about our work »

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