Executive Director, Climate Jobs Institute
Job Posted: 25 October 2022
Company: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, School of Labor and Employment Relations
Closing Date: 27 November 2022 or Until Filled
Location: Champaign, IL


Link to application and full position listing

The School of Labor and Employment Relations invites applications for the inaugural Executive Director of the Climate Jobs Institute (CJI). The successful candidate will provide visible and compelling leadership to establish the Institute’s reputation as a state, national and global leader in research on workforce, societal and economic impacts of moving toward a cleaner energy future.  Newly established and funded by the Illinois Legislature in 2022, the Climate Jobs Institute will produce high-quality, reliable, and accurate quantitative analysis and research on labor, employment, and the broader social and economic impacts of decarbonization. The Climate Jobs Institute’s research and educational programming will support the State of Illinois’s transition to a strong, equitable decarbonized economy. As the State has established itself as an early mover within the U.S. on these issues, the research conducted by the CJI also stands to have considerable impact on other federal, state and local policies beyond Illinois, making this a particularly timely and exciting opportunity.

The Climate Jobs Institute’s activities include:

  • Evaluating how workforce opportunities in the clean-energy industry can provide just transitions for displaced energy workers in the State of Illinois and beyond.
  • Quantifying the impacts of decarbonization on economic development, employment and growth in the State of Illinois and beyond.
  • Identifying opportunities to maximize job creation and workforce development in the State’s clean-energy industry, being particularly mindful of job creation in historically underrepresented populations and environmental justice communities.
  • Recommending policies that will create high-quality family- and community-sustaining jobs in the clean-energy economy.
  • Developing strategies to address current and future supply chain vulnerabilities and challenges in the clean-energy manufacturing industry.
  • Identifying how to expand access to high-quality clean energy jobs for environmental justice communities and other frontline communities that have faced historical inequities (e.g., best practices for building pipelines of workers through on-the-job training programs, job hubs, and apprenticeship programs).
  • Assessing the types of support that local governments will need to help communities develop their own community energy, climate and jobs plans.
  • Evaluating initiatives, identifying research support and promulgating best practices for specific programs (e.g., Public Schools Carbon-Free Assessment programs).
  • Collaborating with related Institutes and Centers at the University of Illinois on joint/interdisciplinary research, policy recommendations, academic publications, and external funding proposals related to clean energy initiatives.
  • Publicly disseminating research and recommendations via a wide range of outlets, including public policy reports, top tier peer-reviewed academic articles, interactive web platforms, and other outreach and education programs for labor, communities, law makers, and media. 

The University of Illinois is frequently lauded as a pioneer in interdisciplinary research, and has made considerable investments in research infrastructure related to environment and clean energy and related policy considerations. The Climate Jobs Institute will join this broader research ecosystem, with opportunities to collaborate with other centers and institutes on campus, including the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment (iSEE), the Prairie Research Institute, the Institute of Government and Public Affairs, and the Center for Social and Behavioral Science.


The successful candidate will hold a doctoral degree relevant to the mission and goals of the institute and have an outstanding record of scholarly accomplishments appropriate for appointment as a tenured full professor at a leading research university. While a full professor is preferred, candidates with records appropriate for appointment as advanced tenured associate professors may also be considered. Disciplinary background may vary, but could include environmental economics, energy economics, labor economics, political economics, political science, public policy, urban and regional planning, community development, or a related field.  The candidate  is expected to have significant experience in bringing science to bear on public policy decisions (e.g., labor policy, workforce development); experience managing a scientific institute or organization of comparable scope and complexity; ability or experience in forming and maintain relationships with state, federal, and relevant non-governmental organizations; an established record of obtaining sponsored funding from state, and federal agencies and the private sector; and administrative experience in actively facilitating research endeavors. The Executive Director will provide vision, energy and enthusiasm, and have excellent communications and strategic planning skills. They will also have strong organizational and interpersonal skills, including being comfortable interacting with various constituents of the campus and of external communities (e.g., legislators, labor union leaders, environmental advocacy organization leaders, renewable energy industry leaders). The successful candidate will have excellent budget management and decision-making skills, and the ability to prioritize and manage multiple ongoing projects and proposals simultaneously. The committee would prefer candidates who have familiarity with academic research environments, and skill or experience in academic administration and communicating with legislators is desirable.


