The City of San José seeks a Climate Smart Equity fellow to advance our equity work and lay the groundwork for the City’s long-term goal of institutionalizing equity into Climate Smart San José, the City’s climate action plan. The fellow will join an interdepartmental team of sustainability professionals at the City of San José, who are dedicated to addressing climate change, reducing the City’s greenhouse gas emissions and committed to advancing equity and inclusion in climate mitigation policies and programs. The person in this role will gain an understanding of how different environmental indicators impact minority communities; have the opportunity to build relationships with these communities and shape our community engagement work.
Climate Smart San José, adopted by the City Council in 2018, is a communitywide initiative to reduce air pollution, save water and improve quality of life. Climate Smart San José is one of the nation’s first detailed city plans for reaching the targets of the international Paris Agreement to reduce climate pollution. To get there, Climate Smart sets ambitious goals for energy, water, transportation and local jobs.
In October 2018, San José was selected as one of 25 cities for the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge. San José has used support from the Climate Challenge to turbocharge the implementation of Climate Smart San José. Specifically, San José has worked with Climate Challenge partners to develop and implement a shared electric-vehicle strategy, implement high-priority segments for the City’s walking and bicycling network; increase new mobility options such as bike- and scooter-sharing; develop a roadmap to eliminate natural gas use in housing; and require newer buildings to be all-electric, as well as ready to install solar power and electric-vehicle charging.
The fellow will report to the city’s Climate Advisor within the Sustainability and Compliance Division (SCD) of the Environmental Services Department. SCD brings together professional staff involved with establishing environmental policies and programs; implementing health, safety and compliance activities; advancing clean energy technology; and integrating green practices into City and community activities.
The fellow will also be a part of an interdepartmental team of sustainability professionals, including staff from various departments: Environmental Services, Housing, Transportation, Community Energy, (also known as San José Clean Energy), and community partners such as Mothers Out Front.
The fellow will assist City staff in advancing equity work primarily by:
- Developing a common understanding of the environmental burdens that underrepresented and minority communities face
- Enhancing existing relationships and establishing new relationships with community-based organizations serving underserved and underrepresented communities; and
- Using equity best practices to help develop a climate equity narrative, which will include recommendations on how to improve community engagement practices with underrepresented communities, and how these practices and research can inform our sustainability policies.
The fellow will advance this work through three projects:
1. Equity Best Practices: Building on existing fellows’ work, the fellow will interview regional municipal partners from the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) and the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) to learn how other cities have incorporated equity into their climate action planning and community engagement projects. The fellow will compile lessons learned and recommendations from those partners and present them to the Climate Smart team.
2. Assessment of Existing Community Engagement Initiatives: The fellow will also conduct interviews and survey community organizations including Vietnamese Voluntary Foundation (VIVO), Veggielution, Latinos United for a New America (LUNA), Sacred Heart, SOMOS Mayfair in order to identify:
a. each community’s top priorities and evolving needs especially amid COVID
b. new opportunities to communicate and engage community members while distancing, using different channels, and social media platforms; and
c. best practices and gaps in engagement with low-income and minority communities
The fellow will produce a report detailing recommendations and present them to the Climate Smart team.
3. Climate Equity Narrative Development: The fellow will gather qualitative and quantitative data and information (e.g. demographic data, redlining, Superfund sites, interviews, community meetings etc.) into a narrative on the inequities that underrepresented and minority communities face, specifically as it relates to Climate Smart San José. This narrative will assist City staff and community partners in developing a common understanding of San José’s environmental disparities and work towards the goal of environmental justice. Based on these findings, the fellow will assist City staff to develop a strategic planning process for implementing racial equity goals in various programs supporting Climate Smart San José and the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge.
Relevant website links:
Review existing information on equity best practices and develop questions to survey regional municipal partners; meet community partners
Review existing research and data on the relationship between race and income with environmental disparities, specific to San José and Santa Clara County
Working with community partners, interview and conduct outreach to low-income and minority communities
Produce report on recommendations for the City to improve future outreach
Produce report on lessons learned, best practices and recommendations on equity best practices
Produce narrative that develops a common understanding of how environmental inequities have played out in San José and what environmental justice would look like including racial equity goals
Present findings to the Climate Smart team
Month 3 – final week
Candidate Preferences and Desired Skills
Preference will be given to candidates residing in San José, CA or the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Successful candidates will be able to demonstrate some combination of the following skills, experiences, and abilities:
- A demonstrated commitment to social justice, environmental justice, and community-driven work
- Familiarity with San José’s environmental challenges and opportunities
- Experience working directly with people from a wide variety of ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, educational, linguistic, and religious backgrounds, as well as people of various physical abilities, sexual orientations, gender identities, and generations
- Local cultural competence and above average emotional intelligence, including the ability to listen and convey empathy for others’ situations, perceptions, and feelings from their point of view
- Take initiative, be creative, and work well both independently and collaboratively
- Have strong project- and time-management skills and can be flexible when needed
- Have a growth mindset, welcome feedback, and engage in reflection and self-assessment
- Have a commitment to equity and an interest in overcoming barriers to civic engagement
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office Programs
- Ability to speak Spanish or Vietnamese is highly desirable, though not required
- Completion of at least a high school or equivalent (General Education Development [GED] Test or California Proficiency Certificate).
Professional Development and Support
The fellow will be connected to City staff and other community partners with similar interests for informational interviews and mentorship. The fellow will receive a $200 education reimbursement to further their professional development, including areas outside of the project scope. The fellow will be able to learn from and connect with other City fellows such as CivicSpark, Climate Corps Bay Area, and/or Americorps. These networks have various fellowships throughout the Bay Area, which the Fellow can utilize.
Pay Rate and Housing
$24/hour for up to 480 hours. As San José State University (SJSU) is across the street from City Hall, the fellow can join the SJSU Student Off-Campus Housing Facebook group to find shared housing. Additionally, the City hires fellows from other fellowship programs. The fellow may opt to find shared living with the City’s other fellows.
This position will currently be 100% remote, pending further direction from the County Public Health Official. The fellow may eventually be required to work 100% on-site.
Federal law requires all employees to provide verification of their eligibility to work in this country. Please be informed that the City of San Jose will NOT sponsor, represent or sign any documents related to visa applications/transfers for H1-B or any other type of visa which requires an employer application.
Applications should be sent to the Urban Sustainability Directors Network at email@example.com. Please include the “San José Fellowship” in the email subject line. DO NOT SUBMIT APPLICATIONS USING CALOPPS!
Applications should include:
- Completed and signed application form available for download here.
- Current resume
The application deadline is 11:59 pm on July 10th.