Rural Community Designer

Blue Sky Center

New Cuyama, CA

Start date: 7/6/2021
Location: New Cuyama, CA
Position type: Full-time (35 hours/week)

Position Description:
We are looking for applicants with aligned professional experience, a history of listening first and then
leading responsible reactions, a determination and grit that understands the power of duration. We have a lot to do, and we need you. This position is a multi-year position; we’re looking for someone interested in taking on multi-year initiatives with long-term goals. The first 12 months of the position is funded through AmeriCorps, a national service program. Subsequent years are funded through grants, earned income, and the work you do with the Blue Sky team to develop your position into the best fit for you and in line with Blue Sky Center’s strategic priorities. We are seeking applicants who want to commit their skills and passion for rural economic development to the Cuyama Valley and call Cuyama home.

Job Responsibilities:
● Manage projects within the Community Infrastructure focus area, coordinating partnerships and
programming efforts related to focus area goals that include:
○ Support community-wide efforts to address inequities highlighted by the global pandemic
that has disproportionately affected rural and historically marginalized minority populations.
○ Maintain, expand, and create institutional partnerships and support outreach for
government agencies and nonprofit organizations that offer services to Cuyama Valley
residents, such as: USDA Rural Development, Rural Community Assistance Corporation,
California Coalition for Rural Housing, Enterprise Community Partners, local community
action partnerships, etc.
○ Expand the scope, reach, and effectiveness of the Cuyama Valley Community Action Plan by
researching, writing, and implementing grants that support community-wide initiatives as
well as leveraging in-kind support through partnerships to build collaborative capacity
building between Cuyama’s community organizations.
○ Advocate for vibrant communities with access to healthy, affordable, and appropriate
● Manage projects within the Creative Community Engagement arts-based focus area, coordinating
research and advocacy efforts related to focus area goals that include:
○ Coordinate and develop creative community engagement strategies at Blue Sky Center that
celebrate the existing culture of Cuyama, including but not limited to: artist/designer
residency programs, community events, and small business incubation.
○ Create communication plans for 2021-2022: Update and build on a database and mailing list
of contacts and send out routine email newsletters communicating key updates on the
community projects.
○ Create pathways for academic programming to engage and enhance the Cuyama Joint
Unified School District, specifically targeting understaffed or underfunded subjects.
○ Conceive and implement programs within Creative Community Engagement that generate
revenue for continued programming.
● Assist with resource development and/or grant writing for funding opportunities related to
community design, housing, rural vibrancy, and creative community engagement.
● Assist Facilities Manager with design strategies for the improvement of Blue Sky’s facilities.
● Identify, design, and implement public relations materials that will increase the awareness of the
Blue Sky Center as well as the Cuyama Valley while strengthening a shared identity for the
communities of the Cuyama Valley.

We realize this work is very specific to this place and our community and may have interested applicants
that are not fully qualified on the myriad of skills and experiences with the full breadth of the work we
undertake. We seek first a cultural fit (to the Valley and to Blue Sky) and then the technical skills fit of
applicants. Applicants qualified with at least 80% of the desired experience metrics will be considered. We
provide one-on-one orientation and training - both in shadowing experienced staff and mentorship - for
the last 20%.
● Lived rural experience and/or appreciation: You are eager to immerse in a rural community to learn
about its issues and to strategize how to support and build on its strengths and abundance.
● Strong written and verbal communication: You are able to effectively and efficiently communicate
in varied settings and on varied platforms. Spanish language proficiency is a plus.
● Commitment to Blue Sky Center’s Diversity, Ethics, Inclusion, and Justice Goals, as outlined in our
Racial Equity Statement; additionally, you are willing to participate in weekly Spanish-language
training sessions, regardless of current ability.
● Proficiency in Adobe Creative Suite (AutoCAD/Rhino is a plus): You are able to design and layout
flyers, pamphlets, reports, websites, and documents, for print and web, using and updating style
guides. You have aesthetic sensibilities prioritized for readability, clarity, and quality along with a
grasp on graphic design best practices. (Our Creative Director will assist you in these tasks.)
● One (1) year minimum of professional experience: You have worked - either in a nonprofit, business,
and/or institution - within the areas of expertise of design-related fields, architecture, landscape
architecture, design, urban planning/design, art, creative community engagement, and/or have
relevant life experiences considered as qualification.
● Mission and culture fit: You are committed to the mission and vision of Blue Sky Center. You see
this role as an opportunity to exercise your passion and align your values and purpose with the
values and purpose of an organization attempting to strengthen rural communities by supporting
entrepreneurs and building regional creative and economic resources. You believe in the power of
building models for resilient, thriving, and inclusive rural economies.
● Comfort in fast-paced, dynamic environments: You are willing to tackle projects without much
guidance/structure and know when to ask for help. You are the one who builds structure. For
example, you have stepped into ambiguous and disorganized situations and built out game-plans
and next steps.
● Experience coordinating or managing people: You’re great at coordinating other people and keeping
them on schedule and you have experience setting and holding expectations with others. You enjoy
social team environments and are adept at balancing work and play.
● Experience managing/coordinating multiple stakeholders to achieve common goals: You have
worked with at least two of the following stakeholders: community organizations, local businesses,
grantors, policymakers, community members, elected officials, etc. You can speak to experiences
identifying, pursuing, establishing a partnership or relationship with someone that was elusive and
hard to pin down.
● Strong organizational and interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence: Your success is built upon
a foundation of methodical, personal organization that gives you the confidence to reach deadlines
and achieve outcomes even when there are numerous other "priorities" and distractions. Simply
put, you get things done.

