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New Jersey Program Associate

Newark, New Jersey
Position Summary
Quality parks and green spaces are fundamental for sustaining healthy, equitable, resilient communities. That is why TPL works alongside communities to create, protect, and advance the nature-rich places that are vital to human well-being. 

By joining our New Jersey team, you will become part of a group of people and partner organizations whose passion it is to connect people to parks, nature and each other.  Our area of focus is through land conservation and trails as well as parks and Community Schoolyards development. TPL has been making a difference in communities considered marginalized or disadvantaged for almost 50 years.  Our work is supported through our expertise in land protection, park and green space design and development, coalition building, research and innovation, climate resilience, and conservation finance, all with community at the center.

About the Role
The Program Associate will support TPL’s Parks for People program in New Jersey, through our parks and Community Schoolyards initiatives.   We currently have a variety of project types and sizes in multiple stages of development.  This will afford the motivated, capable, and committed professional an opportunity to take the lead on project tasks from day one.  Through this work, s/he/they will include aspects of project selection, partnership building, community engagement, design, and construction.  This position will report to the Senior Program Manager and will work closely with the full Newark team and other Trust for Public Land staff including, but not limited to, land conservation and trails Project Managers, Philanthropy, Government Affairs, Legal, Finance, Marketing, Research and Innovation, and Geographic Information Systems.

Our team is strategic and ambitious, and we have fun as we create and implement opportunities expressed by our project communities where they can realize their power to affect their quality of life.  We have a casual but fast-paced work environment. We are looking for a smart, entrepreneurial, and emotionally intelligent, proactive person who can manage and foster solid relationships externally and internally and manage multiple concurrent projects and tasks, all for lasting success.  We appreciate collaborative approaches and encourage innovative ideas and recommendations.  

To support TPL’s mission and Parks for People program you will:
  • Assist the Senior Program Manager in all aspects of project development and management, to include budget and schedule development and tracking, consultant selection and management of scope and deliverables, project design including community participatory design, and community outreach.
  • Support the Senior Director of Community Engagement by providing project information, attendance at community meetings (days, some evenings and weekends) and tabling events, community engagement website/blog, and other means of outreach as identified.
  • Management of project construction administration with support from the Senior Program Manager.  The level of support to be based upon skill level and will include invoice review, processing for payment, and tracking in conjunction with the program’s office administrator. 
  • Lead project documentation and graphics – Development of project banners, project info sheets, signs, flyers, and project concept renderings for fundraising and other illustrations.
  • Work with the Senior Director of Community Engagement on the community outreach efforts in the cities of Newark, Passaic, and New Brunswick – with additional locations possible - using the Program’s deep work in Newark as an example while building upon past connections and relationships in these cities.
  • Coordinate with Research and Innovation, Strategic Commitment Leads and Initiative Leads on research/data metrics in support of same and incorporation within our projects.
  • Act as program lead working with Philanthropy on narratives/stories, project information and data, project documentation, draft grant application review. 
  • Support NJ Program initiatives, including but not limited to, the NJ Community Schoolyard Task Force, the Fellows Program, MSU Green Team, Newark Climate Smart Cities, Newark Open Space Master Plan, schoolyard community gardens, and others as they arise.  
  • Program lead for project events.  Work with other NJ Program members to scope out and obtain all internal and external approvals required based upon the type of event. 
  • Collaborate on the further refinement of our participatory design work with community groups in parks and with students and steering committees at schools.  Help lead the participatory design process.
  • Assist with the development, issuance and review of consultant RFPs.
  • Participate in the review of and comment on consultant deliverables (plans, estimates, reports, etc.)
  • Responsible for providing regular project schedule updates to program members, to include project tasks, schedules for events, project completion, etc.
  • Lead program social media community engagement working with other program staff, Philanthropy and Marketing as needed, utilizing platforms such as Adobe Spark, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, or others as identified.
  • Prepare and deliver presentations, with Program team support, to public, city council, board of education, partners and others as identified.
Time is anticipated in the following categories:
  • Parks Program Management: 40%
  • Community Schoolyards Program Management: 30%
  • Community Outreach: 20%
  • New Jersey Parks for People Program Support: 10%
This position requires off-hours’ work including weekend and evening meetings and events as well, typically four-five times for each project.  Though the position is based out of our Newark office, the Program Associate will engage in fieldwork at various sites in central to north New Jersey (such as New Brunswick, City of Passaic, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Trenton, Patterson).  Access to reliable transportation is required. 

To be successful in this role, you will have:
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience.
  • 0-3 years of relevant professional experience.
  • Commitment to economic, racial, and social justice and applying an equity lens to your work.
  • Ability to communicate in ways that relate to diverse cultural environments.
  • High proficiency with Office 365
  • Excellent organizational skills and strong attention to detail.
  • Energetic, self-motivated, pro-active, and enthusiastic attitude.
  • Ability to work well within a team across multiple offices.
  • Resourceful, well organized, and self-motivated with strong time management skills to meet schedules, and achieve long-term goals.
  • Ability to meet fast-paced project timelines and take on diverse projects.
  • Ability to manage your work on multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to meet deadlines, solve problems, and juggle numerous tasks.
  • Ability to effectively self-edit work to a successful outcome.
  • Have a high level of comfort to collaborate within small and large group settings.
  • Excellent verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to take and process constructive criticism and direction.
  • Willingness and ability to travel throughout central and northern New Jersey, and attend evening and weekend meetings.
The following special knowledge and skills are a plus, but not required to be considered for the position:
  • Experience with community outreach, and collaborative design process involving community members, public agencies and other community stakeholders.
  • Fluency in a non-English language that is widely spoken in local immigrant communities is strongly preferred.
  • Living and/or experience working in historically under-served communities and with people from diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Detailed knowledge of the landscape design and site development process (outside consultants complete the actual design work).
  • Build and maintain strong relationships with coalitions and partners.
  • Prior work experience with diverse stakeholder groups and government agencies.
  • Urban park and/ or schoolyard planning and design experience.
  • Working with or in a public or private school.
  • Scheduling, budgeting and expense management.
  • Computer proficiency in AutoCAD, Adobe CS and Sketch Up

The position will be both in-office and remote.  Office use is encouraged for vaccinated staff on a percent capacity basis.  Working remote is also an option.  In-person meetings and collaborations between TPL staff and others will occur as safety allows.  In-office, remote working opportunities and meeting protocols are subject to revision based upon company policy. 

As a full-time exempt employee, you will be eligible for The Trust for Public Land’s comprehensive benefits program, which includes medical, dental, and vision insurance, three weeks of vacation annually plus sick days, a personal day, day of service and ten holidays, and a 403(b) retirement plan, currently with an up to 5.5% company match. We offer competitive salaries commensurate with experience; the range for this position is $45,000 to $55,000 annually.

The Trust for Public Land is committed to cultivating diverse staff that is representative of the communities we serve.  Applications from individuals having diverse backgrounds and life experiences are strongly encouraged.  Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, immigrants, veterans, disabled, and LGBTQIA candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.  We are open to the possibility that a great candidate for this job may not precisely meet all of the above criteria; if you believe you are the right person for this job and can persuasively make that case, we encourage you to apply. 
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