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University of Minnesota
Extension Department of Community Development
St. Paul
Posted: 08/21/2023
Technical Assistance Specialist, Environmental & Energy Policy (Hybrid work options)

Title:                                     Technical Assistance Specialist, Environmental & Energy Policy

Appointment:                   Full-time, Education Program Specialist 2 (9745S2), P&A

Program Area:                  Extension Department of Community Development

Focus Area:                        Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Center

Office Location:                St. Paul Campus; Hybrid work options may be available

Application Deadline:    September 11, 2023



The University of Minnesota Extension Department of Community Development and the Center for Science, Technology and the Environmental Policy in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota are leading a collaborative program to provide community development and technical assistance to advance environmental and energy justice in the Great Lakes region. The collaborative program engages the Land-grant universities’ extension schools in EPA Region 5 (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio), the Great Plains Institute, the Environmental Protection Network, the Community Engineering Corps, and the Midwest Tribal Energy Resources Association.

The program is funded through a grant from the Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Center program (TCTAC) at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The TCTAC led by University of Minnesota will provide technical support to communities as they navigate the federal grant application systems, guidance on community engagement, and assist with efforts to secure funding that addresses legacy pollution and invests in clean energy technologies in EPA Region 5. 

The objectives of the TCTAC are to:

  1. Identify underserved and overburdened communities who could benefit from environmental and energy-related grants and other technical assistance,
  2. Build capacity for communities to engage in environmental and energy decision-making, and
  3. Provide tailored, accessible, culturally appropriate technical assistance that allows communities to secure funding and resources that materially improve their social, economic, and environmental outcomes.

The Technical Assistance Specialist will conduct and coordinate technical assistance services across the TCTAC network. These services include consulting on relevant energy and environmental policy domains, dissemination, and translation of grant opportunities to community applicants, and curation of existing toolkits, web resources, and guidance documentation. The technical assistance specialist will work with staff across the network to share best practices, identify common resources, link community concerns with technical assistance needs, and ensure communities are getting access to timely, relevant information. Additional analytical support tasks include identification of environmental health or pollution exposure concerns, curation and visualization of spatial data, and appropriate statistical or analytical techniques to assess disparities in order to assist communities with cumulative burden assessments and help residents access relevant environmental and social data. The position will have a strong community education and outreach role – translating technical data into insights and useable information that will help communities advocate for their needs and develop grant proposals. Other potential responsibilities include the analysis of rate and energy cost data, mapping of land use and siting assessments for renewable energy development, and assessing building stock and appliance data to inform energy efficiency and weatherization proposals.


The Technical Assistance Specialist will be the go-to policy expert on our team. The specialist will research the regulations, policies, procedures, and programmatic requirements of federal, state, local environmental and energy policies and communicate and educate network collaborators and community partners. The position will also liaison with state and federal agencies and policy makers and advocacy groups to expand our network of expertise and key contacts.

The position may include working directly with communities from across the network to prepare reports, fact sheets, and policy memos, documenting challenges based on collected evidence and proposing recommendations.

The Technical Assistance Specialist will join a team of people that are passionate about communities. Our values include authentic engagement, holistic and equitable prosperity, creativity, and innovation, all grounded in research. The successful candidate will also demonstrate a commitment to the understanding of diversity and inclusion and cultural competence when working with diverse and sometimes marginalized populations. Our team is a high-impact and high-performance group and a leader in the field of community development. The Specialist will report to the TCTAC Program Director and Associate Dean in the Department of Community Development.


Research and Analysis:  60%

  • Develop a detailed understanding of state and federal energy and environmental policies and programs and how these programs intersect with articulated needs of communities.
  • Identify and synthesize technical aspects of energy and environmental grant opportunities at local, state, and federal levels.
  • Conduct analyses for community members or network partners, including geospatial data analysis, policy analysis, cost estimates, or other quantitative data analyses.
  • Communicate and educate communities about energy and environmental justice issues.
  • Summarize findings in the form of reports, fact sheets, and policy memos related to energy and environmental justice programs.
  • Work with the TCTAC Program Director to provide reports and analysis for fiduciary oversight and contribute to regular project reporting, evaluation, and assessment.

