Sustainability Fellowship in South Lake Tahoe

Host: City of South Lake Tahoe
Openings: 1
Project Focus: Climate Mitigation, Energy Efficiency, Infrastructure Development – including Broadband, Renewable Energy, Transportation / Mobility
Skills Needed: Project Management, Relationship Management, Community Outreach, Technical Writing,

Remote or On-Site Placement


Service Needs & Plans

In this project, the fellow will be serving with the City of South Lake Tahoe, in the City Manager’s Department under the Sustainability Coordinator, to help achieve climate actions laid out in the 2020 Climate Action Plan and various City Council Resolutions. The City wishes to achieve equitable progress on implementing greenhouse gas reduction projects resulting in substantial emissions savings toward our science-based target. Our City is signatory to the United Nations 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy Compact, one of only three cities in the country. A lot of groundwork has been laid, and we are ready to implement impactful projects with the help of a stellar CivicSpark Fellow.

Project Description

We have ambitious carbon pollution reduction goals and have a number of efforts underway and will refine the projects according to the skills and interests of the selected fellow. Please note that project focus might shift in the six months between the time this project description is written and the beginning of a fellow’s service.

The goal of the first project is to scale energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in search of measurable carbon pollution reductions. To this end, the City is engaging in several projects which would benefit from a fellow’s contribution. The City is currently working on a comprehensive municipal facility energy efficiency and generation project. In addition, there is interest in exploring what the City could do to provide opportunities to residents to decarbonize their homes and businesses. The City would like to see the fellow develop a roadmap toward program delivery by first assessing a number of different existing programs in other cities. Building energy is the largest contributor to our community-wide emissions, and this project would directly the community contribution toward carbon pollution.
Transportation is the second highest polluting sector.

In addition to reducing carbon emissions by increasing efficiency and clean energy generation resources, the City seeks to reduce vehicle-related carbon emissions. Several projects are in progress that would benefit from a fellow’s contribution. The City is interested in developing a program that reduces emissions due to employee commute. An outcome could include a program developed in partnership with a consultant or firm and may potentially include other employers in Lake Tahoe Basin around the south shore.

Another project is leading Bike to Work Month. The City values “biking as a way of life” and staff leadership is important to implementing that vision. The fellow would produce outreach materials, data capture and evaluation methods, and potentially propose an incentive program to encourage others to find alternative transportation methods to single occupancy vehicles.

The City is also working hard to electrify its fleet vehicles and seeks an update to its 2021 EV Fleet Transition Plan. In this project, a fellow would work in close partnership with the Sustainability Coordinator and Fleet Manager to determine use cases of city vehicles and recommend electric options, develop a replacement schedule, necessary vehicle budget, and help determine charging infrastructure needs and next steps. Finally, there is also an opportunity for a fellow to contribute toward expanding and refining public transportation and transit projects, with outcomes to be determined prior to the start of service.

In any of these projects, a fellow will work closely and collaboratively with the Sustainability Coordinator, in the Office of the City Manager. A fellow who is a good fit is curious, with a problem-solving mentality. It is someone who works well independently, is a good researcher, but who is also comfortable talking with partners and community members while representing the City with excellence.

Desired Skills
  • Strong business writing and verbal communication skills
  • Strong task capture system
  • Ability to coordinate activities among several people/partners
  • Strong MS Office skills: Outlook, Word, Excel
  • Successful outreach and messaging experience
  • Ability to independently research and problem solve
  • Confidence to ask questions
  • Passion for public service
  • A sense of curiosity
Organization & Workplace Highlights

Our City’s values are: accountability, communication, honesty, innovation, equity and inclusion, vitality, efficiency, and sustainability. Staff consistently demonstrate these every day. Our commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion is evident across our Strategic Plan, which makes up the workplan of the city staff: broadband for all; midtown revitalization; affordable housing; free microtransit; promoting biking; carbon neutrality; ensuring equitable recreation access; mental health and homelessness programs; hiring practices valuing inclusion and diversity; building a multicultural alliance; economic diversification and green jobs initiatives; resident retention and workforce development.

People work hard, are great at their jobs, and thoroughly enjoy one another and the community we live in. The CivicSpark Fellow will be joining a diverse and supportive staff committed to excellence. The Sustainability Coordinator will work with the Fellow to shape the workplan to meet the needs and interests of the Fellow and is committed to mentoring and launching the Fellow into their next endeavor.

Community Highlights

We are a 22,000 resident low-income community that hosts millions of visitors a year seeking world class ski and beach experiences. We are on the front lines of climate change and recognize our unique opportunity to be leaders on this world stage. A productive City Council is engaged and committed to sustainability and leadership in addressing climate change.

People move to this town because they fall in love with the beauty and the outdoor recreational opportunities such as downhill/backcountry/cross country skiing; mountain biking; hiking; beach going; boating; kayaking; paddleboarding; and the list could go on. Stewardship of Lake Tahoe and our natural environment is a uniquely strong shared value across the community and across the workplace culture. There is a high concentration of environmental organizations and agencies acting to protect Lake Tahoe.
South Lake Tahoe is about a hundred miles from Sacramento, and about 30 miles to Carson City, Nevada, all along state highway 50. Tourism is the dominant industry. The city rests up against the state boundary with Nevada. South Lake Tahoe is the only incorporated city in the Lake Tahoe basin. Four counties in two states work together to steward this Outstanding National Resource Water.

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