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Planner or GIS/CAD specialist - 2023-2024 Fellow


About Us

The Challenge Detroit fellowship program is a yearlong, full-time, paid job that comes with the unique opportunity to contribute in Detroit, develop as a leader, grow your career, connect with mentors and build relationships with diverse, multidisciplinary, innovative, community-minded leaders, thinkers and doers.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are a cornerstone of Challenge Detroit. We strive to create and support a culture where people can be themselves and feel included while including others. We value a diverse representation of individuals from near and far, across races and ethnicities, gender identity, orientation, skills, experience and abilities. Diversity of thought and perspective are essential to our work.

Program Structure
  • Monday through Thursday, as a Fellow, you'll gain valuable career skills through employment at a planning, surveying and civil engineering firm (Other Fellows will work at companies ranging in size and industry—visit our website at for a list of host companies we have partnered with).
  • On Fridays, you will work with your cohort and collaborate with local nonprofits on strategic, intellectually-based, community-focused challenge projects and participate in leadership development programming. 
  • Throughout the whole year you will cultivate your network, build friendships, and enjoy our city and its neighborhoods!

The Role (Monday-Thursday)
The Fellow will:
  • Work closely and collaboratively with team leadership, internal colleagues, consultants, and/or clients to complete planning projects at their host company
  • Collect data and prepare presentations, reports, and other project deliverables
  • Participate in team meetings and share findings and recommendations with participants
  • Develop and lead community engagement activities 
  • Contribute to marketing proposals and support business development efforts
  • Review site plans and assist with permit applications, tracking, and shepherding  
  • Provide administrative support as necessary

As a Challenge Detroit Fellow, you will:

  • develop valuable leadership, project management and team-building skills through a multi-faceted leadership development program;
  • gain exposure and experience in various areas of impact in an accelerated time frame;
  • grow your career at your host company and learn about different sectors and industries;
  • learn and leverage the art of design thinking and community development best practices;
  • collaborate with multiple Detroit-based nonprofits on innovative projects to support them in moving their missions forward;
  • acquire a better understanding of the city by learning about the history of Detroit, how it has impacted the region, and about various neighborhoods in the city;
  • cultivate meaningful relationships with your cohort and the broader Challenge Detroit community;
  • connect with mentors and gain access to local leaders who have an interest in your success;
  • join the network of over 300 alumni Fellows who continue to engage and support the program as well as contribute in their communities;
  • commit one year to the program—September 2023 through August 2024; and
  • receive a $43,000 annual salary when you apply for our Standard Track, plus variable benefits typical of your host company.


We are looking for candidates who:

  • represent a diverse range of race, ethnicity, gender identity, orientation, thought, experience, perspective and ability;
  • are passionate, dedicated, proactive, hard-working, innovative, adaptable and have a growth mindset; and
  • are authorized to work in the U.S. for the duration of the program.

Education, Experience and Skills:
  • Bachelor's degree in urban or regional planning, urban studies, urban design, communication, business administration, landscape architecture, civil engineering, or related field of study (Master’s preferred) by September 2023.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office Suite programs, Adobe Creative Suite, ArcGIS, AutoCAD, and Bluebeam Revu
  • AICP Candidate or interest in becoming AICP certified, preferred

Schedule Availability:

  • Monday-Thursday: Must be able to work at host company (typically 9am-5pm but may vary by host company)
  • Fridays 9am-5pm: Must be available for Challenge Detroit programming
  • Possible evenings/weekends for Challenge Detroit cultural activities


All programming is conducted in English. Must be able to read and communicate in written and spoken English. Candidates who are able to read and communicate in more than one language are welcome!

Work Conditions:

Activities can occur in-person (indoors and outdoors) and virtually; must be able to work both independently and on a team.

Physical Demands:
  • Ability to remain in a stationary position (sitting, standing) for extended periods of time. Fellows sit, stand and sometimes walk for long periods during programming.
  • Ability to move self into different positions as needed to maneuver between, over, under, around, and/or beside furniture or other physical barriers.
  • Have dexterity required for manipulating objects and standard office supplies and equipment. This position requires Fellows to utilize laptops to create deliverables, and occasionally write, sketch/draw.
  • Have the ability to receive and exchange accurate information in both written and spoken English. This position requires Fellows to conduct verbal interviews that are recorded and then processed in written or typed format and verbally discussed.
  • Have the ability to lift/maneuver up to 20 pounds occasionally.

Location & Travel:

  • Be in the City of Detroit or greater Detroit area and be able to commute to various locations
  • (Monday - Thursday) This position is primarily in-person in a Detroit office, although company policy allows up to two days per week working remotely. Ideally the person will have the ability to travel to local project-sites and client meetings, and to the other company offices in Rochester Hills and Novi, as needed.
  • (Fridays) Be able to travel to various locations within the City of Detroit regularly for the duration of the program.

Mental Demands:

Must be able to learn new concepts, retain new information, maintain focus, problem solve, and handle multiple tasks that are intellectually demanding and challenging.

Technology & Internet:

Have access to a laptop with wifi and video conferencing capabilities, and is compatible for use with Google products. Be willing to learn new computer-based collaborative tools. Have consistent access to internet service.

Learn more and apply Tuesday, April 4, 2023, 11:59pm (ET) at