  • Provide leadership, direction and overall administration for development and implementation of applied research, academic research and publications, grants, education programs, initiatives, and other activities of the Institute.
  • Develop the mission statement and objectives, initial structure, business plan, and budget for the Institute, in line with the school’s and University’s mission and with the advice and support of the LER dean and the Climate Jobs Advisory Council.
  • Develop, prioritize, and deliver on research projects in support of standing research needs and emergent requests from the Illinois State Legislature.
  • Identify and secure state, federal, and private sources of grant funding.
  • Actively engage in discussions with other research institute directors at the University of Illinois regarding opportunities for collaboration, and support collaborative efforts in social science, science, engineering and the arts and humanities.
  • Report regularly to the dean of LER to obtain input and advice, and to report on the activities, plans, and outcomes of the Institute, including a formal, written annual report.
  • Serve as chair and convene the Climate Jobs Advisory Council, to obtain input and report on the activities, plans, and outcomes of the Institute.
  • Manage the Institute’s human and financial resources and physical infrastructure.
  • Elevate CJI’s profile and reputation, through engaged representation at conferences, meetings, education events, media outreach, communication platforms, and public events.
  • Actively engage with multiple faculty within LER and/or other units at Illinois, involving them in the work of the CJI. This can include short-term projects, programs, or other activities.
  • Encourage and lead a strong commitment to diversity through establishing retention and recruiting priorities for the institute, as well as personally exhibiting a commitment to inclusion.

Founded in 1867, the University of Illinois is a world-class leader in research, teaching and public engagement. Widely noted for research excellence, even among the nation’s most elite institutions, for the last several years running, Illinois has been awarded more National Science Foundation funding than any other University in the world.

Originally founded as the Institute for Labor and Industrial Relations in 1946, the School of Labor and Employment Relations (LER) has more than 20 faculty members with expertise that spans virtually every aspect of the employment relationship. Our degree programs provide students with the breadth of knowledge to become effective practitioners in corporate settings or in labor union leadership, as well as the flexibility to build a depth of knowledge in critical aspects of employment. Our Labor Education Program (LEP) provides technical training, conferences and professional development for more than 2,000 union leaders each year.

Urbana-Champaign is centrally located between Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. Learn more at https://yourewelcomecu.com/.  The University is a land-grant institution that provides access to world-class facilities, Big Ten athletic events, and international acclaimed cultural opportunities.

To find out more about the resources available at the university and in the Urbana-Champaign community please visit these sites:

Dual Career Program
Living in Champaign-Urbana

Appointment Information
This is a 100% full-time tenured faculty (Professor) position, appointed on a 12-month basis. The position reports to the Dean of the School of Labor and Employment Relations.  The appointment has a start date that is negotiable. Salary is commensurate with experience. 

Application Procedures & Deadline Information
Applications must be received by 6:00 pm (CST) on November 27, 2022. To apply for this position, please create a candidate profile at http://jobs.illinois.edu and upload your letter of interest, curriculum vitae, and names/contact information of three professional references.  For self-nominations from current Illinois faculty, the endorsement of the candidate's dean and unit head/chair will be solicited.  Interviews may be conducted before the closing date; however, no hiring decision will be made until after that date.  Complete applications received by November 27, 2022, will receive full consideration, but applications will be accepted until a candidate for hire is identified. Applications not submitted through http://jobs.illinois.edu will not be considered. 

For further information regarding the position, please contact one of the search committee co-chairs:  Professor Dan Newman (email at [email protected] or phone at 217-244-2512) or Professor Madhu Khanna (email at [email protected] or phone at 217-333-5176). You may also visit http://www.ler.illinois.edu for additional information. For questions regarding the application process, please contact 217-333-2137.

The University of Illinois System is an equal opportunity employer, including but not limited to disability and/or veteran status, and complies with all applicable state and federal employment mandates. Please visit Required Employment Notices and Posters to view our non-discrimination statement and find additional information about required background checks, sexual harassment/misconduct disclosures, COVID-19 vaccination requirement, and employment eligibility review through E-Verify.

Applicants with disabilities are encouraged to apply and may request a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (2008) to complete the application and/or interview process. Requests may be submitted through the reasonable accommodations portal, or by contacting the Accessibility & Accommodations Division of the Office for Access and Equity at 217-333-0885, or by emailing [email protected].

Requisition ID: 1013412
Job Category: Faculty
Apply at: https://jobs.illinois.edu