Join Delta

Throughout the year, Delta Institute offers internships for individuals who can help advance Delta’s mission, while gaining hands-on experience and skill development.

There are currently no internship opportunities at Delta Institute.

Lead, Programs – Policy, Analysis and Research Position

Chicago, IL

Position: LEAD

Grade: 4

Salary Range: $68,950 - $90,177


A quick description of Delta Institute

Thriving Communities. Thriving Landscapes. With our new strategic plan completed and celebrating 20 years, Delta is looking for a person to help take our impact further. Action and impact are core to Delta as we strive to create a Midwest and Great Lakes region with a healthy environment, robust economy, and vibrant communities. Delta creates programs that show how policies, ideas, and resources can be harnessed for a more sustainable and resilient region. We take a systems view on how businesses, communities, and government and are impacted by the environment and economy, and create comprehensive solutions that pull these pieces together. Delta is proud to have a multidisciplinary team, and we strive to attract a diversity of experience, skillsets, and perspectives to enable us to challenge assumptions and create new approaches to long-standing problems.


Functional Hive – Programs

All Midwest communities and landscapes thrive through an integrated approach to environmental, economic, and social challenges. Our work is organized into distinct functional hives that work together to move our mission forward, clearly define our work, and articulate impact. The programs functional hive strives to successfully address the challenges and creatively assist in sustainable solutions.



Policy, Analysis and Research


Core Skillset

A Lead manages and provides leadership to a team delivering projects in multiple program areas, multiple administrative or organizational development functions or manages the day-to-day implementation of multiple programs for an affiliate of the Delta Institute.  Leads are capable of key leadership roles representing the organization, developing new programs and obtaining funding and other resources for the work within their assigned responsibilities.


Other core skillset attributes are:

  • Work in a timely and collaboratively manner on multiple deliverables with internal and external stakeholders
  • Identify and lead specific organizational initiatives
  • Developing new strategies that advance Delta and its mission
  • Manage multiple aspects of Delta work portfolio
  • Have strong analytical and problem solving skills
  • Have strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Have advanced knowledge of environmental and economic issues in the Midwest


Position Specifics

A Lead provides technical and analytical leadership for Delta’s strategic priority areas or in a technical support capacity – such as policy, analysis and research. A Lead develops and advances a cohesive strategy for the programmatic initiative areas. It is understood that the Lead maintains a network of multiple stakeholders to advance the initiative area. In this role, a Lead collaborates with project teams to implement tasks as assigned.  A Lead will bring robust experience to Delta while working within the team to implement a variety of projects that focus on changing our impact on the environmental and economic health of the Midwest, how we value the environmental impacts, and how to change the structural drivers to create large-scale impacts. They raise funds for implementing project work that creates impact on Delta’s strategic priority areas.

The Policy, Analysis and Research (PAR) Lead will lead a support team to provide technical expertise and assistance to programmatic initiatives which include resilient communities, green infrastructure, sustainable buildings, reduce waste, land stewardship and regenerative food. As such, the Lead will bring extensive background in analysis, research and documenting methodology.  The PAR team provides research and analysis support to the strategic program initiative areas within the program hive and to the development, communications, and strategy hives to translate data to action. They do so by conducting analysis in collaboration with project teams and advising on research and methodology from the project concept phase through the funded and approved project phase. In doing so, they help strategic program initiative areas produce high-quality deliverables and increase the impact of Delta’s projects by increasing the validity and accuracy of project components.

The Lead should relish collaborating with others to create innovative approaches to clarify analysis questions as well as research questions and methodology for knowledge creation and transfer for non-traditional projects.  The Lead should have background and experience in research design and methodology, spatial analysis, data acquisition and analysis, modeling, research and policy. The value of this work to the organization is to enable Delta to create high quality deliverables and increase the impact of Delta’s projects by assuring validity and accuracy of work. A strong candidate will have knowledge and experience using traditional research methods and data analysis as well as have knowledge of design thinking, light prototyping and behavior economics and other nontraditional, but accepted methodologies.

