Please note, this posting will remain open until February 21, 2022, with the first application review taking place on February 14, 2022. Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to apply prior to that date. We anticipate interviews for this position will be held in five weeks.
Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is seeking to hire four independent, self-starters with excellent analytical, problem solving, and communication skills to fill the role of Associate Regional Planner within our Housing and Economic Empowerment and Inclusive Economic Growth departments. If you have a background in housing planning and policy, economic and/or community development, and/or environmental justice and are seeking a role where you can support the development and implementation of several grant-funded initiatives, these positions are for you! These positions are full time, two-year limited term positions funded by the REAP 2021 grant and a State grant for implementation of SCAG’s Inclusive Economic Recovery Strategy (IERS). By applying to this posting, you will be considered for any of the four positions outlined below.
Associate Regional Planner – Housing Special Programs Unit (two positions available)
Under the general supervision of the Program Manager, the Associate Regional Planners will support the development and implementation of SCAG’s Regional Early Action Planning (REAP) 2021 program. Through REAP 2021, SCAG’s Housing and Economic Empowerment Department will launch a $75 – $100 million grant program focused on accelerating infill development, housing supportive infrastructure, and other housing related programs that support implementation of the Sustainable Communities Strategy and realization of the region’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) goals. The Associate Regional Planners will assist in the development of the overall program application to the State, the development and implementation of program guidelines, and coordination of REAP funded grants that providing direct funding and technical assistance. They will ensure that milestones are met in support of housing development, vehicle miles travelled reduction and other broad land use policies consistent with SCAG’s Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS), Connect SoCal. These positions will also play a key role in developing metrics to assess how much housing has been produced as a result of our programs.
Associate Regional Planner – Economic Empowerment
Under the general supervision of the Manager for Housing and Economic Empowerment and the Senior Planner for Economic Empowerment, the Associate Regional Planner will support the implementation of a portfolio of local technical assistance projects that support cities and counties working in partnership with non-profit and community-based organizations on activities focused on civic engagement, equity-focused land-use and transportation planning and environmental justice. The Associate Regional Planner will support the direct technical assistance and implementation activities, ensure that milestones are met in support of grant-funded goals that include housing development, vehicle miles travelled reduction, equity and environmental justice and other broad land use policies consistent with SCAG’s Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS), Connect SoCal. This position will also play a key role in developing metrics to assess program efficacy and reporting to the State grant funding agencies. The selected candidate will work closely with the Senior Planner, Department Manager and Deputy Director (Land Use) to continue and expand the newly formed Economic Empowerment program, with a focus on identifying and rectifying the impacts of racially discriminatory policies in SCAG’s environmental justice communities.
Housing and Economic Empowerment Department Overview
The newly formed Housing and Economic Empowerment Department includes the Housing Program, the Housing Special Programs Unit, and the Economic Empowerment Program. The Housing Program unit oversees the development of the SCAG region’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) every eight years, ongoing research and analysis of federal/state housing policies, assessment of development trends, and support for local housing plans and policies that advance regional goals. The Housing Program unit is also managing implementation of the current REAP 1 funds. The Economic Empowerment program was recently developed to identify and rectify the impacts of racially discriminatory policies in SCAG’s environmental justice communities through regional planning policy and support for local programs that promote economic empowerment, civic engagement, public health, resilience and other core issues identified by SCAG’s leadership.
Associate Regional Planner – Inclusive Economic Growth
Reporting to the Manager of Inclusive Economic Growth and working under the general direction of the Deputy Director of Planning (Land Use) and the Director of Planning, this position will both develop and support a series of collaboratives, best practices toolkits, and related studies focused on realizing the recommendations of SCAG’s recently adopted Inclusive Economic Recovery Strategy (IERS). They will also support the integration of economic opportunity into other components of SCAG’s work, including development of the 2024 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS). The Associate Regional Planner will support the Manager of Inclusive Economic Growth in the development and implementation for four key deliverables:
- Supporting expansion of the number of, and access to, middle wage jobs. This effort will produce six reports, one for each of SCAG’s 6 counties, that is an action-oriented implementation plan for training and expanded access to family supporting jobs.
- Strengthening supply chains and access to contracting opportunities. This effort will produce two best practice toolkits, which will be implementation oriented “how to” guides for (1) public sector and (2) anchor institutions to expand access to their supply chains and contracting opportunities to small, minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses.
- Construction apprenticeships and training. This effort will produce a set of recommendations and aim to create a pilot program to expand upon and improve training and apprenticeship programs with a focus on construction.
- Addressing human capital needs. This effort will produce a report with recommendations and best practices around core programmatic supports that expand access to training and employment, with an emphasis on lower income communities and communities of color.
The Associate Regional Planner and Manager will work closely with SCAG’s Senior Economist in the production of a fifth deliverable focused on development of regional data and studies that highlight the benefits of equitable access to economic opportunity, development of a State Jobs Quality index, and more granular county-level data on economic opportunity, including a focus on indigenous/tribal communities. The Associate Regional Planner will also support the Deputy Director of Planning (Land Use) in leading the Global Land Use and Economics (GLUE) Council, a business advisory body that meets bi-monthly, through content/agenda development and technical support. The Associate Regional Planner will bring the lens of economic development and inclusive economic growth to the policies and recommendations of the RTP/SCS.
Inclusive Economic Growth Department Overview
The Inclusive Economic Growth Department was formed to develop and oversee a series of collaboratives, best practices toolkits and related studies focused on realizing the recommendations of the IERS, and will support the integration of economic opportunity into other components of SCAG’s work, including development of the 2024 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS). This department will be managed by the Manager of Inclusive Economic Growth, who reports to the Deputy Director of Planning for Land Use. This department differs from the Economic Empowerment program described above in that its focus is on regional efforts versus more local efforts.
