Facilitating CRC and EV Infrastructure in California’s Rural Counties

Host: Rural County Representatives of California
Openings: 2
Project Focus: Climate Adaptation (e.g., sea level rise planning, environmental justice, climate migration planning), Climate Mitigation, Disaster Response and Preparedness / Emergency Management (e.g.,flood prevention, wildfire prevention, coastal protection), Energy Efficiency, Infrastructure Development – including Broadband, Renewable Energy, Transportation / Mobility
Skills Needed: Community Engagement, Project Management, Data Analysis, Stakeholder Engagement,

Remote or On-Site Placement

On-site


Service Needs & Plans

The two Fellows anticipated for the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) project will serve the counties of Lake, Colusa, and Glenn for the Community Resilience Center (CRC) component and Siskiyou, Trinity, Modoc, Sierra, and Nevada for the Electric Vehicle (EV) implementation component. However, in serving this cohort of counties, all forty RCRC member counties will benefit from this process. Each of these counties are under-resourced and limited in their ability to seek novel ways to update infrastructure and expand economic development. The two Fellows will not only increase capacity but bring technical expertise and community outreach to areas that will benefit greatly from them.

Regarding environmental and social equity, both aspects of this project will enhance county technical expertise and capacity building in areas that are both generally low-income and on the frontlines of natural disasters in California. RCRC recognizes the benefit to enhancing climate mitigation, resilience, and the electrical grid to safeguard residents while also expanding economic development efforts in line with the State’s goals and policies.

Project Description

Community Resilience Centers (CRC) represent a critical fiscal, operational, and programming challenge that local governments and community members rely upon in the event of emergencies. Many of these CRCs across RCRC member counties are outdated, lacking crucial infrastructure, and may not operate utilizing a business plan and/or dedicated revenue stream. Across RCRC’s 40 member counties, CRCs look different – sometimes as a Veteran Hall that serves as a community gathering spot and disaster response center or simply as a center for programming, and in some cases, a CRC may even be comprised of several locations that County staff operate out of due to a lack of available working spaces in a single location.

While State and Federal funding opportunities are available for these spaces, it is woefully inadequate and highly competitive. Applicants must effectively present shovel-ready projects, partner with multiple local and/or regional organizations, and may even require consultants to prepare their application materials to be successful. Therefore, RCRC has identified several member counties that need to develop or strengthen existing CRCs to support rural communities in a variety of ways including disaster response, heating and cooling centers, internet access, local programming, and community building. Focusing on these centers through renovation, new construction, and revenue stream generation can transform challenges into assets that benefit county residents, businesses, and employees.

The CRC Fellow will be tasked with supporting RCRC and county staff to develop needs assessments, technical analysis, and provide local capacity directly relating to CRC feasibility analysis and implementation strategies. The Fellow will provide direct technical assistance and capacity throughout the program year and will seek additional and/or ongoing CRC capacity building resources for RCRC and its member counties. It is anticipated that the Fellow will engage with local agencies and nonprofits, and regional, state, and federal organizations to complete these tasks. The planned geographical focus for this Fellow will be Lake, Colusa, and Glenn counties.

Duties would include:

  1. Providing data collection and analysis for each county area, utilizing a variety of collection methods. (surveys, research review, county staff discussions)
  2. Supporting the development of needs/gap assessments with paired funding strategy for each county.
  3. Developing policy/regulatory recommendations, providing direct technical assistance, and enhancing local capacity.
  4. Facilitating various community and stakeholder meetings as well as webinars.

The Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Infrastructure Planning Fellow will be tasked with supporting the implementation of ZEV Readiness Plans in several RCRC counties, jumpstarting ZEV charger planning and development throughout rural California. To date, rural counties have fallen behind more densely populated regions, with only 8 percent of California’s charging infrastructure located within RCRC member counties, while representing two-thirds of the State’s geography.

RCRC recently supported five rural county CalTrans Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant applications to develop Readiness Plans that will function as pathways for public electric vehicle charging infrastructure. If the applications are awarded, the Fellow would provide direct technical assistance and local capacity to these counties to accomplish a number of goals and objectives leading to an effective ZEV Infrastructure Action Plan.
The geographical focus for this Fellow will be Siskiyou, Trinity, Modoc, Sierra, and Nevada counties. The five counties will form two regions and each region will create a Readiness Plan.

Duties would include:

  1. Providing coordination and support between various community organizations, counties, RCRC, and third-party consultant(s).
  2. Retrieving information and data from various stakeholders in each region and county.
  3. Gaining an understanding of various programs and policy issues effecting the ZEV infrastructure development process.
  4. Facilitating various community and stakeholder meetings as well as webinars.
  5. Providing support for various grant reporting requirements.
Desired Skills

We would enjoy if Fellows have experience in interpreting/analyzing data from various sources, have worked in policy/regulatory analysis, and have some project management experience, whether that is from work experience or from a class.

Organization & Workplace Highlights

RCRC is a highly regarded advocacy organization that is staffed by professionals with decades of experience. Fellows assigned to our projects will be exposed to not only their project areas but to an organization that covers housing finance, statewide broadband implementation, solid waste management, energy regulations, and more. Our staff are dedicated to equity, diversity, and inclusion, especially in recognizing that a diversity of knowledge and experiences will better benefit our clients in rural California. Finally, we have committed supervisors established for these projects that have experience in providing professional development and education to staff across a variety of disciplines.

Community Highlights

RCRC serves forty member counties in rural California, from Imperial in the South to Modoc in the Northeast. Our areas include coastal fishing communities, powerhouse agriculture lands, national parks, and the high sierras. These diverse geographies include a multitude of perspectives and RCRC values the ability to coordinate counties on a scale that can produce meaningful change. More importantly, RCRC counties are used to doing more with less, generating innovation and creativity in accomplishing tasks around the State and providing examples of how government can work with local organizations and stakeholders well. Fellows working at RCRC will have the chance to work closely with county staff, local nonprofits, and elected officials as they complete their work, a truly unique opportunity.

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