Communities Program Associate

Job Description


Program/Role: Communities Program Associate

Location: Minneapolis Office: 2801 21st Avenue South, Suite 220

Reports to: Communities Senior Program Manager

Type of Position: Full time, hourly position

Compensation: Salary range: $49,000-$57,000, commensurate with experience. Benefits include health plan (medical, dental, and disability), life insurance, competitive 401(k) retirement plan, paid time off, paid family leave, communication stipend, and professional development/tuition assistance.

Great Plains Institute’s Vision and Working Culture?

A national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis, the Great Plains Institute (GPI) is transforming the energy system to benefit the economy and environment. We combine a unique consensus-building approach, expert knowledge, research and analysis, and local action to find and implement lasting energy solutions. Our primary focus on equitably decarbonizing our nation’s energy systems also strengthens communities, enhances economic opportunity, creates high paying jobs, expands the nation’s industrial base, and builds energy independence through clean, renewable, and circular energy systems.

Our strategic areas of focus are carbon management, communities, energy systems, and transportation and fuels.?

Throughout our 25-year history, GPI has built a reputation for bringing together three skills that are rarely found in one organization:?

  • Nationally recognized energy policy and technology expertise?
  • A nuanced understanding of the commercial, local, and political realities that shape the energy sector
  • Well-honed facilitation, group process, consensus-building and advocacy techniques.?

Together, this skill set produces results in nearly any economic and political environment and offers an important antidote to today’s often fractured public discourse.?

GPI has a fast-paced entrepreneurial culture in which people enjoy both great freedom and great responsibility. People who thrive in this culture take personal responsibility for seeing what needs doing and getting it done. They are self-starters, problem-solvers, and quick to help others. They work hard because they believe in the mission and get to spend most of their time at the intersection of what they love to do and are good at. It’s a working environment in which performance is judged more on results than on time spent in a chair. We aspire to make this the best job anyone has ever had.

This Position?

GPI’s Communities Program goal is to ensure that equitable and inclusive action on clean energy, resilience, and climate solutions is accelerated and becomes the norm for the communities across our footprint. The teamwork includes a variety of projects, including coordinating local government cohorts and networks, facilitating community input processes, developing and implementing climate and energy planning, and providing technical assistance and capacity to local entities to develop clean energy projects including building efficiency, renewable energy, vehicle electrification, and multi-modal transportation.

To further support our audacious mission and vision, GPI is filling an open entry-level Program Associate position. The Communities Program Associate must be passionate about climate, energy, and community-scale action and enjoy working in an ever-changing environment that is mission-driven and consensus oriented.

The ideal candidate will have the ability to exercise good judgment in a variety of situations, maintain a realistic balance among multiple priorities, perform a wide variety of tasks, utilize effective methods for time management and prioritization of work, and possess the ability to identify and address urgent and important needs in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.

Hours may be flexible and are typically Monday through Friday during the business day, very occasional nights and weekends may be required. Some work can be remote, but this position will require some time in GPI’s Minneapolis office.


The Communities Program Associates work closely with Program Managers on projects related to local government clean energy goals and implementation, city climate and energy planning, stakeholder engagement, among other related topics.

  • (70%) Program Assistance: The Communities Program Associate will have primary responsibility for administrative and support tasks, working closely with program staff on a variety of projects including research, stakeholder engagement, and technical assistance. Program Associates:
  • Assist with administrative tasks related to grants and other funding sources. This includes supporting both proposal development and grant reporting. Support development of contracts with external partners as needed.
  • Coordinate with internal staff and external project partners to ensure timelines, deliverables, milestones, and goals are met.
  • Support the development of tools and resources for external stakeholders in coordination with project partners and staff, including production of documents and presentations, laying out reports, developing PowerPoints or other presentation materials.
  • Provide research and analytic support to Communities programs. This can include data collection, analysis and summarizing, phone or in-person interviews and web research.
  • Gather, organize, and analyze data in coordination with program staff, working with spreadsheets, geographic information systems, databases, and models.
  • Compile research results in useful forms. In some cases, this will be case studies or blogs, short written reports and in others, spreadsheets or databases.
  • Coordinate aspects of Community Team external communications such as keeping a calendar of project communications deadlines, ensuring that event information is posted to GPI’s websites and updating websites as needed, and writing case studies or blog drafts.
  • (30%) Meeting Coordination: Program Associates take the lead in planning GPI’s Communities Team project meetings and events. GPI meetings can range from two-hour affairs to full-day events. Specific tasks include:
  • Coordinate meetings with internal and external partners, including scheduling, agenda development (in coordination with program leads), taking and organizing meetings notes, and ensuring follow-ups are carried through. Conduct outreach as needed to ensure diverse and inclusive participation by communities and stakeholders.
  • Meet with GPI program staff and coalition or network leadership teams to understand their meeting objectives and requirements.
  • Assist program staff with project logistics.
  • Manage live webinars, including real-time surveys, small group break-outs, and recording both video and audio portions.
  • Identify and secure suitable venues for meetings.
  • If applicable, take care of other event logistics including travel and lodging for participants and speakers; food and catering; meeting notes; meeting handouts and packets; name tags; on-site signage; etc.
  • Serve as the point of contact for speakers & participants’ logistical needs.
  • Organize registration of event participants, which often includes working with an online service such as Eventbrite.
  • Work with program staff to update the GPI website and other project websites with event information and updates following the event.
  • Conduct post event evaluations to determine how to improve future events.
  • Help solicit sponsorships for meetings where appropriate.
  • Other programmatic assistance: As requested by the Program Manager or Vice President of Communities.


  • Education and Experience: 1-3 years of paid or volunteer experience in working with local governments, community organizations, sustainability, climate, renewable energy, transportation. Experience with both local governments and sustainability or climate is a plus. Bachelor’s degree with environmental studies, sustainability, energy, environmental justice is a plus.
  • Research and Writing: Excellent research, writing, and verbal communication skills
  • Project Coordination: the successful candidate is detail oriented, has excellent time and deadline management, is able to juggle multiple tasks, and is able to work independently.
  • People Skills: A team player with the ability to work with and for many kinds of people and able to “manage up” to ensure that you are effective in your role.
  • Meeting Planning: experience coordinating virtual, or in-person meetings or events is a plus.
  • Technical Skills: Competency in PowerPoint, spreadsheets, Zoom and Teams is required. Work with design or desktop publishing tools such as InDesign, Illustrator, Canva or other design tools is preferred. Experience with GIS tools is also a plus.
  • Values: Commitment to the mission and goals of the Great Plains Institute, passionate about equitably solving the climate challenge and about the potential for aggressive local climate and energy action.


Desktop computer and/or laptop, copier, fax machine, calculator, printer, telephone?


Requires working at a desk (either sitting or standing) for extended periods. Extensive use of devices (e.g., keyboard, mouse), as well as usage of telephone/headset. May require lifting of boxes up to 20 pounds on occasion.??


Required application materials include a resume and one-page cover letter. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

The Great Plains Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes a wide diversity of applicants.

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