As a mission-driven organization, SCAG is committed to attracting and retaining talent who embody SCAG’s values. SCAG’s workforce is passionate and committed to innovation that improves the quality of life for all Southern Californians. When you join SCAG, you can expect a culture where collaboration and teamwork is fostered. SCAG acknowledges that work can be successfully performed in various locations using various work models. Effectiveness cannot be measured by the number of hours staff spent in an office – instead, productivity and collaboration can take place in many formats and venues. Designing a work environment and culture where SCAG’s mission, effectiveness, and collaboration can be more flexibly served demonstrates our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) by supporting work-life balance for our employees, retaining our existing dedicated staff, and increasing access to new talent pools. As a result, SCAG will operate as a hybrid organization, consisting of three work models (office, hybrid, and remote). Work model eligibility will depend on the department, position, responsibilities, and duties. All work models require employees to work from a location based within the SCAG region. Currently, all staff are working remotely until the program is implemented in Spring 2022.
SCAG headquarters is located in the hub of busy downtown Los Angeles, at Figueroa and 7th streets. SCAG has recently relocated to the 900 Wilshire Building, a new, multi-use hotel and office complex that features state of the art architecture and technology. The downtown area has expanded with LA Live, new restaurants, music, sports, shopping, libraries, museums and theaters. SCAG is in a culturally diverse area near Koreatown, Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Olvera Street and Grand Central Market. Southern California boasts near-perfect weather and close proximity to mountains, beaches and deserts, which encourages physical fitness and year-round activities.
For ease of commuting, the LA office is located across the street from the Metro Red Line 7th St. station and is easily accessible by commuter trains and buses serving surrounding areas. Metro’s light rail and subway connect downtown LA to Hollywood, Universal City, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Azusa, Long Beach and many vibrant and up-and-coming neighborhoods.
WHO WE ARE:
Founded in 1965, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is a Joint Powers Authority under California state law, established as an association of local governments and agencies that voluntarily convene as a forum to address regional issues. Under federal law, The SCAG region encompasses six counties (Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura) and 191 cities in an area covering more than 38,000 square miles. The agency develops long-range regional transportation plans including sustainable communities’ strategy and growth forecast components, regional transportation improvement programs, regional housing needs allocations and a portion of the South Coast Air Quality management plans. Currently, the Regional Council consists of 86 members.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
To foster innovative regional solutions that improve the lives of Southern Californians through inclusive collaboration, visionary planning, regional advocacy, information sharing, and promoting best practices.
Southern California’s Catalyst for a Brighter Future.
SCAG CORE VALUES
- Be Open: Be accessible, candid, collaborative and transparent in the work we do.
- Lead by Example: Commit to integrity and equity in working to meet the diverse needs of all people and communities in our region.
- Make an Impact: In all endeavors, effect positive and sustained outcomes that make our region thrive.
- Be Courageous: Have confidence that taking deliberate, bold and purposeful risks can yield new and valuable benefits.
In this role you can expect to:
- Assist with development of either the Inclusive Economic Growth implementation strategies or the REAP 2021 housing and economic empowerment programs
- Perform technical and policy research and analysis for the assigned grant funded programs, including both qualitative and quantitative analyses.
- Coordinate with the SCAG Public Affairs team and consultants to develop and implement broad stakeholder engagement efforts, communicate to SCAG and external policy committees and working groups.
- Lead consultant procurement for programs and technical assistance for the grant-funded programs
- Prepare technical reports, presentations, and material for public outreach purposes.
- Engage with a variety of stakeholders by responding to requests for data and information on the grant-funded work programs.
- Supervise and/or assist with the supervision of technical consultants and provide technical direction and functional supervision to subordinate staff.
- Assist in the administration of consultant contracts and grant filing requirements.
- Manage content for communication on the grant-funded work including webpage updates, FAQs and other means of communication
- Support SCAG departments in the analysis and development of the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS) with respect to strategies and policies for inclusive economic growth, housing and economic empowerment.
- Serve as a technical and policy liaison with the Regional Council, other SCAG Policy Committees, and outside agencies including pertinent environmental groups, government/regulatory agencies as it pertains to housing, economic empowerment and economic growth.
- Perform other related duties and responsibilities as assigned.
You will be a good fit if you have these must-haves:
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in urban planning, economic development, public policy or a related field.
EXPERIENCE: Two years of professional urban and/or regional planning experience with focus on housing, economic and/or community development or environmental justice.
You will hit the ground running in this role if you also have:
- The ability to interpret technical data as it relates to public policy
- Sound research skills, with the ability to effectively communicate findings both orally and in writing
- High attention to detail, strong analytical abilities and problem-solving skills
- Knowledge of housing principles and understanding of program implementation
- Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite; proficiency in GIS/mapping also desired but not required
- A Master’s degree in a related area
KNOWLEDGE OF: Principles of urban planning, housing policy and development, economic development, land use and building collaboratives, with an emphasis on equity, civic engagement and economic empowerment; methods and techniques of effective technical report preparation and presentation; recent developments, current literature and sources of information related to urban planning, housing and economic development; Microsoft Offices Suite; modern office practices, methods and computer equipment.
ABILITY TO: Plan and coordinate multi-disciplinary projects; investigate planning problems and identify logical solutions; prepare clear, effective and accurate reports and presentations; respond to public requests and inquiries; represent agency in stakeholder meetings; analyze and compile technical and statistical information and prepare reports; communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing; establish, maintain and foster positive and harmonious working relationships, team spirit and collaboration with those contacted in the course of work; analyze complex problems and identify logical solutions; interpret regional planning programs to the general public and to member agencies; independently identify and present solutions to perform professional planning work with supervision.