The Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) is pleased to offer 2024 fellowship opportunities with local governments. The Equity Diversity Inclusion Fellowship is a summer program that addresses an existing disparity in representation of people of color in sustainability fields and the USDN member network. Fellows will receive valuable learning experiences while helping local governments advance sustainability and inclusion goals. Read more on the EDI fellowship here. This recruitment will support the City of Fort Collins, Colorado. Urban Sustainability Directors Network is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We strongly encourage applications from qualified people of all gender expressions and identities, sexual orientations, racialized communities, veterans, Indigenous persons, and persons with disabilities. Should you require accommodation through the application process, please let us know.

Term: Estimated May 24, 2024 for initial onboarding with USDN; June 3, 2024 – August 26, 2024 with City of Fort Collins, Environmental Services Dept.
Job Classification: Hourly/Non-Exempt, Full-time, Temporary
Compensation & Benefits: $25/hour (480 hour Fellowship) + 100% employer sponsored health, dental and vision insurance during the employment term.
Location: Onsite with the City of Fort Collins, Environmental Services Department
Closing Date: Applications will be accepted until April 12th @ 5pm Pacific Standard Time (PST)

Position Summary:

The City of Fort Collins Environmental Services department is seeking a Community Leadership for Climate Equity Fellow to support the Climate Equity Committee (CEC) and the Air Quality Monitoring Advisory Committee (AQMAC) in achieving their respective goals. The fellow will play a critical role in helping these committees achieve their primary objectives which are:

To strengthen community partnerships and;
Build leadership capacity among historically excluded community members in support of climate justice, shared power, and environmental sustainability.

Host Information & Project Background:

The City of Fort Collins is working to advance the strategies and vision laid out in Our Climate Future (OCF). While Fort Collins has had a Climate Action Plan since 2005, OCF was the first major City planning effort with a defined intent to center in equity and lead with race. Leading with race means that we recognize the most disparate outcomes in our country follow racial lines, and that Fort Collins is no exception. While the adoption of OCF was an important step forward, we know that equity is an ongoing journey; the City is committed to staying on the path to place people at the center of the work. To address the root cause of the climate emergency we must seek social and environmental justice, liberating ourselves from systems of oppression based on a colonial, white supremacy mindsets of extraction and exploitation.

One important way the City of Fort Collins is putting these principles into practice is through the development of equity-focused committees made up of community members with lived experience and direct connections to historically marginalized groups. The support of a 2024 EDI Fellow, at this point in the process, will offer continuity from the work of our previous Fellow, and will ensure the committees are living up to the goal of transferring power to community leaders. The CEC prioritizes equity accountability for climate work with a secondary purpose to develop civic leadership skills within historically marginalized parts of the community as members build skills to inform and influence City processes and systems. While the committee’s focus has initially been on advising for City-led initiatives, the scope may expand in the future to include community-led projects and programs related to OCF. The newest committee formed to support our regional air quality and health focused priorities is the AQMAC. In November 2023 the City of Fort Collins, Colorado State University, and the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment were selected to receive an environmental justice grant award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for outdoor air monitoring and education within Larimer County. The primary goal of this grant is to promote equity through an environmental justice lens by engaging community-based organizations and stakeholders within the region, while establishing air quality monitors in communities that may not typically have the opportunity to measure air toxins that may impact their health. The AQMAC will provide guidance, recommendations, and support to promote effective air quality monitoring, analysis, and communication strategies that will improve health and equity for residents.

Responsibilities or Scope of Work Details:

Climate Equity Committee:

Collaborate with committee members to define a clear purpose, charter, and transition plan between current and future members of the Climate Equity Committee.
Support the committee in aligning its goals with the objectives outlined in ‘Our Climate Future’ (e.g., Address ‘Big Moves’ and ‘Next Moves’ related to Air Quality and Equity as stated in OCF).

Air Quality Monitoring Advisory Committee:

Support CSU and the City of Fort Collins in engaging with community groups through culturally relevant activities, with the goal of establishing monitoring priorities, addressing specific emission sources, while prioritizing the needs of underserved residents.
Collaborate in creating educational campaigns that increase awareness and understanding of air pollution and air quality data, emphasizing the betterment of public health as stated by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.
Craft educational opportunities through the arts, that boost community member capacity in navigating bad air quality days and is appropriate for sensitive groups identified by the EPA and CDPHE.

Racial Equity-Informed Communications and Engagement Support:

Support staff to adapt the International Association of Public Participation’s (IAP2) Spectrum of Engagement throughout the department’s engagement efforts, with a heavy emphasis on Environmental Services moving up the ladder from ‘inform’ to ’empower’ to mitigate historical slow violence perpetuated onto communities of color and those with marginalized identities.
Collaborate with the Environmental Services Department leadership team to integrate and establish accountability to racial equity principles within the department’s communications and engagement strategies.
Support department use of the GARE Racial Equity Toolkit to inform the development of inclusive and community-centered communication strategies.
Assist in crafting messaging that reflects the department’s commitment to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Enhance community outreach efforts to ensure broader participation in environmental initiatives by addressing historical disparities.

