As climate change progresses, the City of Atlanta has developed multiple plans to mitigate climate change, build resilience, promote energy sustainability and efficiency, and prioritize equity. The FUSE Executive Fellow will synthesize these efforts into a comprehensive strategy, advance the Clean Energy Advisory Board’s decisions, and ensure Atlanta’s resident most vulnerable to climate change can access support to improve their energy security.
Fellowship Dates: October 24, 2022 – October 23, 2023
ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP
FUSE Corps is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.
When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.
Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.
As climate change unfolds, natural disasters will impact cities more frequently. In 2021, U.S. cities experienced twenty natural disasters that caused more than $1 billion in damage each. Man-made disasters (e.g., terrorism, power outages, cyber-attacks) also inflict severe damage. The City of Atlanta is working to mitigate climate change and build residents’ resilience through a variety of pathways, with an emphasis on clean energy, energy security, and equity. The City codified and advanced this agenda via the City of Atlanta Climate Action Plan (2015), the Clean Energy Atlanta Plan (2019), and Decarbonize Atlanta (2021), as well as support from the Clean Energy Advisory Board and the Mayor’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
In these plans, the City of Atlanta laid out several ambitious goals, including transitioning to 100% clean energy by 2035 and reducing the household energy burden, especially for low-income residents. When the Clean Energy Atlanta Plan was released in 2019, only 8% of Atlanta’s energy came from clean sources. In addition, Atlanta had the fourth highest energy burden of any city in the United States. In the most burdened ZIP code, the average household paid nearly 10% of their income towards their electricity bills. As Atlanta experiences more climate change-driven extreme heat events, the neighborhoods most likely to bear the brunt are low-income neighborhoods and BIPOC communities. Atlanta’s clean energy system must deliver reliable energy at an affordable rate so that all residents are able to cool their homes appropriately without worrying about the cost.
The City of Atlanta will partner with FUSE Corps to holistically advance the City’s climate change and energy resilience. The FUSE Executive Fellow will synthesize current climate change and energy plans into a single, updated, comprehensive plan; drive the Clean Energy Advisory Board’s work while liaising with key equity stakeholders; and implement an equity-focused energy project. As a result of this work, Atlanta’s programs, policies, and populace will be more resilient to climate change and more energy secure.
PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES
The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.
Starting in October 2022, the FUSE Executive Fellow will build deep relationships with a range of critical stakeholders. This will include municipal and state government leaders (e.g., Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Clean Energy Advisory Board), the private sector (e.g., Georgia Power), local environmental justice leaders, and members of the public (with an emphasis on BIPOC communities) to understand the strengths, needs, opportunities, and aspirations these partners have for Atlanta’s approach to climate change and energy security. At the same time, the Executive Fellow will conduct extensive research to identify best practices and innovative approaches to equitable climate and energy security advancement in cities similar to Atlanta.
Next, the Executive Fellow will update the city’s Climate Action Plan, working to incorporate a comprehensive energy strategy. This plan should synthesize progress to date towards the City’s climate goals and agenda, and reframe Atlanta’s vision for success by incorporating existing climate and energy programs and policies into a unified approach to these issues. In addition, the updated plan should elevate the importance of equity and environmental justice in advancing the agenda and determine the equity implications of its current strategies. The Executive Fellow will establish clear mechanisms for tracking these updated goals, programs, and policies.
At the same time, the Executive Fellow will act as the key staff liaison for the Clean Energy Advisory Board. In this capacity, they will provide the board with recommendations and technical insights while conducting day-to-day project management that advances the Board’s decisions. This includes coordinating with key stakeholders across the government and in the public.
Finally, the Executive Fellow will oversee the implementation of an equity-focused energy project. This could be WeatheRISE ATL, a program that aims to equip vulnerable seniors with energy efficient upgrades to their homes. This direct programmatic engagement will allow the Executive Fellow to refine the equity-specific aspects of the strategic plan and drive on-the-ground results in the community. By October 2023, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:
- Conduct a Stakeholder Listening Tour – Develop relationships with stakeholders in Atlanta government, community groups, and members of the public (with an emphasis on BIPOC neighborhoods); conduct research on climate and energy security strategies that have been effective in cities similar to Atlanta
- Develop a Comprehensive Climate and Energy Strategy – Synthesize progress to date toward climate goals and assess the impact of inequities on marginalized communities and identify solutions for eliminating these barriers; advance the climate change and energy security plans into a new comprehensive strategy, embedding equitable approaches and outcomes throughout; develop evaluation mechanisms to track new strategies and goals
- Support the Clean Energy Advisory Board – Act as a liaison between the Clean Energy Advisory Board and city department, advance practical implementation of Board decisions
- Implement an Equity-Focused Energy Program – Provide day-to-day technical and administrative oversight of an equity-focused energy program, including reporting, communications, and monitoring, and evaluation; integrate learnings into the new Climate Action Plan
- Executive Sponsor – TBD, Chief Sustainability Officer; Mayor’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Division of Sustainability and Resilience
- Project Supervisor – John Seydel, Director of Sustainability; Mayor’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Division of Sustainability and Resilience
In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in strategic planning, project management, and proficient understanding of the concepts of environmental racism and its impact on underserved and underrepresented communities is strongly preferred for this project.
- Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
- Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
- Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
- Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and other processes.
- Communicates effectively both verbally and in writing and excels in both active listening and conversing.
- Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies to support more effective decision making.
- Establishes and maintains strong relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, and particularly including community-based relationships.
- Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
- Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy, while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.
FUSE Corps is an equal opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.