Job Posting: Detroit Program Director

Click here to download a PDF version of the application.


The Detroit Program Director ensures that the voice of Detroiters and their priorities are heard in the state capital; engages Detroit’s grasstop and civic leaders in designing public policy; and leveraging Lansing assets for the city’s benefit. MEC is committed to building and maintaining a permanent organizational presence in the City of Detroit, helping to support a powerful and effective local environmental movement. Our goal is to ensure that the needs and interests of city residents matter when lawmakers are crafting policy or prioritizing investments. 

This position is open due to the retirement of Sandra Turner-Handy, MEC’s iconic Detroit environmental staffer, who is handing off the reins after 14 years of marked and influential leadership. Under Sandra’s tenure, the Detroit incinerator was shut down, the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition was reestablished, and the city adopted its first Sustainability Action Agenda. She leaves a strong legacy of environmental progress and a team committed to expanding Detroit’s influence over environmental issues. 

Building on Sandra’s legacy, MEC’s Detroit Program Director will grow a program intended to directly engage community-based organizations in the development and implementation of policies that directly impact them, focused specifically on:

  • Advancing affordable, clean energy solutions
  • Improving access to and management of affordable, clean drinking water
  • Expanding modern mobility options within the city
  • Eliminating exposure to lead in homes
  • Improving air quality in highly impacted neighborhoods
  • Increasing access to recycling and composting

This position reports to the Chief Policy Officer. 


Convene and Grow a Network of Detroit Environmental Groups

MEC works to strengthen the environmental movement by improving collaboration between existing advocacy organizations and growing the capacity of groups working at the local level. In Detroit, the Detroit Environmental Agenda (DEA) is our lead organizing and advocacy vehicle. The Detroit Program looks to expand its membership and ensure its plan complements the aims of two other important initiatives—the Sustainability Action Agenda and the Detroit Future City Framework. As we work to strengthen and grow the DEA, we envision it as an active and organized force for our shared policy priorities at the city and state levels.

Ensure Detroiters Drive the State Environmental Agenda

Leveraging MEC’s Lansing-based policy work, our team links Detroiters’ concerns with State Capitol activities: identifying the state policy components of local priorities, incorporating Detroit interests into MEC policy priorities, and ensuring  Detroiters serve on gubernatorial-appointed state boards and committees. The Detroit Program ensures collaborative policy development opportunities, briefings on Lansing actions, and targeted engagement of policy makers by Detroit leaders.

Make Neighborhoods the Focus of Agenda Development

The Detroit program builds strong connections to neighborhood-based organizations to ensure their engagement in design and implementation of the Sustainability Action Agenda and the Detroit Future City Framework. The Detroit Program Director strategizes and manages the interface between 12 neighborhoods and MEC’s membership and advocacy team. 

Provide Consistent, Dependable MEC Leadership in Detroit

Detroit Program staff serve in both leadership and support roles in an array of networks and organizations in the city. Beyond the DEA, the MEC team leans in with Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, CLEARCorps Detroit, the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, Center for Urban Responses to  Environmental Stressors, the Asthma Alliance, and Doing Development Differently in Metro Detroit. We seek to expand and intensify our leadership in coalitions and with civic institutions to ensure the voice of Detroit is clearly present in policy development circles.  

Ensure MEC’s Detroit program is financially sustainable

We have an ambitious long term vision for the Detroit program, aiming to have a team of four full-time policy and engagement staff by 2024. Working with MEC’s development team the Detroit Program Director will help build strong relationships with major donors, grassroots supporters, and foundations who will ensure the sustainability of our presence in the city for a generation to come. 

Base Qualifications:

  • An excellent understanding of and experience with public policy advocacy.
  • Extraordinary interpersonal skills, including the ability to work constructively with diverse personalities and coordinate teams.
  • Ability to complete a high volume of tasks and projects with little or no guidance.
  • Ability to react with appropriate levels of urgency to situations and events that require quick response or turnaround.
  • Solid communication skills in writing, editing, listening and presenting.
  • Excellent organizational skills and experience with project management.
  • A markedly strong work ethic evidencing conscientiousness and attentiveness to details.
  • Strong ability to execute work with a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens.
  • A commitment to advancing data driven solutions.
  • Passion for MEC's mission, members and partners.

Education and Experience Qualifications:

  • Five years working at senior level in Detroit organizations or institutions.
  • Proficiency in Google Workspace with an aptitude to learn new applications

Other Position Notes

  • This position is based in Detroit but requires regular travel to Lansing. 
  • Telecommuting or remote work is an option for many aspects of this role.
  • This position requires regular work outside normal hours, including evenings and weekends.
  • MEC has a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless you qualify for a federal government approved accommodation.

Compensation Package

MEC offers an industry-leading compensation package. Detroit Program Director includes a salary of $58,000 - $78,000 commensurate with experience; full medical, dental and vision benefits; organizational matching to a 403(b) retirement program and a flexible schedule with unlimited paid time off.

Application Process

Submit a single PDF with 1) a strong, detailed cover letter, 2) a resume and 3) at least three references (minimum two professional) to [email protected] Include “Detroit Program Director” in the subject line. Please direct questions about the job description to CEO Conan Smith at [email protected] Application review underway and continues until the position is filled.

Michigan Environmental Council is a proud Equal Opportunity Employer. Our goal is to be a diverse workforce that is representative of the Michigan citizens we serve. MEC does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, national origin, veteran status or any other basis covered by appropriate law. People of color, people with disabilities, and people of diverse sexual orientations, gender expressions, and identities are encouraged to apply.

Showing 1 comment

  • Beau Brockett
    published this page in Careers 2021-09-16 17:22:10 -0400