2022 Smart Growth America internship program

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Smart Growth America (SGA) and its transportation program, Transportation for America (T4America), are looking to recruit a minimum of one intern to support its technical assistance, research, and advocacy work. 

DC street with pedestrians, buses, and cars
Flickr photo by tchamber236

About Smart Growth America

Smart Growth America envisions a country where no matter where you live, or who you are, you can enjoy living in a place that is healthy, prosperous, and resilient. We empower communities through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership to realize this vision of livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity.

About Transportation for America

Transportation for America, the transportation program of Smart Growth America, is a national nonprofit made up of local, regional, and state leaders who seek a transportation system that safely, affordably, and conveniently connects people of all means and ability to jobs, services, and opportunity through multiple modes of travel.

T4America project description

The intern will be asked to work on a collection of transportation policy, research, and messaging projects aligned with their skills. These projects will be fundamental to T4America’s extensive advocacy, thought leadership, and technical assistance portfolio. Specific topics of work that the intern may be involved with may include, but are not limited to:

1. Policy research and development

Fundamental to T4America’s work is looking to better understand the legislative and regulatory framework underlying the design, implementation, and operation of the transportation system and how to reimagine it towards our three key principles. The intern will assist in analyzing legislative activity from the US Congress, prepare policy memos and briefs, draft legislative text, and engage in outreach and support to Congressional staff. Furthermore, as part of T4America’s technical assistance work, the intern will provide research support for clients to better understand their transportation challenges and how they can be addressed towards a sustainable, equitable outcome aligned with T4America’s three key principles.

2. Equity, diversity, and inclusion

Transportation has a significant impact on the way we live, work, and play. Historical practices and policies adversely affected many diverse marginalized communities across the United States. As the country continues to reckon with its past, T4America looks ahead towards how to be a partner with racial and social equity groups towards advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) policies and outreach efforts that advance a transportation program that connects communities and provides a safe, sustainable space to live, work, and play. The intern will assist in research and in the development of resources spanning issues that will culminate in an EDI in Transportation Primer. The intern will also assist in cultivating partnerships with racial and social equity groups across other issues and disciplines (i.e. voting rights access, criminal justice) and help flesh out resources and talking points that connect those issues and disciplines with transportation.

3. Transportation storytelling

Transportation is a complex system. Communicating about transportation and its importance in our everyday lives is daunting. T4America strives to demystify the federal transportation program and its intersections with implementation by state and local governments, framing it in a way that the average person can understand and discuss with their friends and neighbors. The intern will assist in crafting messaging and visual concepts that effectively communicate the core points of T4America’s advocacy and thought leadership. The intern will also assist in the product deliverable layout and editorial process.

Intern skills

Interns seeking to work with SGA / T4America should strive to have the following skills:

  • Working knowledge of and passion for transportation, land use, development, and urban planning topics
  • Commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Strong research and writing skills, including experience with policy analysis and literature reviews, as well as in distilling that type of academic analysis into clear recommendations. 
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to display data, research, and policy concepts in a clear and relevant manner
  • Organized and able to work independently after receiving instructions
  • Strong proficiency in Microsoft Office suite of tools or similar for document preparation (memos, presentations, etc)

SGA and T4America also strongly encourage interns with the following skills to apply:

  • Experience in digital storytelling tools 
  • Proficient in visual graphic design editors (i.e. Photoshop or similar)

Educational background

Undergraduate or graduate students in Urban Planning, Real Estate Development, Visual Communications, Public Policy, Sociology, or related disciplines are encouraged to apply.  Key among intern applicants is an interest in land use and development or transportation policy and advocacy.

Compensation, schedule, and COVID protocols

Prospective interns will need to supply their own computer and access to wifi. Interns will also be expected to commit between 15-20 hours a week for a minimum of 12 weeks (with the opportunity to have their internship extended beyond the 12 weeks). The intern will be paid a semi-monthly stipend throughout their tenure in the program, ranging from $3,060 to $4,800 over 12 weeks, depending on the intern’s experience and level of study. All interns are expected to be insured by their school’s or personal health and/or liability insurance, as this internship program does not provide health or liability insurance coverage for interns.

SGA is based in Washington, DC, and is operating on a hybrid work schedule. Staff are currently working in the office one day a week, while generally working remotely the rest of the week due to the COVID-19 pandemic. SGA will be adding more in-person days in the near future but we expect that work will remain hybrid into the longterm. The specifics of that hybrid environment are currently being determined. Interns will be able to work 100 percent remotely or come into the office along with their assigned team. If an intern works in the office, they will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination and a booster.

Application instructions

Please email jobs@smartgrowthamerica.org with “T4America Intern” in the subject line, a resume, and a cover letter where you specifically address the following three questions:

  • What interests you about working for Transportation for America / Smart Growth America?
  • What key issues in transportation and/or land use and development will have the biggest impact on Americans, particularly low income Americans and people of color, and why?
  • How did you hear of this internship opportunity?

Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

SGA is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. Smart Growth America and Transportation for America are committed to building a diverse staff and strongly encourages applications from candidates of color.

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.

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