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Economic Development Specialist

City of Cambridge, Community Development Department Published: February 19, 2019
Cambridge, MA
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Economic Development Specialist


The Community Development Department (CDD) is the planning agency for the City of Cambridge. Encompassing the Economic Development, Housing, Community Planning, Zoning & Development, and Environmental & Transportation Planning divisions, CDD’s mission is to foster a livable, sustainable, and equitable community. CDD engages and collaborates with community partners, other government agencies, businesses, and residents to make Cambridge a desirable place to live, work, learn, play, and innovate.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: The City of Cambridge cares deeply about supporting local retail, small businesses and entrepreneurship, especially in light of the constantly evolving retail and small businesses environment, nationwide. Under the direction of the Director of Economic Development, the Economic Development Specialist is responsible for the development of initiatives aimed at small business retention and expansion. The Specialist will work closely with staff to advance efforts to support businesses of all types, and will work regularly with businesses owners, residents, and startups.

Primary responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Manage the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funded Small Business Coaching, Entrepreneurship Assistance, and Small Business Enhancement Programs; including working with sub-recipient contractors and businesses to carry out the programs;
  • Represent the Division in regional efforts and initiatives, such as the Greater Boston Economic Development Compact and the Life Sciences Corridor;
  • Design and execute educational workshops for small businesses and entrepreneurs with local partners;
  • Oversee and market the bi-annual 10-week Business Planning Course;
  • Ensure regular communication with current and potential program clients; respond appropriately to issues;
  • Compile and analyze program data to assess outcomes relative to program goals; use participant feedback to improve programs;
  • Provide one-on-one counseling with entrepreneurs and small business owners interested in starting or growing their businesses;
  • Assist division staff to support businesses while working with business associations and neighborhood groups;
  • Conduct research and industry analysis regarding the Cambridge economy including commercial district market profiles and other local and national economic trends;
  • Provide support for other intra-departmental and division initiatives;
  • Perform other duties as required.

Minimum Requirements

The Economic Development Specialist should be self-motivated, detail-oriented and ready to help CDD in efforts to provide financial and educational assistance to small business owners and entrepreneurs in Cambridge.

  • A Master’s Degree in planning, public policy, public administration or closely related field, plus a minimum of 5 years of relevant experience. Candidates with an undergraduate degree may be considered if they have 7-10 years of directly-relevant experience.
  • Experience with small business development, program outreach, and marketing including use of web and social media.
  • Community engagement and consensus-building experience, especially involving stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and with diverse interests and opinions; demonstrated ability to relate to the public and co-workers in a positive manner.
  • Excellent presentation and communication skills, both written and oral.
  • Experience in collaborative and multidisciplinary team-based project work, in both leading and supporting roles; good judgement.
  • Ability to communicate with a diverse range of Department staff, other City employees, volunteer board/committee members, elected officials, and members of the public in a courteous and professional manner.
  • Strong project management and consultant management skills; strong organizational and time management skills.
  • High level of motivation and detail oriented skills; ability to research and evaluate information for use in analysis and planning.
  • Overall computer proficiency including general office applications (Microsoft Office suite) and advanced applications (e.g., Adobe Acrobat, CRM).
  • Ability to prioritize workloads, multitask and meet deadlines while working in a fast-paced environment.

Preferred Qualifications

  • A genuine desire to study challenging and current issues in economic and community development.
  • Familiarity and/or working knowledge of Community Development Block Grant programs.
  • Knowledge of Cambridge is highly desirable.
Published On: February 19, 2019 |
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