Mercer Planning Associates (MPA), a boutique land-use planning firm based in Jersey City, seeks an individual with interest and/or experience in community outreach, economic development, and long-range planning. The MPA Planner will be mentored by the firm’s Principal and introduced to a network of planning and economic development professionals as they work to implement community engagement initiatives, conduct research and analysis, and produce educational programming and content.

Current projects/clients include community engagement for several city and county-wide transportation planning initiatives, economic analysis and strategic planning for downtown management entities, educational content creation for various clients, and management of an economic development-related non-profit organization (Downtown New Jersey).

MPA is open to hiring either a Junior or Senior level planner. Job responsibilities and expectations are commensurate with the level of the candidate’s experience.

Key responsibilities associated with this role:

  • Research: Conduct research and data analysis of community conditions, trends, and case studies, and present information clearly and compellingly in multiple formats.
  • Data and Map Preparation: Prepare maps and graphics that help to effectively convey critical data and help tell important stories about communities.
  • Community Outreach Tools: Implement community outreach processes and tools, including creating and maintaining stakeholder lists, developing focus group guides, constructing survey and interactive map tools, and developing in-person and virtual outreach materials.
  • Graphic and Process Materials: Prepare, review, and/or oversee the preparation of communications and outreach materials for planning processes, including designing print collateral and online communications tools, website design, online survey and interactive map tools, and other engagement tools.
  • Facilitation Support: Participate in and take detailed notes during public meetings, open houses, and other client outreach activities, and analyze public input gathered.
  • Produce Content: Prepare draft content for presentations to clients, stakeholders, and the public. Draft text for components of studies and plans and interim deliverables that are technically competent and accessible to the intended audience(s).
  • Current Events: Stay up to date and highlight relevant legislation and policy initiatives that pertain to downtowns and economic development. Curate quarterly newsletter of topical articles for Downtown New Jersey.
  • Programming: Assist in planning and executing monthly educational programming and the annual conference for Downtown New Jersey.
  • Quality Control: Ensure tasks are completed to a high standard that exceeds client expectations.
  • Other duties as needed.

The ideal candidate:

  • Works independently while understanding the necessity for communicating and coordinating work efforts with the manager.
  • Has exemplary organizational skills and is detail-oriented.
  • Has strong communication skills both in oral and written form and the ability to communicate complex ideas to a broad audience.
  • Has remarkable interpersonal skills and is comfortable communicating and collaborating with diverse stakeholders.
  • Is technologically savvy with the ability to learn new programs quickly. Proficient with Microsoft Office (including SharePoint/Teams and data analysis in Excel), Google Suite products, Adobe Suite (visual design skills highly desired), and ESRI desktop software and online products. Comfortable with the ZOOM platform. Experience with WordPress is a plus.
  • Has 1-7 years of experience in a planning position with similar duties. Project management experience is a bonus.
  • Has obtained a degree in planning, policy, urban studies, or a related field (master’s degree preferred, but undergraduate degree considered for highly qualified candidates).
  • Bilingual candidates desired.

This is a full-time position. Reduced full-time hours are negotiable. The position is primarily remote but requires travel to client meetings and outreach activities in New Jersey (mostly Northern/Central), as well as twice monthly travel to downtown Jersey City for in-person staff meetings and other periodic staff meetings as necessary. A laptop and job-relevant software will be provided. Occasional project-related travel within New Jersey is reimbursed at IRS rates. Flexible schedule and robust paid time off. Retirement match after 1 year in service. Salary commensurate with experience. Unfortunately, MPA does not have the capacity to sponsor work visas.

Please provide a cover letter and resume, representative samples of work, and 2-3 references to Courtenay Mercer, AICP, PP using our job application form. The position will remain open until filled. We anticipate interviewing in early November 2023.


To apply for this job email your details to cmercer@mercerplanning.com

About Mercer Planning Associates

Mercer Planning Associates, LLC (MPA) is a boutique land-use planning firm based in Jersey City that provides comprehensive services to public sector clients. Established in 2007, the firm’s mission is to facilitate a sustainable future through community planning. Capitalizing on staff’s public and non-profit experience navigating regional and state government, the firm adeptly assists its clients in their efforts to implement smart growth principles.

One of the firm’s core assets is the ability to engage diverse stakeholders and garner inter-governmental coordination for complex planning projects. MPA staff has managed intensive stakeholder outreach initiatives that involve coordinating multiple advisory committees, stakeholder focus groups, public workshops, and tactical pop-up engagement. Most recently, these services were provided for the Essex County Transportation Plan, NJTPA’s Plan 2050, and the Jersey City Vision Zero Action Plan.

MPA is also a leader in economic development, providing technical assistance to downtowns, conducting market analyses, and developing strategic plans focused on equitable growth and revitalization. Recent efforts include the Metuchen Downtown Alliance Strategic Plan, Somerset County Culture & Heritage Long Range Plan, and revitalization studies in Newark, Paterson, and Vernon.