Outreach and Engagement:  40%

  • Liaison with other policy and programmatic experts in state and federal agencies, municipalities, advocacy organizations, contractors, and other relevant stakeholders in the energy and environmental justice space.
  • Coordinate with national and other regional TCTACs and federal agencies as needed to share resources and best practices.
  • Be a “point person” with collaborators and staff as they identify key needs and access TCTAC resources.
  • Translate technical data into insights and useable information that will help communities advocate for their desired clean energy and environmental future
  • Field questions from grant applicants about the technical aspects of programs and policies and educate communities about energy and environmental programs .
  • Attend webinars, information sessions, and conferences related to energy and environmental justice programs and policies and communicate findings to the TCTAC network and partners.
  • Coordinate meetings across the network, conduct project reporting, assist with logistics related to TCTAC programming.



Required Qualifications:

  • Masters degree, at time of application, in public policy, environmental studies, engineering, planning, sustainability, natural resources, geography, GIS, or related fields.
  • Four years of professional experience in energy or environmental policy at local, state, or federal levels.
  • Experience in establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with colleagues, partners, and stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated experience working in diverse settings with diverse populations.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrated experience managing and reporting on projects, budgets, and grants.
  • Advanced skills in Microsoft and Google Suite applications.

Additional Requirements:

  • Valid driver’s license and own means of transportation with required liability insurance.
  • When not in the assigned office location, employees must be reachable with a mobile number at the employee’s own expense. That number will be published in the Extension staff directory.
  • Must have reliable internet if/when working outside of assigned office location.
  • Must be able to travel and have the ability to maintain a flexible work schedule, including occasional evening or weekend work, and overnight stays. Reimbursement for travel and subsistence is available in accordance with University policy.
  • This position is not eligible for employment visa sponsorship.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience successfully navigating federal grant funding opportunities from areas such as EPA and DOE.
  • Experience with geospatial analysis and data visualization.
  • Demonstrated success in working with individuals, organizations, and communities with a variety of cultural, ethnic, language and/or literacy backgrounds.



  1. This is a full-time Professional & Administrative appointment as University job code 9745S2, and is annually renewable based on performance, funding, and program needs. The position will be located on the St. Paul campus and will primarily serve the six states in EPA Region 5. Hybrid work options may be available.
  2. A full University of Minnesota benefits package is available: https://hr.umn.edu/Jobs/Applicant-Center/About-Working-U/Benefits-Working-U
  3. Estimated salary range is $68,000 – $78,000. Salary commensurate on qualifications and previous work experience.



University of Minnesota Extension is a major outreach arm of the University of Minnesota with a mission to serve the public through applied research and education. Our mission is to make a difference by connecting community needs and University resources to address critical issues in Minnesota. Extension strives to attract and retain high-quality, passionate employees, and weave diversity, equity and inclusion into all aspects of Extension’s programming and employee engagement. Find further information at www.extension.umn.edu.


Please apply at: https://extension.umn.edu/home/careers, Job Opening ID: 357300

Applications must be submitted online. To be considered for this position, please click on the Apply button and follow the instructions. You will be given the opportunity to complete an online application for the position.

Please include the following attachments with your online application:

  1. Cover letter expressing your interest in the position and how your strengths and experiences align with the position description and listed qualifications.
  2. Resume/Vitae
  3. Diversity Statement: In 500 words or less, highlight your unique strengths, experiences, perspectives, and values as they relate to equity, diversity and inclusion. Your statement could include the following:
  • Personalized views and experiences
  • Topics through the lens of your own knowledge or experience
  • If you don’t have personal experience on a topic, reflect on why
  • Demonstrated learning and growth

Three professional references and transcripts for all college work (unofficial transcripts are acceptable) will be required during the interview process.

Additional documents may be attached after the application by accessing your “My Job Applications” page and uploading documents in the “My Cover Letters and Attachments” section. See full instructions, https://hr.umn.edu/Jobs/Applicant-Center/Help-Job-Applications/Using-Job-Application-System.

To request an accommodation during the application process, please email employ@umn.edu or call 612-624-UOHR (8647).


For questions about this position contact:

Stephen Jeanetta, Associate Dean, Department of Community Development, jeanetta@umn.edu.

For questions about applying online, contact:

Tiffany McMillan, Extension Human Resources, tiffmcm@umn.edu.



Any offer of employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. Our presumption is that prospective employees are eligible to work here. Criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify finalists from employment.



The University of Minnesota and Extension recognize and value the importance of diversity and inclusion in enriching the employment experience of its employees and in supporting the academic mission. The University is committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds.

The University of Minnesota provides equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. To learn more about diversity at the U:  http://diversity.umn.edu.