POSITION TITLE:  Rural Equity Specialist

STATUS: Full Time, Exempt

REPORTS TO: Executive Director

REVIEW: Periodically

Position Description:

The specialist performs a wide range of technical and interpersonal activities across south central Minnesota to strengthen local economies; identify and reinforce social capital; diversify the regional workforce; and create more connected, resilient, and inclusive communities where all people have the support and resources to live fulfilling, productive lives.

Operating from the perspective that improving diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) represents sound economic policy, this individual conducts planning and community work in several areas, including, but not limited to, community development, economic development, comprehensive planning, and transportation.

This work is highly autonomous and entails extensive contact with public officials, the general public, individual clients, strategic partners, and grant makers. As such, this position requires exceptional communication skills. Additionally, this position offers a high degree of flexibility and creativity for the individual to develop and promote new initiatives and projects that align with RNDC’s values, goals, and mission.

This is a two-year, grant-funded position, which could lead to further employment for the right individual. A signing bonus may be made available to help with relocation expenses, contingent upon a signed 2-year commitment. New projects and initiatives that offer sustainable funding streams, such as grants and strategic partnerships, are welcomed and encouraged. Multilingual individuals, persons of color, and people from disadvantaged populations are encouraged to apply.

Level of Responsibility

The specialist has full responsibility for programs and projects, while working under the general direction of the senior regional planner and supervision of the executive director.

Responsible for securing funding for new programs and projects. Accountable for annual department income expectations identified in each RNDC-approved fiscal-year budget. Required to establish and maintain project-level budgets for new initiatives.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities Illustrative only, other duties may be assigned.

  • Commitment to furthering the development of the region through intergovernmental cooperation, community and human development, long-range planning, and technical assistance.
  • Encourage and empower communities to test and pilot new diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives to recruit and retain talent, grow local economies, and advance sustainable and inclusive economic development.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with community leaders and organizations, with an emphasis on underrepresented communities, that lead to sustainable partnerships (e.g. school districts, nonprofits, civic groups, city departments, faith communities, ethnic-based communities, businesses, community development organizations, etc.).
  • Develop and update regional DEI plan, including success metrics, for organizational partners (e.g. grant makers and collaborators).
  • Support and promote programming, training and other activities that drive the organization’s Welcoming Communities vision and strategies.
  • Coordinate, facilitate, and schedule meetings for Welcoming Communities groups.
  • Seek grant and program opportunities and funding that will engage and strengthen the region’s communities and prepare and/or assist with grant applications.
  • Provide technical and grant writing assistance to local units of government and others applying to state and federal programs.
  • Assist communities in determining their needs, priorities, and in securing funding for projects.
  • Conduct program development, research, and implementation activities for a variety of departments within RNDC as well as support departments with short term projects (i.e., monthly board meeting packets, annual reporting, etc.) and cross train with other employees.
  • Provide information on projects and issues for annual reports, e-newsletters, press releases, website content, etc.
  • Give public presentations regarding projects.
  • Respond to requests for information.  Pursue opportunities and disseminate pertinent information to the public, government officials, and other stakeholders.
  • Attend RNDC Board meetings, Commission meetings, committee meetings, etc., as needed.
  • Participate in RNDC staff functions, such as weekly staff meetings, staff development days, training sessions.
  • Use strong oral and written communication to collaborate, influence, and build relationships.
  • Performs other duties as assigned such as but not limited to coordinating other special economic development programs, communicating with other organizations and other like positions across the state, and coordinating additional workshops and civic engagement activities and/or projects.


To perform the job successfully, an individual should demonstrate the following competencies:

Empathetic – Listens to individuals and seeks to appreciate their lived experiences; assimilates those experiences and converts them into strategies that benefit communities and regional economies.

Collaborative – Works with community leaders, key stakeholders, and colleagues to develop and implement DEI strategies that have maximum community support.

Analytical – Synthesizes complex or diverse information; collects and researches data; uses intuition and experience to complement data; designs work flows and procedures.

Problem Solving – Identifies and resolves problems in a timely manner; gathers and analyzes information skillfully; develops alternative solutions; works well in group problem solving situations; uses reason even when dealing with emotional topics.

Project Management – Develops project plans; coordinates projects; communicates changes and progress; completes projects on time and budget; manages project team activities.

