Citizen’s Planning Institute Program Specialist - Salary: $67,192

  • Full-time

Company Description

A best-in-class city that attracts best-in-class talent, Philadelphia is an incredible place to build a career. From our thriving arts scene and rich history to our culture of passion and grit, there are countless reasons to love living and working here. With a workforce of over 30,000 people, and more than 1,000 different job categories, the City of Philadelphia offers boundless opportunities to make an impact.

As an employer, the City of Philadelphia values inclusion, integrity, innovation, empowerment, and hard work above all else. We offer a vibrant work environment, comprehensive health care and benefits, and the experience you need to grow and excel. If you’re interested in working with a passionate team of people who care about the future of Philadelphia, start here.

What we offer

  • Impact - The work you do here matters to millions. 
  • Growth - Philadelphia is growing, why not grow with it? 
  • Diversity & Inclusion - Find a career in a place where everyone belongs.
  • Benefits - We care about your well-being.

Agency Description

The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) includes the city’s housing agencies, planning commission, art commission, historical commission, zoning board of adjustment, developer services, and more. These divisions work hand in hand to promote the economic health of all neighborhoods and the City. The Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) is one agency within the department and includes the Citizens Planning Institute (CPI) as a means of educating and empowering the public. PCPC staff updates the city’s comprehensive plan and weighs in on decisions related to the built environment of the city, all with continued engagement with the public.

About CPI:
The Citizens Planning Institute (CPI) is a vital community initiative that has been making a positive impact in our neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia since 2010. The CPI is an eight-week course offered biannually in the spring and fall, with each cohort consisting of a diverse group of thirty residents. The participants gain valuable insights into city planning and development projects, enabling them to play a more effective and active role in shaping the future of their neighborhoods and communities. For over a decade CPI has seen significant success, with over 730 “graduates”, representing more than 130 distinct neighborhoods. The impact of this program has been profound in promoting civic responsibility, community engagement, and sustainable development.

CPI staff also coordinates efforts within PCPC to offer training and other programming that educates community members to engage with city, to have a voice in decisions that affect their neighborhoods, and to collaborate with their neighbors to lead their own successful projects.

Job Description

Position Summary:

The duties of the new Program Specialist will be focused on community engagement strategies and implementation during the comprehensive plan update project and beyond. The PCPC is charter-mandated to maintain an updated comprehensive plan, and the public launch of the update is scheduled to begin in 2025. Moving forward, this plan, which includes a citywide planning phase and Districts (18) planning phase, will exist as a more dynamic process than with the previous plan- Phila2035. The agency is seeking to sustain ongoing community-based relationships generated through the update project. The Program Specialist will act as the project manager and liaison for all engagement activities.

The Program Specialist will also coordinate capacity-building activities with our community partner network, a major element of the Engagement Framework for the project. The “community partner” scope of work has been identified by a resident-driven Steering Committee that PCPC has been working with for over two years and fleshed out in detail by two different consultant teams. The Program Specialist will expand the capacity of PCPC to do community-based work.

The city’s new Equitable Engagement Toolkit will be leveraged to help design and implement specific tactics with the community partners. The goals and metrics for this scope of work are aligned with the city’s priorities for inclusive engagement, particularly in underrecognized communities.

The position will report to the Program Manager of the Citizens Planning Institute. The agency also has (6) staff Community Initiative Support Specialists, who will also assist the Program Specialist with the community engagement scope of work.

Essential Functions:

Pre-launch Phase of the Comprehensive Plan Update:

  • Leading the build-out of the “community partners” engagement infrastructure; including developing criteria for selection and MOU for partners’ scope of work;
  • Leading outreach strategy and activities to recruit partners and liaisons in geographic and non- geographic “priority audiences”, as identified in the Engagement Framework;
  • Administering the partner application and review process;
  • Developing options for resources and support to community partners;
  • Developing materials to be used by community partners- in outreach and engagement activities;
  • Identifying partners for general engagement with broader audiences, such as city-wide, traditional audiences, and youth.
  • Leading the strategy development of the mix of in-person and digital engagement options for each of the (4) phases of the citywide plan, in order to bridge the digital divide.