Desired Skills:

Successful candidates will be able to demonstrate some combination of the following skills, experiences, and abilities:

An understanding of the concepts of institutional and structural racism and bias and their impact on underserved and underrepresented communities, and comfort with communicating about institutional and structural racism and bias.
Understanding of how people engage differently due to cultural and socioeconomic differences.
A history of community involvement through charitable organizations, volunteer groups, religious organizations, etc.
Experience developing communication materials for diverse audiences and presenting information to large and small groups.
Experience working directly with or living among people from diverse racial, ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Experience incorporating the perspectives of multiple communities, including Hispanic/Latinx, indigenous, and low-income communities, in the consideration of impacts and outcomes of a decision-making process.
Passion for climate justice, making a difference in communities, and finding collaborative solutions to achieving goals.
Ability to connect sustainability, environmental issues, and/or climate change to the lived experiences of people of color, disabled, and low-income populations.
Interest or experience in general urban planning principles or related subject areas such as housing, transportation, environment, social work, government, community, or economic development, etc.
Take a look at the projects of past EDI Fellows for examples of past projects.

In addition, a successful candidate should be able to demonstrate:

Strong written and oral communication skills.
Ability to communicate by phone, email, or in person in one-to-one or group settings.
Commitment to work as part of a team and to collaborate successfully with others.
Ability to commit to excellence in service and to continuous improvement.
Commitment to work with and treat with respect people of diverse cultural, ethnic, and social backgrounds.
Ability to read, speak, write, and comprehend English is required. Bilingual Spanish is desirable/preferred.
Ability to use Microsoft Office, including Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

USDN Requirements for EDI Fellows:

Participating in a a 2-3 hour virtual retreat with USDN prior to starting the program to ensure that fellows are properly onboarded, introduced to their projects, and introduced to the cohort;
Engaging in peer-to-peer mentorship in a national learning cohort of USDN EDI fellows and mentorship from USDN staff;
Attending monthly individual coaching calls with USDN staff;
Ongoing preparation for the Annual Meeting presentation and become comfortable talking about their work;
Committing to completing a fellowship profile (like the ones displayed on the website) prior to the final day of the fellowship period.

Professional Development: Sustainability Services is a very supportive and welcoming environment. The Fellow will have a primary supervisor who will provide general support and resources available to ensure the Fellow is successful and has a positive experience. They will provide onboarding and orientation to the organization and the City to help develop a network of people within City Departments and community partners. The Fellow will also have additional mentoring and training opportunities through the Environmental Services Department, including former USDN EDI Fellows. This experience will provide the Fellow with many benefits, including professional experience working in municipal government, building a network of public and non-profit community groups, and an expanded knowledge and experience from being directly involved in the implementation of Our Climate Future with equity leadership as a core commitment.

Compensation and Benefits: This is a temporary, full-time, hourly, non-exempt position 40 hours a week. Fellows will earn an hourly wage of $25.00 per hour. The maximum number of hours for a fellowship over a 12-week period is 480 hours. Fellows will be placed with the host site but will be employed by USDN and are eligible to sign-up for USDN’s generous health, dental, and vision benefits which are 100% employer-sponsored for the duration of their fellowship. Fellows who apply for a position that is not local to where they reside are responsible for the cost of their own relocation. USDN covers the cost of travel and accommodation for Equity Fellows to attend our Annual Meeting, which will be in Minneapolis MN this year.

Application Details: To apply, we request that you attach a copy of your resume and provide a cover letter detailing your interest and qualifications (use the questions below). As you submit your application, you will also be asked to complete an application questionnaire. If you have any questions about the program or need any accommodations to apply for this opportunity, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We will keep all applicants apprised of the process as it unfolds, and decisions are made.

Please answer the following questions in your cover letter:

Why do you want to be an EDI fellow? Include a description of your career goals and how this fellowship would help you to achieve them.
Describe how your skills and experience might match a project focused on sustainability, climate action, and/or resilience.
Describe what you believe it means to do work with a racial equity lens.
Describe your experience working with communities of color.
Describe your experience making an impact in communities, including communities of color.
Describe what you hope to experience in your cohort of fellows.
Urban Sustainability Directors Network is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to equal treatment of all employees without regard to race, national origin, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, veteran status, physical or mental disability, or other basis protected by law. We strongly encourage applications from qualified people of all gender expressions and identities, sexual orientations, racialized communities, Indigenous persons, veterans and persons with disabilities.

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