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  • SSMMA

Job Opportunity: SSMMA Environmental Justice Policy and Government Affairs Specialist

The South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association (SSMMA) is seeking a motivated, collaborative, strategic thinker to join our team as an Environmental Justice Policy and Government Affairs Specialist to support our work advancing inclusive and transformative environmental and economic policies that benefit Chicago’s South Suburbs. We are looking for candidates who have a deep commitment to advocacy and passion to implement environmental justice remedies that “build back better” and help transform disadvantaged communities in the South Suburban Chicago area into thriving, healthy communities.


As a not-for-profit Council of Government organization providing technical assistance and joint services to 45 municipalities with over 700,000 residents that have long struggled for inclusive economic growth, SSMMA is committed to a more equitable, sustainable region. We embody our mission that seeks to forge consensus among disparate, yet geographically and economically linked communities in order to achieve transformational inclusive economic growth and community-wide wealth generation throughout the south suburbs.


The SSMMA is launching a new, broad initiative that elevates and prioritizes environmental justice through intentional policy implementation using a racial equity lens, prioritizing the involvement of public officials, business and civic leaders, government partners, and other stakeholders in the development of innovative solutions to systemic equity challenges. The Environmental Justice Policy and Government Affairs Specialist would work to advance strategic objectives of our organization and member communities in a number of areas, including equitable economic development, sustainability, public health, housing, and climate change.


Key Responsibilities

  • Under the supervision of the Executive Director, provide staffing, analysis, and liaison functions for the SSMMA on a wide range of range of policy issues, especially those relating to environmental justice, economic development, regulatory environments, municipal revenues, affordable housing, brownfield remediation, and community revitalization.

  • Conduct outreach and develop external relationships, participate in coalitions, external forums, meetings, and community events; serve as key relationship lead.

  • Provide support and guidance on relevant policy documents, including issue briefs, policy memoranda, regulatory comments, public testimony, talking points, and news articles.

  • Provide advocacy support to ED.

  • Assist and help manage news articles, social media content, op-eds, fact sheets, and reports for publication to a variety of audiences.

The Environmental Justice Policy and Government Affairs Specialist will be committed to revitalization of Cook County’s South Suburbs, and possess deep knowledge of the area’s history, institutional environment, assets, and challenges. The ideal candidate has advocacy and policy experience at the local, state, and federal levels; has a thorough and nuanced understanding of the economics, constituencies, perspectives, and politics of the South Suburbs; and is familiar with all steps of the legislative process.


Successful candidates will demonstrate high integrity, superior communication skills, hands-on experience in managing advocacy campaigns and outreach efforts, capacity to work with a diverse array of stakeholders and partners, a collaborative mindset, and a drive to craft actionable, high-impact solutions.


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Qualified candidates will possess the following:

  • Experience or knowledge of local government law and policy, racial justice initiatives, and related advocacy and coalition-building at local, state or national levels.

  • Demonstrated excellence in research, writing, and advocacy, with a preference for individuals who have experience interpreting, synthesizing, and communicating effectively about complex matters of environmental and social justice, and public policy.

  • Exemplary verbal and written communication skills, with attention to detail and demonstrated success in writing clear, concise materials that are accessible to a variety of audiences.

  • Practical understanding of how to leverage social media platforms to support advocacy efforts.

  • Excellent interpersonal skills and a collaborative working style, with proven experience working with overburdened and underserved communities.

  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in a team setting.

  • Creativity and a desire to learn, grow, and support others.


Qualifications:

  • 3-5 years of experience showing progressively increased and deepened responsibilities in the fields of public policy research and advocacy or related work.

  • Master’s Degree in public policy or a related field preferred.


Employees work 35 hours per week, normally Monday through Friday, with the ability to work hybrid remote. Must be local to Illinois, with the ability to travel occasionally to meetings and in-person events in the South Suburbs, Chicago, and Springfield.


Compensation and Benefits Salary: The salary range for this position is $65,000 to $70,000 per year, commensurate with experience.


Benefits: SSMMA has a generous benefits package that includes contributions to health insurance a deferred compensation plan, plus generous vacation, holiday, personal, and sick leave.


How to Apply: To apply, please send a cover letter explaining your interest in this position, a resume, a brief professional writing sample, and, if applicable, links to your work reflecting your qualifications to sarah.kobetis@ssmma.org.


We will consider applications on a rolling basis until the position is filled. All applications will be acknowledged promptly. No phone calls, please.


Updated September 20, 2023

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