[FILLED] Energy and Sustainability Community Outreach and Engagement

Host: County of Santa Barbara
Region: Central California
Openings: 1
Project Focus: Affordable Housing, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy
Skills Needed: Community Engagement, Relationship Management, Community Outreach, Stakeholder Engagement, Communication, Self-Motivated

Service Needs & Plans

The County of Santa Barbara is one of the three counties that make up the Tri-County Regional Energy Network (3C-REN), which was established to deliver regional energy efficiency programs that meet local needs and help reduce energy use, carbon emissions, and meet the goals of local climate action plans.

The 3C-REN delivers three energy efficiency programs and services that address the needs and challenges of local government agencies, building professionals, and residents in our region:
1. Building Performance Training: provides free trainings tailored for current and prospective building professionals
2. Energy Code Connect: offers free support to building professionals around California’s Energy Code
3. Home Energy Savings: serves both single-family and multifamily homeowners and renters throughout San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties with no-cost technical assistance and rebates for completing energy- and
GHG-saving upgrades.

The County of Santa Barbara’s Sustainability Division, where the Fellow will be housed, also administers and oversees several other sustainability-related programs and initiatives including: the County’s Climate Action Plan, the Energy Assurance Services program, the Santa Barbara County Climate Collaborative, Climate Resilient Central Coast, and more.

The Fellow will support both 3C-REN’s Home Energy Savings program, and the Climate Resilient Central Coast initiative in an outreach and engagement capacity. This project aims to implement innovative outreach and engagement strategies to deliver energy education and services to tri-county residents, especially historically underserved communities. This outreach and engagement will help build awareness of programs and services available to homeowners and residents to make their homes more energy efficient, and empower residents to take action to reduce their climate impact.

Project Description

The Fellow will work on several capacity-building projects related to 3C-REN and Resilient Central Coast. For 3C-REN’s Home Energy Savings programs, the Fellow will expand our offerings and partnerships with libraries throughout the tri-county. We currently offer 3C-REN DIY Home Energy Toolkits and Induction Cooktops that library patrons can check out. In addition to managing Toolkit and Cooktop supplies, coordinating with libraries, and conducting educational presentations, the Fellow will work with partner libraries to explore and develop new opportunities to collaborate. This may include identifying existing educational programs that we could add energy or sustainability content to, or developing new programs.

The Fellow will also participate in community engagement via the Resilient Central Coast initiative, for which the County of Santa Barbara is a partner. Resilient Central Coast uses the Bright Action platform to make it easy to learn about and track every-day solutions and climate-friendly actions individuals can take to reduce their climate impact. The Fellow will design and promote campaigns and challenges in which residents throughout the Tri- County can participate. The campaigns may be used to create competitions amongst community members or organizations, “gamify” energy savings, or facilitate a more interactive way to engage community members. The Fellow will be encouraged to find creative ways to incorporate campaigns into their outreach and engagement activities.

Desired Skills

A successful CivicSpark Fellow should have good communication skills (both written and verbal) and be able to work in a group setting as well as independently. The Fellow should have a strong interest in energy efficiency. A few important traits the Fellow should possess include:
-A willingness to conduct community outreach via phone, in-person meetings or presentations.
-Taking initiative and bringing creative ideas to the table.
-Proactive in researching and identifying solutions when leading tasks.

Additionally, while not required, a Fellow who speaks Spanish would be very beneficial to the

Organization & Community Highlights

The County of Santa Barbara is located in the southern region of State of California. The County
is unique in that it has two main administrative locations, one in the City of Santa Barbara (South
County) and the other in the City of Santa Maria (North County). The Fellow will be based in the
County Administration Building, which is located in the downtown area of the City of Santa Barbara. Mainstays of the County’s economy include oil and natural gas exploration, winemaking, agriculture and education. Santa Barbara’s picturesque beaches, mountains and proximity to the Channel Islands also make it a popular tourist destination.

The Sustainability Division is part of the Community Services Department, which also includes Parks, the Office of Arts and Culture, Libraries and Housing and Community Development. The Sustainability Division is a small but extremely motivated group of six staff members. The Division operates through a shared leadership model that values open communication. The Division was created approximately six years ago and is therefore still in “start-up” mode with an often-changing landscape. While staff works hard, the division’s culture also believes in the value of having fun and being playful.

As a result of recent climate-related disasters, the community has seen an increased interest in
elevating climate change education, reducing GHG emissions, and preparing for future effects
of climate change. In contrast, there is also community support, particularly in Northern Santa Barbara County, to continue to allow oil and natural gas drilling projects that provide jobs and
support local economic development. The Fellow will have the chance to navigate the complex set of issues that are at the heart of the climate change debate.

The Tri-County Regional Energy Network (3CREN) was established to deliver energy efficiency
program and services, specifically targeting Hard-to-Reach customers. It is 3C-REN’s goal to reach historically underserved customers and communities. As part of strategic planning efforts
last year, staff identified accessibility as a priority. As a first step, we have partnered with Promotores to improve our outreach and communication with Spanish-speaking communities.
Because of 3C-REN’s collaborative nature, the Fellow will also get to work closely with staff
from the Counties of San Luis Obispo and Ventura to develop and implement projects across
the entire Tri-County Region. The opportunity to help deliver energy efficiency programming
across a wide and diverse area will be an exciting challenge for the right candidate.

Remote or On-Site Placement


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