[FILLED] Planning and Incentives for a More Resilient and Sustainable Placer County

Host: Placer County Air Pollution Control District
Openings: 1
Project Focus: Climate Adaptation (e.g., sea level rise planning, environmental justice, climate migration planning), Climate Mitigation, Public Health, Urban Planning
Skills Needed: Community Engagement, Project Management, Data Analysis, Technical Writing,

Remote or On-Site Placement

Hybrid – Fellow will be able to serve from home up to two days per week.

Service Needs & Plans

The Fellow will serve with the Placer County Air Pollution Control District to assist in air quality and climate planning efforts and the implementation of incentives that reduce harmful air pollutants. Efforts will include collaborating with other agencies to plan for future land use, assisting in the development of regional clean air plans, as well as assisting in incentive planning which reduces air pollutant emissions and/or mitigates the public health effects of wildfire smoke and other pollutants.

Placer County is the fastest growing county in California. Local governments are continuously working on the blueprints to meet the community’s long-term vision for the future. However, striking the right balance between development and conservation is a critical challenge. The District cooperates with local governments through local land use planning and regional air quality planning processes to promote smart growth that protects public health and the natural environment. These approaches make our communities more attractive, economically stronger, socially diverse, and resilient to climate change.

Placer County faces a significant wildfire risk every year due to its combination of dry, hot summers, abundant vegetation, and rugged terrain. Factors such as frequent droughts, strong winds, and proximity to forested areas also increase the chance of wildfire. Residential development in wildland-urban interface areas, including the Low-Income Communities of Auburn, are at the highest risk when these fires ignite. The District is involved in several efforts to both reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, and to mitigate the air quality effects of smoke pollution when such fires occur. The District is specifically working with the County’s designated Low-Income Communities to ensure all community members have access to clean air during smoke events, regardless of their socio-economic status. The District sees numerous opportunities to increase participation in local community events and stakeholder coalitions to enhance collaborative and outreach opportunities.

In addition to these adaptation efforts, the District provides a variety of incentives for Placer County organizations which reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other harmful air pollutants. These incentives encourage the adoption of more environmentally friendly technologies, accelerating the state’s progress towards climate goals. Special care is taken to better understand the priorities of County residents living within the Low-Income Communities. The District strongly desires to better promote outreach events in these communities in order to encourage community members to apply and utilize the District’s incentive opportunities to their full capacity.

Project Description

This Fellowship offers a unique opportunity to engage in collaborative climate planning efforts and contribute to public health protection initiatives related to air quality. The Fellow will assist in fostering partnerships with other agencies, conducting public outreach, and promoting incentives to mitigate air pollution and address climate change impacts. The overarching goals of the project are to enhance community resilience, improve air quality, and promote public health through collaborative planning action and effective communication.

As a key member of the project team, the Fellow will play a crucial role in supporting various aspects of the initiative, including:

  1. Partnering with local agencies and organizations to coordinate climate and air quality planning efforts and identify opportunities for collaboration and knowledge-sharing on air quality initiatives.
  2. Assisting in the creation of educational materials, presentations, and online resources to engage diverse stakeholders and empower community members.
  3. Assisting to coordinate and participate in community events to promote incentive programs for innovative technologies toward climate mitigation and adaptation goals.

Desired project outcomes:

  1. Increased collaboration and coordination among agencies and stakeholders involved in climate and air quality planning and management efforts.
  2. Enhanced public awareness and understanding of air quality issues, health risks, and available incentives for pollution reduction and climate adaptation measures.
  3. Increased adoption of clean energy technologies and other measures to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Desired Skills

The ideal Fellow will combine strong communication skills, a willingness to learn, and research and writing proficiency to effectively engage with communities, advance public understanding of air quality issues and health impacts, and drive positive change towards improved air quality and environmental justice. Basic knowledge of environmental and/or air quality science will also be helpful.

  1. Communication Skills: The ideal Fellow possesses exceptional verbal and written communication skills and can convey complex information clearly and effectively to diverse audiences. They excel in active listening, fostering dialogue, and building rapport with community members, stakeholders, and colleagues.
  2. Willingness to Learn: An ideal Fellow demonstrates a strong curiosity and eagerness to continuously learn and stay updated on emerging trends, research findings, and best practices related to air quality issues and public health impacts. They embrace new challenges and seek opportunities for professional growth and development.
  3. Research and Writing Skills: The ideal Fellow is proficient conducting thorough research, analyzing data, and synthesizing information from various sources. They have a keen attention to detail and can effectively communicate complex concepts in a clear and accessible manner.
Organization & Workplace Highlights

The Placer County Air Pollution Control District is one of 35 local air pollution control agencies in California. The District’s mission is to manage the county’s air quality to protect and promote public health by controlling and seeking reductions of air pollutants, while recognizing and considering the economic and environmental impacts. The District is committed to ensuring all communities within Placer County have access to clean air and environmental resources, regardless of socio-economic status or background. This includes implementing policies and programs aimed at reducing air pollution in underserved areas and promoting inclusive decision-making processes that prioritize the health and well-being of all residents.

The District offers a welcoming environment where professional development is nurtured and staff are appreciated for their contributions. Employee appreciation days are organized every year, and the District’s self-proclaimed “party planning committee” ensures everyone gets a sweet treat on their birthday.

The District is committed to providing their employees with the resources they need to maintain a healthy work-life balance. In collaboration with the County of Placer, the District provides various professional growth and health-minded events throughout the year, which are open to all staff (including fellows). These learning sessions include topics such as nutrition and fitness, financial wellness, and presentation, writing, and data analysis courses.

Community Highlights

Placer County is a county of over 420,000 residents and is comprised of over 1,400 square miles of beautiful and diverse geography. This ranges from the residential and commercial areas of South Placer, through the historic foothill areas of Foresthill and Colfax, and to the County’s jewel of the North Lake Tahoe basin. These natural lands have lakes, rivers, and streams for rafting and fishing. In addition, more than one million acres of national forest lands with trails provide ample opportunity for outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. With vibrant communities like Auburn and Roseville, Placer offers a high quality of life with access to outdoor activities and cultural events.

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