Communities Program Associate

Great Plains Institute
Organization Summary

 A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, the Great Plains Institute (GPI) is accelerating the transition to net-zero carbon emissions for the benefit of people, the economy, and the environment. Increased demand for GPI’s unique blend of energy expertise and consensus-derived solutions has driven organizational and programmatic growth. With headquarters in Minnesota, GPI’s operations are national in scope while retaining a core competency in the Midcontinent region. GPI is powered by more than 60 professionals and is supported by some of the nation’s most respected philanthropies.


The following values inform the way we work both inside and outside of GPI. It is important to us to be trusted, inclusive, equitable, pragmatic, and transformative:


Trusted. We base our approach and actions on trust, mutual respect, and accountability.

Inclusive. We achieve impact through inclusive and deliberate collaboration with a diversity of interests.

Equitable. We strive for equity in our approach and outcomes.

Pragmatic. We take a clear-eyed view of the world as it is, even as we seek to improve it.

Transformative. We are a bold and passionate catalyst for change. 


Posting Date
Closing Date
Location in MN
Job type

Salary range: $50,000-$58,000, commensurate with experience. Benefits include a health plan, 401(k) retirement plan, LTD, STD, life, vision, dental, FSA/HSA, paid time off, professional development allowance, and a communication stipend.


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. 

Primary Duties

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. The primary focus of this position will be supporting local governments in transforming the market for vehicle electrification and multi-modal transportation. 


(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:

  1. Coordinate with internal staff and external project partners to ensure project timelines, deliverables, milestones, and goals are met.
  2. 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.  
  3. 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.
  4. Provide research and analytic support to Communities programs. This can include data collection, analysis and summarizing, phone or in-person interviews and web research. 
  5. Gather, organize, and analyze research results in coordination with program staff, working with spreadsheets, geographic information systems, databases, or models.       
  6. 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 project 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Meet with GPI program staff and coalition or network leadership teams to understand their meeting objectives and requirements.
  3. Assist program staff with project logistics. 
  4. Manage live webinars, including real-time surveys, small group break-outs, and recording both video and audio portions.
  5. Identify and secure suitable venues for meetings when needed.
  6. 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.
  7. Serve as the point of contact for speakers & participants’ logistical needs. 
  8. Organize registration of event participants, which often includes working with an online service such as Eventbrite.
  9. Work with program staff to coordinate updating GPI websites with event information and updates following the event.
  10. Conduct post event evaluations to determine how to improve future events.
  11. Help solicit sponsorships for meetings where appropriate.
  1. Education and Experience: 1-3 years of paid or volunteer experience working with local governments, community organizations, sustainability, climate, renewable energy, and/or transportation. Experience with both local governments and sustainability or climate is a plus. Bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, sustainability, energy, environmental justice is a plus. The ideal candidate has at least some experience working with local governments on sustainability, transportation, or climate. 
  2. Research and Writing: Excellent research, writing, and verbal communication skills
  3. Project Coordination: the successful candidate is detail oriented, has excellent time and deadline management, can juggle multiple tasks, and is able to work independently.
  4. 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.
  5. Meeting Planning: experience coordinating virtual, or in-person meetings or events is a plus. 
  6. 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. Some experience with GIS tools is also a plus.
  7. 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. 
How to Apply

Complete the online application. Required application materials include a resume and one-page cover letter.  The position will be open until filled.

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