Compensation - Year 1:
● 12 months full-time employment (35 hours per week)
● $24,053 for the first year, paid biweekly
● Up to $1,000 relocation allowance
● Settling-in allowance of $750 at start of term
● Education Award of $6,195 OR a cash award of $1,800 at completion of first 12-month term
● We see this position as a multi-year position within our organization. We are specifically looking to
hire a part-time - or potentially full-time - visual designer/marketing specialist on staff by 2022
with a competitive wage commensurate with experience and performance.

Fringe Benefits:
● 10 days paid vacation / 10 days paid sick leave in addition to federal and winter holiday closures
(typically 25 additional paid days off)
● Assistance securing shared housing (with other BSC team members) in New Cuyama, CA
● Access to learning new skills (carpentry, welding, screen printing)
● $350 budget for professional and personal development opportunities
● Limited health care benefits offered through AmeriCorps (more info here)
● Mileage reimbursement for work-related travel
● Discount on Shelton Huts (50%) for visiting friends and family
● Occasional weekend activities (BBQs, wine tastings, harvests, farm tours) at various ranches
● Professional network development through Blue Sky Center contacts and events
● Periodic family-style meals with Blue Sky Center team and visitors
● 24/7 access to Blue Sky Center offices/facilities
● Flexibility to accept side work that does not impact duties of position (as pre-approved)
● Those who have children under the age of 13 may qualify for the VISTA program’s childcare benefit
● In certain circumstances, additional financial support for emergency travel and expenses
● After the term, one year of non-competitive eligibility for employment in the federal government
● More details available here

AmeriCorps VISTA:
The first year of this position is funded through and provided by AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), a national service program designed to fight poverty, originally envisioned by President John F. Kennedy. Blue Sky Center:
Blue Sky Center (BSC) is a rural nonprofit located in New Cuyama, California. With a vision to build models for resilient, thriving rural economies, we work to strengthen our communities within the surrounding Cuyama Valley by supporting entrepreneurs and building our regional creative and economic resources. The Cuyama Valley, a 300-square-mile high-desert region, is home to 1,100 residents and lies just north of the Los Padres National Forest and south of the Carrizo Plain National Monument. New Cuyama (pop. 551) was founded as a company town built by the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) in 1950. Today the townsite of New Cuyama includes 216 homes, the Cuyama Valley High School, the Cuyama Valley Recreation District office,the Cuyama Valley Family Resource Center, a post office, local utilities and services, a library, a small health clinic, and a number of commercial businesses. Blue Sky Center operates out of renovated industrial and office buildings from the ARCO era. The larger Cuyama Valley is home to a number of agricultural operations, which is the primary industry, along with oil production and ranching. More information on Blue Sky Center can be found on our website, Instagram, and Facebook.

To apply:

Visit to find the application portal. You will be prompted to answer a few questions
and upload your cover letter, resume/CV, and work examples. Short-listed applicants will be interviewed thereafter and final selections are expected to be made by May 21st. Selected members will complete a thorough on-site orientation upon arrival.

Become a Supporter