Student Fellowship - Development Project Specialist


Summary: Catalyze SV (CSV) is looking for one or more urban planning (graduate) students to independently work between 2-6 hours per week for at least 16 weeks identifying and analyzing proposed projects around which Catalyze SV may advocate.


Our Work: One of CSV’s main objectives is advocating for sustainable, equitable and vibrant development projects. Catalyze SV's Project Advocacy Committee (PAC) leads this work. 

  • Main tasks: The PAC hears project proposals from developers, analyzes those projects, scores them based on a scorecard, and leads advocacy efforts around those projects, identifying which areas Catalyze SV likes and which could be improved.

  • Meeting: The PAC usually meets from 6:30 - 8:30pm on the 4th Wednesday of every month, usually in central San Jose. 

  • Geographical focus area: We’re generally focused on projects in Midtown San Jose (City Council District 6), West San Jose (City Council District 1) and Santa Clara. This area is expanding over time and/or as our capacity grows. 

  • Participants: The PAC is composed of any community member who wishes to participate; individuals voting on projects must be Catalyze SV members. Each project that Catalyze SV takes on is ideally led by a “Project Point Guard.” 

Your Responsibilities

  • Identify new development proposals through any of the following means:

    • City Council or Planning Commission agenda

    • Mayor or City Council office staff

    • City Planning Department staff

    • City website

    • Email alerts

    • SJ’s Development Services Major Projects List

    • Santa Clara’s Development Project List

    • Developers or their consultants

    • Word of mouth

    • Neighborhood organizations/leaders

    • Catalyze SV members/supporters

    • News stories

    • Social media

  • Track the progress of major projects as they wind their way through the planning process, from initial submission to Planning to any time they are discussed at a community meeting, by the Planning Commission, at a Planning Hearing or by City Council

  • Determine how the proposals do or do not align with the city's policies, zoning, General Plan, a specific plan, etc. Determine any flexible or gray areas

  • Advise the PAC on how well proposals align with CSV’s core values and scorecard

  • Attend PAC meetings and take notes on the discussion

  • Compile information for, and draft, advocacy letters from Catalyze SV’s PAC to developers and city staff using MailChimp

  • Compile information for, and draft, action alerts to Catalyze SV’s 1250+ person listserve

  • Assist Catalyze SV with preparations for, and execution of, general meetings, committee meetings and other Catalyze SV-sponsored events as needed

Our Expectations of You:

  • Agree with the values, strategies, & goals of Catalyze SV

  • Ideally experienced in engaging the community in planning or a similar field

  • Understanding of how city government works or can learn it very fast 

  • Highly knowledgeable in planning and skilled at navigating planning documents

  • Communicate about planning issues in person and writing in clear, accessible language

  • Able to work independently 

  • Can meet hard deadlines with thorough, quality work

  • Tenacious in finding answers to your and our questions using the above means

  • Resist cutting corners

  • Communicate frequently and openly with your CSV points of contact

  • Flexible to changes, as Catalyze SV is a new organization

  • Exhibit complete and total integrity by honestly and forthrightly tracking your work


Reporting Structure:

You’ll report to the Executive Director, Alex Shoor. You may also be in communication with Project Point Guards & the Chair of our Project Advocacy Committee. 

Compensation & Value

You’ll be paid a flat rate of $20 per hour. You’ll mostly work remotely - you'll track your hours in a spreadsheet. You'll be paid once every other month (this timing is open to discussion). Though you should not expect to be reimbursed for other CSV expenses, you will be compensated for your time if you are asked to participate by a CSV Board Member in other meetings or events. You will have an opportunity to receive mentoring from the Executive Director. Excellent work will be rewarded by a recommendation or professional reference for use in your career. There’s a possibility of continuing this work into the spring of 2020.



Send a cover letter (less than 500 words) and resume or link to your LinkedIn profile to We’ll schedule a 30-minute phone interview with preferred candidates in December, then ask finalists to complete a short, performance-based task. The expected start is early January 2020. 


© 2020 by Catalyze SV