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Rural Community Development Apprentice
Be involved in a variety of projects focused on rural community development, forest industry workforce development, forest and watershed health, environmental justice and the well-being of rural communities

The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment seeks a full-time Rural Community Development Apprentice to work with rural communities throughout California. The position is based in the very rural northern Sierra town of Taylorsville, which was recently impacted by the 2021 Dixie Fire that destroyed several neighboring towns and impacted much of the surrounding environment. The duration of this position is six to nine months, based on the candidate’s availability, but successful apprenticeships can result in full-time, regular employment with us.

Job Duties
The apprentice will be involved in a variety of projects focused on rural community development, forest industry workforce development, forest and watershed health, environmental justice and the well-being of rural communities. The position involves substantial research, writing and collaboration with community partners.

Along with providing support to the range of projects in Sierra Institutes rural development program, the apprentice will primarily work on a rural community decadal survey to understand issues of rural change in Westwood, a former logging company town. Previous surveys were conducted in 1990, 2000, and 2010, and informed issues of relevance to the community. Parts of the survey will focus on the impacts of the 2021 Dixie Fire on the community, while other parts of the survey will focus on community change more generally. Most of the work involves working with community partners to administer the survey, collecting data, analyzing data, and communicating survey results.

Working with the Rural Development Team, the apprentice will primarily:
• Work with Sierra Institute supervisors and community partners in the town of Westwood, CA, to refine survey methodology and data collection tools, including survey instrument and codebook;
• Develop a data collection protocol and work with community partners to administer the survey to all households in the community;
• Input survey results into a database, clean data, and analyze results, including by integrating results from previous surveys to understand change over time; and
• Communicate results, including through formal write-ups, short research briefs, and meetings with key stakeholders and community members to ensure results are widely communicated and provide a pathway to rural community development.
In addition to working on the Westwood survey, the apprentice will have the opportunity to learn about and support other aspects of work at the Sierra Institute, based on the apprentice’s interests and the Institute’s needs. This may include:
• Contribute to planning and implementation of community workshops that measure socio-economic conditions in Sierra Nevada forested communities;

• Support program planning efforts centered on workforce development in forest restoration;
• Conduct outreach, project support, and assessment efforts with programs supporting forest restoration crews working in rural areas of the state as well as with Tribally-run forestry crews;
• Draft reports on water related needs in tribal communities and under resourced communities across the Sierra Nevada;
• Conduct background research on issues related to environmental justice and rural community well-being; and/or
• Participating in rural youth enrichment activities, assisting with administrative duties in the main office, or other organizational support activities.


Minimum Education and Experience

Education Required: Associate's
Driver's License Required: Yes
Hiring Requirements for this Job:
  • Reference Check
  • Minimum Hourly Wage: approximately $2,000/month, plus shared housing

    About Sierra Institute for Community and Environment

    Our Mission
    Promoting healthy and sustainable forests and watersheds by investing in the well-being of rural communities and strengthening their participation in natural resource decision-making and programs.

    Our Approach
    Recognizing the direct relationship rural communities have with forest landscapes, Sierra Institute has advanced integrative programs that support rural environmental, economic, and community health at local, regional, and national levels for the past twenty-five years.