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LiKEN Knowledge seeks four Community Engagement Coordinators for Madison, Clark, Estill, Lee, Leslie, and Owsley Counties, KY


Posted:  July 2, 2024

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the positions are filled

Help make our communities, rivers, and forests stronger. Transform. Restore. Protect. Replenish.

Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN) and our partner, Kentucky Riverkeeper, seek four full-time community organizers to work on community development projects in eastern Kentucky for the project "Community Wealth from Healthy Rivers and Forests." The positions will be based primarily in Clark, Madison, Estill, Lee, Leslie, Owsley and surrounding counties. The initial contract will be for one year, with the potential to be extended for two years.

Job Description: We are looking for four energetic individuals with a passion for contributing to the well-being of communities in the Kentucky River watershed in eastern Kentucky. We seek someone who enjoys working with people. A key responsibility will be to organize outreach and recruit participants in various community development projects. Your role will be to motivate and support people as they come together to identify needs and solve problems in their local communities. You will play an essential role in building effective communication and collaboration among diverse partners in this work -- including community members and nonprofits, local and state officials, and researchers. Your first responsibility is to listen deeply to the diverse perspectives within the communities you serve. Other responsibilities will be to plan and conduct educational and planning workshops, write reports, and build leadership and skills among project participants with the support of other members of the LiKEN team. From 2024-27, this job will focus on the project, "Community Wealth from Healthy Rivers and Forests" and the related Kentucky River Water Trail, supporting community-led efforts to restore ecosystems through agroforestry and connect landowners to new markets for ecosystem services.

Applicants do not have to have experience with (agro)forestry, heirs’ property, ecosystem markets, or nonprofits. This information will be learned on the job. The most important qualification is that applicants are willing to learn and are passionate about the people, land, rivers, and forests that make up their local communities and ecologies.

Background:  LiKEN is a link-tank, based in Lexington, KY ( LiKEN’s mission is to help communities grow good livelihoods based on local assets, to build community health and wealth, and to take evidence-based action for future well-being based on a deep understanding of the past. We work on projects to protect and care for resources that people depend on for basic life needs -- such as safe and affordable water, healthy forests and food, vibrant culture, equitable and dependable access to land and public revenues.

The Kentucky Riverkeeper is an independent non-profit devoted to the preservation of the River and the communities that depend upon it. The group focuses on education, research/monitoring, litigation, advocacy and listening to the voices of citizens and leaders throughout the watershed. The Kentucky Riverkeeper is part of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a group of more than 300 "keepers" around the world.

Responsibilities include:

  • Recruit project participants

  • Work one-on-one with landowners, connecting them to services and resources

  • Conduct research, including reading scholarly articles

  • Participate in and assist in organizing educational workshops

  • Train community members in organizing and leadership skills

  • Keep in communication with team members, partners, and project participants

  • Create action plans; plan and generate turnout for events

  • Help community members in their contacts with public officials, agencies, technical experts, and researchers and facilitate communication between them.

Essential qualifications:

  • A self-starter with the ability to work independently, think strategically, and be organized in a fast-paced work environment

  • Working well as a team member, with a variety of people

  • Demonstrated experience in bringing people together and guiding them toward collective action

  • Ability to complete complex assignments in a timely manner, conduct research with accuracy and attention to detail, and document activities adequately for other team members

  • Ability to work outdoors in a variety of weather conditions, especially around river and forest environments

  • Ability to work with small groups and large crowds

  • Strong speaking and writing skills

  • Skills in conflict resolution

  • Proficient with computers, Google Suite, and Microsoft Office

Personal characteristics:

  • Commitment to LiKEN’s goals and values

  • Ability to get along well with people from diverse backgrounds

  • Kind, empathic, and community-oriented

  • Open-minded and ready to learn

  • Desire to seek out and learn from feedback

  • Respectful of human differences and nonjudgmental

  • Ability to work some evenings and weekends, and to occasionally travel out of town for 3-4 days at a time

  • Residence in one of the counties served by our projects

An outstanding candidate will have some of the following:

  • Personal and/or family roots in, and first-hand experience of Appalachian KY and WV, and a good understanding of the region’s history and issues

  • Experience with organizing and outreach tools (social media, Zoom or other online meeting platforms, making and distributing flyers, etc.)

  • College-level courses in Appalachian Studies, anthropology, biology, forestry, natural resources, or other environmental or natural sciences

  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as sociology, social work, psychology, anthropology, geography, folklore, political science, history, education, Appalachian studies, forestry, agriculture, or peace studies.

Salary and Benefits:

The starting salary is $35k-$42k, depending on experience. Benefits include health insurance coverage (for individual only), one week of paid vacation for the first year (two weeks starting at year two), Simple IRA retirement program.

Application must include: cover letter (tell us why you are interested in the job and why you are a good candidate), resume, contact information for 3 professional references

Send application materials to: Impact Director, Deborah Thompson,

All documents should be in either Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf).

LiKEN Knowledge is an equal-opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran or disability status. We are committed to providing employees with a work environment free of discrimination and harassment.

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