Metropolitan Planning Council calls for applicants for two new paid fellowships - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Metropolitan Planning Council calls for applicants for two new paid fellowships

(Chicago) … The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) is pleased to announce two new paid fellowship opportunities—the Allard Fellowship and Wayfinding Fellowship—designed to recruit and retain highly talented and motivated graduate and undergraduate students for part-time, six-month stints at MPC.

For nearly 80 years, 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, infrastructure and development challenges. Through groundbreaking research, policy advocacy and cooperative demonstration projects, MPC develops approachable, clear solutions to metropolitan Chicago’s urgent problems, while thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow.

Since 2010, MPC has had approximately 90 Research Assistants, whose meaningful volunteer work has expanded MPC’s impact and generated a pipeline of talent for the organization: Six of eight full-time Associates MPC has hired in recent years have been current or former Research Assistants. MPC will continue to recruit volunteer Research Assistants while encouraging worthy candidates to apply for the paid 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.

“These fellowships are both designed to attract, cultivate and prepare diverse young talent for a future in public policy,” said MPC President MarySue Barrett. “We are grateful to our supporters, in particular longtime Board member James Mann, and friends and family of former MPC President Jean Allard, for giving us the means to provide two valuable opportunities each year for paid fellows.”

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.

Applications for the Wayfinding Fellowship are due March 31, for an April decision and a May 1 -October 31 fellowship period.  Applications for the Allard Fellowship are due May 30, for a June decision and a July 1 - December 31 fellowship period. Nomination forms and other application materials will be available on the Employment page on MPC’s web site soon.


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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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