Now Hiring: Economic Development Program Associate

Smart Growth America (SGA) is a national nonprofit that empowers communities through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership to create livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity.

Smart Growth America is hiring a Program Associate for its Economic Development team. This is an opportunity to work at the intersection of policy and hands-on community-level practice.

Economic Development

The SGA Economic Development team, through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership, works to create an economy that fully recognizes and acts upon the social, economic, environmental, and quality of life benefits and costs of different development patterns—especially those associated with walkable neighborhoods, communities, towns, and cities—to ensure that the smart growth vision is fully realized with inclusiveness and opportunity for all.

Work activities include delivering technical assistance to local communities, conducting research for data-driven policy recommendations, providing quantitative analytical support for other SGA programs, and supporting smart growth advocacy efforts, based on key smart growth principles involving walkability, public transportation, housing, compact land use patterns, etc. The span of work ranges from transit-oriented development in large metropolitan regions, both city and suburb, to placemaking strategies for downtown revitalization in mid-size cities; and helping small towns and rural areas adapt to the new knowledge economy by leveraging innovative strategies such as small-scale manufacturing and broadband.

Position description and responsibilities

An ideal candidate will have a passion for smart growth issues and some experience working in economic development or commercial real estate.

The Program Associate will provide support for SGA’s economic development-related programs, including the national transit-oriented development (TOD) technical assistance program, downtown revitalization program, and other place-based economic development work as needs arise. Primary responsibilities include:

  • Staff projects and activities with team members, including planning and coordinating meetings, researching policies, writing fact sheets, and contributing to the writing of memos, blog posts, and reports related to the Economic Development team’s work.
  • Participating in proposal writing and RFP submissions.
  • Conduct research and collect data.
  • Assist with grants management activities, including financial administration, project timeline maintenance, and coordination with outside consultants and other partners.
  • Assisting with the delivery of technical assistance, potentially including travel for on-site work as part of a team.
  • Analyzing local market, demographic, regulatory and other factors affecting revitalization, and participating in the creation, drafting and presentation of revitalization strategies.


This position requires a self-starting, detail-oriented person with excellent writing, oral communication, research, and organizational skills. Candidates should have a degree in public policy, urban affairs, planning, journalism, law, real estate, environment, or other field related to community development. A year or more of work experience in economic development or commercial real estate is strongly preferred. Successful candidates will have:

  • Excellent writing and speaking skills.
  • An ability to work in teams.
  • Comfort juggling multiple assignments and managing their own time.
  • Familiarity with most standard office software applications (e.g, Microsoft Office Suite, Google Docs, etc.), especially word processing and spreadsheets (e.g., Excel). Knowledge of or experience with databases, Adobe Design Suite, and ArcGIS a plus.
  • A talent for working with a variety of constituencies.
  • Dedication to achieving smarter growth.

An ideal candidate will also have some combination of:

  • Understanding of and experience with transit-oriented development.
  • A good working knowledge of government programs related to housing, economic development, and transportation.
  • Experience with collecting and evaluating economic, demographic, and/or real estate market data.
  • Experience with community or stakeholder engagement and/or workshop facilitation or support, particularly engagement or workshops on economic development, housing or transportation issues.
  • Experience with the preparation of pro-forma real estate financials and/or real estate project development.

Compensation, location and time frame

Salary commensurate with experience. Benefits include health insurance, 401(k), and paid vacation and sick time. This is a full-time position based in Washington, DC, and reports to the Vice President for Economic Development.

To apply

Please send a cover letter, resume, and two writing samples (no more than two pages each) to [email protected] with “Economic Development Program Associate” in the subject line. Applications will be accepted immediately, on a rolling basis, until the position is filled. In your cover letter, please indicate how you learned of this job opportunity.

Equal Opportunity Employment

Equal opportunity and having a diverse staff are fundamental principles at Smart Growth America. Employment and promotional opportunities are based upon individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation/preference, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status or any other protected characteristic as established under law.