During Citywide Comprehensive Plan Update:

  • Will work with the Department’s Communications Team to manage communications with community partners, verifying completed work, approving payments, etc.
  • Leading analysis of engagement feedback and data collection, which will inform the plan, and provide a transparent process;
  • Coordinating logistics for limited meetings led by PCPC;
  • Coordinating the efforts of Community Initiative Support Specialists in supporting the community partners and liaisons, along with staff of CPI.

Post citywide plan, during District Planning, and beyond:

  • Maintaining relationships with community partners and connectors;
  • Managing extended MOUs with outreach and engagement partners;
  • Updating continuing input from the public on the website engagement hub;
  • Leading the monitoring of goals and metrics for engagement.

Other Duties as Assigned

Competencies, Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with associates, civic, community and business groups and the public
  • Familiarity with diversity, equity, and inclusion principles. Must be able to discuss race, class, gender, and other issues of power and identity with ease and comfort. 
  • Community organizing and advocacy skills 
  • Project management experience, able to prioritize and manage multiple tasks 
  • Creative problem-solving
  • Work independently, be flexible and self-directed § Excellent written communication skills such as the ability to communicate complex points concisely and clearly; ability to create thorough and engaging reports and resources; ability to respond fully, clearly, and reliably to email 
  • Excellent oral communication skills (ability to speak confidently and clearly with external partners about our work, ability to communicate respectfully and directly, ability to navigate tense or challenging interpersonal dynamics in a way that aims for resolution 
  • Comfort with Microsoft Office Suite and Adobe Acrobat
  • Basic understanding of urban issues and/or city planning principles
  • Attention to detail, complemented by the ability to see the big picture


  • Minimum Associate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Minimum three years of experience in one or more of the following: community development; community organizing; community outreach or advocacy work; arts, culture and/or community program development or delivery, and/or adult education.
  • Any equivalent combination of education and experience determined to be acceptable.
  • Must be able to work some evening and weekend hours, as required.

Additional Information

TO APPLY: Interested candidates must submit a cover letter and resume.

Salary: $67,192

Discover the Perks of Being a City of Philadelphia Employee:

  • Transportation: City employees get unlimited FREE public transportation all year long through SEPTA’s Key Advantage program. Employees can ride on SEPTA buses, subways, trolleys, and regional rail for their daily commute and more.
  • Parental Benefits: The City offers its employees 6 weeks of paid parental leave.
  • We offer Comprehensive health coverage for employees and their eligible dependents.
  • Our wellness program offers eligibility into the discounted medical plan
  • Employees receive paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays
  • Generous retirement savings options are available
  • Pay off your student loans faster - As a qualifying employer, City of Philadelphia employees are eligible to participate in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Join the ranks of hundreds of employees who have already benefited from this program and achieved student loan forgiveness.
  • Unlock Tuition Discounts and Scholarships - The City of Philadelphia has forged partnerships with over a dozen esteemed colleges and universities in the area, ensuring that our employees have access to a wide range of tuition discounts and scholarships. Experience savings of 10% to 40% on your educational expenses, extending not only to City employees but in some cases, spouse and dependents too!

Join the City of Philadelphia team today and seize these incredible benefits designed to enhance your financial well-being and personal growth!

*The successful candidate must be a city of Philadelphia resident within six months of hire

Effective May 22, 2023, vaccinations are no longer required for new employees that work in non-medical, non-emergency or patient facing positions with the City of Philadelphia. As a result, only employees in positions providing services that  are patient-facing medical care (ex: Nurses, doctors, emergency medical personnel), must be fully vaccinated.

The City of Philadelphia is an Equal Opportunity employer and does not permit discrimination based on race, ethnicity, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, marital status, source of income, familial status, genetic information or domestic or sexual violence victim status. If you believe you were discriminated against, call the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations at 215-686-4670 or send an email to [email protected].

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