Technical Skills – Assesses own strengths and weaknesses; pursues training and development opportunities; strives to continuously build knowledge and skills; shares expertise with others.

Interpersonal Skills – Focuses on solving conflict, not blaming; maintains confidentiality; listens to others without interrupting; keeps emotions under control; remains open to others’ ideas and tries new things.

Oral Communication – Speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; listens and gets clarification; responds well to questions; demonstrates group presentation skills; participates in meetings.

Written Communication – Writes clearly and informatively; edits work for spelling and grammar; varies writing style to meet needs; presents numerical data effectively; able to read and interpret written information.


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Education and/or Experience                  

Related bachelor’s degree from four-year college or university plus three years related experience and/or training; master’s degree may be substituted for two years of experience and/or training.

Skills (Ability to) 

To perform this job successfully, an individual should have the abilities and strong working knowledge of the following:

  • Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook
  • Strong internet skills for research, utilization of online forms and communication.
  • Ability to conduct research, both quantitative and qualitative.
  • Ability to conduct small group facilitation and meetings.
  • Coordinate/facilitate public participation.
  • Manage oversight of several projects at one time with the ability to organize work, set priorities, follow up on assignments, and meet critical deadlines with minimal supervision.
  • Communicate effectively with all stakeholders, including community members and public officials, through both written and oral communications.
  • Ability to maintain professional working relationships with staff as a team member and other organizations. Ability to work effectively with community groups and business leaders.
  • Ability to work independently and as a team member.
  • Basic understanding of planning processes; comprehensive planning, economic development, grant writing, reporting, and process; planning and economic development principles; office procedures, government operations, and relevant rules and regulations; federal and state public facilities programs and other funding programs.
  • Ability to maintain and safeguard confidential data in accordance with appropriate state and federal regulations.

Language Requirements                 

Fluent in English language with the ability to communicate effectively with internal/external stakeholders and public both verbally and in writing

Ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures, or governmental regulations.  Ability to write reports, business correspondence, and procedure manuals.  Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, clients, customers, and the general public.

Multilingual candidates encouraged to apply.

Certificates, Licenses, Registrations

Valid Class D Minnesota Driver’s License; must be valid throughout employment.

Other requirements

Must be able to:

  • Have access to transportation to attend meetings, operate a motor vehicle, attend night meetings periodically, attend work functions where some overnight stay or weekend availability is required.
  • Ability to work throughout the RNDC service area.

Physical Demands

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit and talk or hear. The employee is frequently required to use hands and fingers to feel, move, etc. and reach with arms and hands. The employee is occasionally required to stand and walk for periods of time. The employee must regularly lift and /or move up to 10 pounds, frequently lift and/or move up to 25 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. Specific vision abilities are required by this job including close vision and distance vision.

Work Environment

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The RNDC is a small office of less than 10 professional staff in a flexible, family friendly environment.

The noise level in the work environment is usually quiet. Common space is available for meetings and group interactions. Can be somewhat disruptive due to shared offices and open area with cubicles.

Benefits Package

Employee benefits include health insurance, health savings account with employer contributions, pre-tax flexible spending account, life insurance, PERA retirement benefit, paid holidays and vacation time, sick leave, and additional voluntary benefits available.


  • Class C41 to C52
  • Depending on qualifications
  • Utilizes the Decision Band Method
  • Signing bonus possible with minimum 2-year committment


While employed by RNDC, employees must adhere to, sign, and agree to RNDC confidential policy as well as the conditions outlined in the RNDC personnel policy manual.

The RNDC and employees have an employee relationship known as employment-at-will.  This means that either the RNDC or an employee has the right to terminate the employment relationship at any time.

This job description is not intended to be all-inclusive, and employees will also perform other reasonably-related job duties assigned by the executive director. RNDC reserves the right to revise or change job duties as the need arises. This job description does not constitute a written or implied contract of employment.

How to Apply

Application will be accepted until the position is filled.

  • Applications will not be considered without cover letter, resume, writing sample, and completed online application.
  • Cover letter and resume should be addressed to Executive Director Nicole Griensewic, 3 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 310, Mankato, MN.

Please contact Corree Johnson at 507.389.8885 with questions.

Region Nine Development Commission is an EOE/ADA Employer.