Are you passionate about making a difference in your community and eager to gain experience addressing climate change and water management needs?
CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments in California to address climate change, water, and land-use needs. During the 11-month service year, CivicSpark Fellows will support the State’s response to climate change and integrated water management by working with local governments to complete research, planning, or implementation projects. At the same time, Fellows will receive substantial professional development training and access to a network of local, regional, and state sustainability leaders.
I would consider CivicSpark just the program I needed to jumpstart my career and provide me with more possibilities for my future. Additionally, I feel so grateful to have been part of the CivicSpark fellowship program. Beyond the professional development, I have also gained friendships, knowledge and expertise as well as a great community with the Sonoma County Energy and Sustainability Division.
We are not all ‘kids who just graduated from college’, we are young professionals looking to introduce our skills and talents to a field about which many of us are passionate. We are looking to get a strong foot in that door. The times when CivicSpark helped to foster those kinds of opportunities, such as being able to participate at the California Adaptation Forum or the SEEC Forum or even meeting in professional environments, are the times I appreciated most.
I personally feel that CivicSpark has opened an endless collection of doors into many different sectors of society–certainly within the climate change, environmental and sustainability industries, but also with a variety of social justice movements that are connected in so many ways to the work that we are doing. I truly feel like we are strengthening communities–not singlehandedly, but as a collective group of passionate people working to get things done.
CivicSpark has been excellent, because it pairs you with local leaders. It has been a huge professional development experience. It is the ultimate way to dive in head first without hitting your head on the bottom.
What does it mean to be a CivicSpark Fellow?
The program offers two fellowship tracks: the CivicSpark Climate Fellowship (50 Fellows) and the CivicSpark Water Fellowship (20 Fellows). During the interview process, Fellows will be matched with a project and host public agency, who they will serve with for 1700 hours over the 11 month service year. The eight CivicSpark regions Fellows will be located in include the Greater Los Angeles Region, San Diego, Central Coast, San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento, Sierra Nevada, San Francisco Bay Area, and North Coast. Through their project work, Fellows will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in climate change response and integrated water management, while learning technical skills and building a strong network of sustainability professionals.
Climate Fellows, organized in regional teams with a Regional Coordinator, work on mitigation and adaptation projects on a range of topics including sustainable transportation, energy efficiency, implementation of climate action plans, and GHG inventories and benchmarks.
Water Fellows will be placed in ten pairs of two in regions across the state. Fellows will serve with local leaders responding to statewide priorities in water resources, such as implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and the California Water Action Plan.
All CivicSpark Fellows will provide support to local governments through the following four-step process:
On a day-to-day level, CivicSpark Fellows will work on tasks ranging from data collection and analysis to community outreach. All Fellows will leave the service year with an understanding of work within local governments, experience working with key climate change and water resource management, ability to analyze data, and ability to work successfully in a team office environment.
Topically, CivicSpark Fellows are likely to work on a range of areas related to climate change and water management such as energy efficiency, waste reduction, water conservation, or public health. However, because the program will be supporting a number of different local governments during the service year, Fellows are unlikely to work exclusively on any one topic.
To view the projects and host agencies that Fellows will be serving with during the 2017-18 service year, visit our 2017-18 Projects list. You can also view the projects currently happening in each region by visiting our 2016-17 Project Catalog.
- $16,000+ Living Allowance (before taxes) spread evenly over 11 months
- $5,815 Segal Education Award
- SNAP (Food Stamps) – for those eligible
- Forbearance on existing qualifying student loans and payment of interest accrued during service
- Health insurance
- Childcare assistance to qualifying fellows, paid to an eligible provider of your choice
- Significant professional development training
- Network development with regional and statewide contacts in the climate protection field
- Valuable experience in the sustainability field and the local government sector
- Connection to a network of hundreds of thousands of AmeriCorps Alums
CivicSpark Fellows will have completed at least a 4-year degree and will have relevant experience in the sustainability field. An ideal candidate might have the following characteristics:
- A 4-year degree from an accredited college or university
- Ability to pass FBI, CA DOJ, out-of-state (if applicable), and NSOPR background checks prior to service
- Commitment to the full term of service (11 months)
- Be a citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident alien of the United States
- Capability to work in a professional office setting
- Strong communication (both verbal and written) and teamwork skills
- Water Fellows: Background knowledge of water-related sciences (coursework or project/professional experience), water policy, or water management
- A degree in an environmentally related field (e.g., climate, water, etc.)
- One year of relevant experience
- Past service commitments (e.g., volunteering, community service, etc.)
- Experience with, or training in, outreach, facilitation and/or grassroots organizing skills
- Experience with local government operations and structures, especially as they relate to climate protection
- Comfort with quantitative work, including data collection and analysis
- Climate Fellows: Experience with California climate change mitigation- and/or adaptation-related policies and practices
- Water Fellows: Experience with California water-related policies and practices and/or water use efficiency-related policies and practices
This is an equal opportunity position and we prefer to place a candidate who already lives in the community being served.
AmeriCorps is a civil society program created to address the needs of local communities. AmeriCorps engages 75,000 Members annually who complete intensive service to meet community needs in education, health, public safety, security, and the environment. Since 1994, AmeriCorps Members have served over 1.4 billion hours for their communities. CivicSpark fellows work full time, completing a total of 1700 hours over 11 months, working to support local communities while gaining valuable experience and training. AmeriCorps is administered by CaliforniaVolunteers and sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service.