Fellowship - Development Specialist


Summary: Catalyze SV (CSV) is looking for one or more urban planning (graduate) students to independently work between 10-20 hours per week for 4-12 months identifying, analyzing, & tracking proposed projects around which Catalyze SV may advocate.


Our Work: One of CSV’s main objectives is advocating for sustainable, equitable, & 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 - 8:30 pm on the 4th Wednesday of every month, usually in central San Jose.

  • Geographical focus area: Most of the projects we evaluate are in Midtown San Jose (City Council District 6), West San Jose (City Council District 1), and Santa Clara. This area has expanded 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. 


Your Responsibilities

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

    • City Council or Planning Commission agendas

    • Mayor or City Council office staff

    • City Planning Department staff

    • City websites

    • Email alerts

    • Social media 

    • News stories

    • Developers or their consultants

    • Word of mouth

    • Neighborhood organizations/leaders

    • Catalyze SV members/supporters

    • SJ’s Major Projects List

    • Santa Clara’s Development Project List

  • Track the progress of 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

  • Review development plans to 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 where our advocacy could help improve the project

  • Set up & hold meetings with developers, city planning staff, & other officials to discuss our members’ feedback on projects.

  • Plan agenda for PAC meetings, send agendas to our members, co-facilitate the meetings, & take notes

  • Advise the PAC on how projects align with CSV’s core values, scorecard & zoning standards

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

  • Give public comment at public meetings on PAC projects

  • Compile information for, and draft, action alerts to Catalyze SV’s 1800+ person listserve

  • Assist with preparations for, and execution of other CSV-sponsored events as needed

  • Update Catalyze SV’s “Projects” webpages using Wix and Mapbox


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

  • Ability to (co)facilitate meetings using Zoom & integrated with Facebook Live

  • Learn to update our website using Wix and project map using Mapbox (GIS type software)

  • 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


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 twice per month. You will be compensated for your time if you are asked to participate in other meetings or events. Should you travel to CSV work functions using public transit, you will receive a transit stipend. You will have an opportunity to receive mentoring from our Executive Director Alex Shoor, to whom you report. Excellent work may be rewarded by:

  • a recommendation or professional reference for use in your career; 

  • an offer to continue your work with us into 2022; 

  • expanding your number of weekly hours; 

  • improving your job title; and

  • a spot bonus (for truly exceptional work).



Send a cover letter (less than 500 words) and resume or your LinkedIn profile to alex@catalyzesv.org. We’ll hold a 30-minute phone interview with preferred candidates in July, then ask finalists to complete a short, performance-based task. Your expected start is in August.