Specialist, Programs, Sustainability & Support Services


Grade: 3

Salary Range: $57,401 – $66,011

*Senior Specialist salary range:$72,426 – 76,860

About Us: Delta Institute

We address Midwestern environmental, economic, and climate challenges today, so that our home and region are more resilient, equitable, and innovative tomorrow.

Delta exists because environmental, economic, and climate issues hit communities—urban and rural—through disinvestment, systemic inequity, and policy decisions. We collaborate at the community level to solve our home region’s new and legacy issues, by focusing on the self-defined goals and needs of our partners.

Our work takes us to population centers like Chicago, St. Louis, and Detroit; to mid-sized cities such as Gary and South Bend, Indiana; to Great Lakes coastal towns like Michigan City, Indiana and Muskegon, Michigan; and to rural communities and watersheds with tens of thousands of acres of farmland and waterways across our region. It’s quite likely that you—or someone you know—lives, works, or passes through a community that Delta has helped since our founding in 1998.

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 initiatives that 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.

The Program You’ll Work Within: Sustainability & Support Services

Impact Statement: Our Sustainability and Support Services are designed to respond to invitations in community-led planning efforts and provide direct technical assistance to public and private sector partners, which include a wide array of sectors in which Delta has sizable experience. We forecast that by 2025 Delta will work with more than 250 partner communities while securing $40M in external investment and creating 100 practical tools, resources, strategies, and public plans.

Our Approach: Delta Institute prides itself on being responsive to the needs of its partners and responding to what they define as being the most important goal, activity, project, or taking a new approach to improving their local environmental and economic outcomes. We have decades of experience moving sustainable priorities forward in creative and innovative ways with substantial organizational history in:

  • Redeveloping Vacant and Polluted Properties: Offering in-depth technical assistance to strengthen and implement brownfield redevelopment efforts;
  • Sustainability Planning: Supporting public planning initiatives at both the private sector and within the municipal, county, and state levels for climate action, resiliency, and sustainability; and,
  • Adding Staff Capacity: Augmenting Municipalities and Community Partners’ ability to plan, implement, fund, and engage residents around necessary projects; and,
  • Waste Reduction and Deconstruction: Managing waste more effectively through planning, deconstruction, and composting.

Delta supports our partners and their self-defined sustainability goals through our Sustainability and Support Services, designed to align the needs of our partners with the skills and expertise of our staff to contribute where most helpful. Beyond Sustainability & Support Services, this role will also provide technical assistance and implementation support to our Resilient Agriculture and Nature-Based Climate Solutions. For more information on our program initiatives, please visit our website: https://delta-institute.org/what-we-do/.

Core Skillset

A Specialist performs program, administrative or organizational development-related tasks. Specialists are directed in their work on a day-to-day basis but manage large work projects with some guidance from Directors and Leads. Serves as liaison with clients and stakeholders and is responsible for ensuring timely communication, consistent workflow and high-quality deliverables. Specialists represent the organization at public events and assist in raising funds to support the organization. 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
  • Manage projects including direct project work, engaging partners and collaborators, reporting and project administration duties, and managing budgets
  • Developing strategies that advance Delta and its mission
  • Strong analytical and problem solving skills
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Advanced knowledge of environmental and economic issues not only in the Great Lakes region but in the Midwest


Specialist, Programs, Nature-Based Climate Solutions

Position Specifics

As a Specialist, an employee will know what happens on the ground in the dynamic landscapes of the Midwest and Great Lakes. A Specialist will bring that robust experience to Delta while working within the team to implement a variety of projects that focus on changing how we think about the practices that we implement on the landscape, how we value the environmental impacts, and how to change the structural drivers to create large-scale impacts.

The Specialist will bring a solid background in sustainability work to the team spanning planning to implementation; and, will continue to build expertise in the team’s focus areas. As a subject matter expert, the Specialist should relish managing multiple projects and seeking funding to address some the greatest barriers scaling environmental sustainability. The Specialist should have experience working for or with local governments and agencies thereby demonstrating knowledge of government processes such as planning and procurement. The Specialist should be aware of and comfortable liaising with the wide change of internal and external stakeholders which may include municipal staff (planning, public work, sanitary district, park district), land managers, engineers, landscape designers, contractors, nurseries, work force development partners, etc. The Specialist should be at home tackling difficult environmental and social problems with often unclear paths to success, or take iterative approaches with a long-term goal of seeking solutions to larger social and environmental issues. The Specialist will also need to be comfortable working by yourself, with multiple types of personalities, on tight deadlines, in ambiguous and circuitous circumstances, and have an overall positive outlook on the change that can happen in the world.

As part of a truly multidisciplinary organization, the Specialist will also interface and support other projects that require unique skills and knowledge; and have a knack translating complex ideas to a variety of audiences both internally and externally.

The Specialist will lead implementation of Delta’s Technical Assistance for Brownfields partnership with Kansas State University and provide direct brownfields redevelopment support to communities across EPA Region 5. Additionally, the Specialist will assist municipalities, local communities, and the private sector with a variety of planning and implementation activities including GHG emissions inventories, climate action and sustainability planning, sustainable community redevelopment, and other environmental priorities.

What you’ll be doing:

  • Collaborate on multiple projects to ensure high-quality, on-time, and on-budget deliverables
  • Manage staff, interns, and partners to complete deliverables
  • Provide brownfields technical assistance
  • Provide quantification, data visualization, and GIS/mapping deliverables for Sustainability & Support Services projects as well as supporting data and quantification work tasks in Resilient Agriculture and Nature-Based Climate Solutions work.
  • Assist in the creation of decision support tools for a variety of stakeholders
  • Identify, lead, and implement projects and/or project tasks as part of a project team
  • Work to conceive and develop proposals, and engage team members in the development process
  • Collaborate on team planning and implementation meetings
  • Where project structures require it, take a hands-on approach by developing work plans with tasks, timeframes, milestones, resources, and dependencies; or, when required, a hands-off approach by providing project teams with the resources they need to execute high-quality project deliverables
  • 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 including being comfortable facilitating and presenting to internal and external audiences
  • Be adaptable in occasional ambiguity; and be willing to go the extra mile to get the job done

What you’ll have:

  • Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in urban planning, environmental science, or related field with Master’s degree desirable or equivalent experience. At least 5-7 years of relevant professional experience with direct experience with brownfield redevelopment
  • Proven track record of engaging government agencies, communities, and private sector partners
  • Strategic and excellent organizational skills, be a self-starter and motivated and enjoy 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
  • Proficient in using technology as a management reporting tool and experience working with information technology staff to develop and implement program evaluation systems
  • Ability to organize, analyze and visualize data including GIS/mapping experience
  • 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

All Delta employees have these core competencies:

Core competencies are the values and defined behaviors that we believe are central to the ability of every employee to do the work of the 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.

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

Physical Demands and Work Environment

  • 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

All as one PDF to: careers@delta-institute.org
Subject line: Specialist, Programs, Sustainability & Support Services
Application submission deadline: Open until filled.
No phone calls, please.

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