A Lead should be adept at tackling difficult environmental and social problems with often unclear paths to success, or taking iterative approaches with a long-term goal of seeking solutions to larger social and environmental issues.  A Lead will also need to be comfortable working by themselves, among multiple types of personalities, on tight deadlines, in ambiguous and circuitous circumstances, and have an overall positive outlook on the change that happens in the world. A Lead should be proficient with leading small teams on projects, and pivoting between leadership and tackling specific project tasks.  Additionally, a Lead should be adept with leading from the front and from the side while creating opportunities for team members to advance their skills.

As part of a truly multidisciplinary organization, a Lead will also interface with and provide support for other projects that require unique skills and knowledge; and will have the ability to translate complex ideas to a variety of audiences both internally and externally.


What you’ll be doing:

Program Management

  • Provide leadership on designing and implementing projects with a systems lens
  • Work with senior leadership to develop organization-wide and project-specific approaches for scaling up Delta’s impacts
  • Translate research and insights from specific expertise areas to inform strategy and project development
  • Serve as the principal investigator/external lead on projects as appropriate
  • Develop and assist in the dissemination of toolkits, data products, and modeling exercises
  • Build networks and maintain relationships with academic, scientific, governmental and other partners
  • Provide support to program staff on project tasks and deliverables
  • Assist development and project staff in identifying and pursuing funding opportunities
  • Work in tandem with senior leadership to lead or support proposal development and raise funds for program areas and project work
  • Develop technical and analytical capacities of staff, including trainings and demonstrations
  • Contribute to organizational reporting, planning, and visioning
  • Provide technical content for marketing materials, funding proposals, and project reports
  • Help raise Delta’s public profile as a leader in systemic impact on environmental quality, economic vitality and community resilience


Relationship Management

  • Develop and maintain key professional affiliations in support of organizational and professional development goals
  • Identify program partners and collaborate across boundaries to meet common objectives
  • Identify and understand the primary users of products, services, and deliverables
  • Maintain effective communication with clients and stakeholders managing and meeting project expectations
  • Participate and attend professional organizational meetings, conferences and roundtables


What you’ll have:

  • College degree preferred, and advanced degree desired or equivalent experience
  • At least 7-10 years of relevant professional experience with extensive practical knowledge
  • Proven track record of engaging foundations, government agencies and businesses
  • Excellent, strategic organizational skills, be a self-starter and who is motivated and enjoys working in a team environment
  • Ability to apply systems thinking to complex environmental issues
  • Demonstrated success developing and evaluating program models, and selecting and successfully operationalizing innovative programs
  • Ability to organize, analyze and visualize data
  • Proficient in analyzing data and technical documents to produce deliverables
  • Strong project management skills managing complex, multi-faceted projects resulting in measurable successes and program growth
  • Experience in managing and motivating people to meet high performance standards
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills with exceptional attention to detail
  • Be able to work in a fast-paced environment, manage multiple tasks and deadlines, and manage work in sometimes ambiguous situations


Core competencies are the values and defined behaviors that we believe are central to the ability of every employee to do the work of Delta Institute.  These core competencies are a combination of knowledge, skills and behaviors that are the mark of a good Delta employee.   Core competencies are a distinguishing characteristic of Delta employees for our clients, customers and stakeholders.  They are a visible demonstration of our shared values and are evident in how we work together.  Individuals can be at different levels of ability on a specific core competency which is why we measure ability each year and provide feedback and development suggestions.

All Delta employees have these core competencies:

  • Adaptive
  • Cooperative
  • Equitable
  • Passionate
  • Pragmatic
  • Transparent
  • Tenacious



  • Continually required to sit
  • Continually required to utilize hand and finger dexterity
  • Continually required to climb, balance, bend, stoop, kneel or crawl
  • Continually required to talk or hear
  • While performing the duties of this job, the noise level in the work environment is usually moderate
  • The employee must occasionally lift and /or move up to 10 pounds


Delta offers its employees a competitive salary with a robust benefits package that includes generous paid time off, 401k, and medical, dental & vision insurance. Delta is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


Please email application packet (one PDF) that includes the following:

  • cover letter
  • resume
  • writing sample


All as one PDF to:

Subject line: Lead, Programs - Policy, Analysis and Research Position

Application submission due date: 10/12/18

No phone calls, please.