Energy and Sustainability Policy
Program Office

Sustainability Planner Position in State College, PA



Job Title: Sustainability Planner

JOB SUMMARY: The Sustainability Planner will prepare, monitor, coordinate, and provide direction for the implementation of the Centre Region Climate Action and Adaption Plan. The Plan will move the Centre Region towards the next step to a more environmentally sustainable future. Working collaboratively with municipalities, other Centre Region Council of Governments (COG) agencies, and other stakeholders, the position will assist with policies, programs, and initiatives that promote local environmental, energy, economic, and social sustainability. The position will require a skilled facilitator to work with municipal governing bodies to develop strategic direction, build partnerships with the community and government agencies, and establish Region- wide programs that inspire the community to embrace sustainable practices that will lessen greenhouse gas emissions in the Region.


DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: The duties described below are indicative of projects the Sustainability Planner may be assigned. Other duties may be assigned on an as needed basis.


  • Complete the Centre Region greenhouse gas inventory utilizing Clearpath.
  • Lead the preparation of the Centre Region Climate Action and Adaption Plan with assistance from the Centre Regional Planning Agency (CRPA) Director and CRPA staff.
  • Work independently to manage sustainability initiatives and programs that are recommended in the Climate Action and Adaption Plan.
  • Serve as the COG representative to boards, commissions, and organizations engaged in issues pertaining to sustainability and environmental management.
  • Assist municipalities with development of elements that codify sustainability- related policy into a regulatory framework for local zoning and subdivision ordinances.
  • Advise and respond to elected officials about sustainability issues.
  • Conduct policy analysis and development for consideration by elected officials.
  • Collect and analyze data and propose recommendations based on that data to the Planning Director.
  • Communicate sustainability with local government staff.
  • Advocate COG’s sustainability goals with the public and provide updates on the progress made to accelerate those goals.
  • Engage with county, state, and federal agencies in support of furthering Centre Region sustainability initiatives.


  • Engage with Penn State University on Centre Region sustainability-related issues that cross university and municipal boundaries.
  • Develop and implement methods to measure and monitor results of sustainability efforts.
  • Coordinate and support partnerships with community and interested stakeholder groups to accomplish COG’s environmental goals.


QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required at the time of hire or for the continuation of employment.



  • Bachelor’s degree in planning, environmental science, sustainable business, engineering, or public administration/policy.
  • Four years of experience in the field of sustainability, working professionally in the government, business, consulting, nonprofit, and/or academic sectors.
  • An equivalent combination of education and experience to successfully perform the duties of the job as listed above.
  • Successful candidates who have obtained their AICP (American Institute of Certified Planners) will be moved to the Certified Senior Planner pay grade.


  • Knowledge of current models and programs for urban sustainability, including federal and state policies and measurement or monitoring of sustainability.
  • Knowledge of climate change science and principles of energy and environmental management.
  • Knowledge of public administration and public policy development.
  • Knowledge of organization change management strategies and methods.
  • Ability to manage projects and administer sustainability programs and coordinate with other staff.
  • Ability to develop positive relations with other COG agencies, municipalities, and elected officials, and to facilitate collaborative sustainable planning.
  • Ability to develop performance measures and initiate continuous improvement processes.



  • Ability to communicate verbally and in writing with elected officials, staff, and the public.
  • Ability to prepare and conduct public presentations effectively.
  • Effectively communicate the fundamentals of climate science, climate action, and climate adaptation to variety of entities including, governing bodies, advisory boards, and the public.
  • Effectively establish working relationships with peers in the profession, including individuals at Penn State, and individuals in the sustainability profession.





  • Ability to communicate effectively with elected officials, staff, and the public in both written and verbal form in a clear and concise manner.
  • Ability to comprehend and prepare reports and other written communications.
  • Ability to actively participate in all types of meetings.
  • Ability to effectively prepare for and give public presentations.



  • Ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide all units of measure using whole numbers, common fractions, and decimals.
  • Ability to apply concepts such as fractions, percentages, rations, and proportions to practical situations.



  • Ability to relate complexities to individuals in a simplistic manner.
  • Ability to think critically and strategically.
  • Ability to present information clearly to groups of varying sizes and backgrounds.
  • Ability to guide direction for climate action in an environment of change.
  • Willingness to recommend potentially difficult actions that challenge the status quo.
  • Willingness to work with a variety of diverse individuals in an environment of cultural and social complexity.


PHYSICAL AND WORK ENVIRONMENT: The physical and work environments described are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these functions.


Physical Environment

  • The duties of this job include physical activities such as repetitive motions, seeing/observing, hearing/listening, talking, grasping, keying, walking, and standing. The physical requirements for this position are sedentary with light or medium work occurring infrequently.


Work Environment: The work environment may include some or all of the following:

  • Ability to work under time pressures such as frequent rush jobs, urgent deadlines, etc.
  • Ability to work under distractions such as telephone calls and other disturbances.
  • Ability to work in situations which require repetitive activities (performance of the same physically demanding activity).
  • Ability to deal with unpleasant social situations (necessity of dealing with irate or disturbed individuals).
  • Ability to attend occasional evening meetings.