The National Main Street Center is a leading organization focused on the revitalization of older and historic commercial districts in urban and rural locales throughout the United States. In its more than 40-year history, Main Street has worked in more than 2,000 communities and brought about billions of dollars in reinvestment and tens of thousands buildings rehabilitated, jobs added, and businesses launched. In 2021, the National Main Street Center aims to establish a stronger foundation in its use of geospatial data and analysis. This work will include gathering, drawing, and publishing updated boundaries for the 1,200+ current Main Street commercial corridors across the U.S., as well as augmenting the Main Street database with information from the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources.
The National Main Street Center has advanced its usage of GIS considerably over the past year, and we are looking for an intern to assist us in taking this work to the next level. The intern will assist with the creation of new Main Street program boundaries in GIS, analyzing GIS data to understand the diverse makeup of Main Streets and Main Street businesses, and writing up and sharing results of this analysis on the National Main Street Center blog at mainstreet.org.
National Trust internships are temporary experiential learning opportunities with no expectation of employment at the conclusion of the internship.
For this internship, the National Trust is offering a stipend of $5,000 to help offset expenses. The period of the internship would be from approximately June 6, 2021 to August, 13, 2021, for approximately 28 hours per week (some flexibility of schedule available).
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most National Trust staff and interns will continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future (currently projected through August 2021). Internships for 2021 will be performed remotely.
- Work with the Director of Research and Associate Manager of Projects and Research to structure an organized process for gathering and storing Main Street program boundary information
- Conduct outreach to Main Street coordinating programs and managers to request and subsequently retrieve program boundary information in a variety of formats
- Use GIS software to draw new vector shapefiles for Main Street programs
- Correspond with Main Street coordinating programs and managers to confirm newly drawn program boundaries
- Store GIS shapefiles in an organized file structure (to be located on OneDrive, at least for the duration of the summer)
- Work with the Director of Research and Associate Manager of Projects and Research to brainstorm on additional data sources to mine and leverage in conjunction with Main Street boundary information. These data sources will likely include data from the U.S. Census Bureau and its Center for Economic Studies
- Download, explore, and analyze multiple geospatial datasets to understand the Main Street network in new ways
- Work collaboratively with the Director of Research and Associate Manager of Projects and Research to write up a blog post summarizing preliminary analysis of geospatial data
- As interest and capacity allow, the intern may also contribute to other Main Street research efforts, including the development and publication of case studies on entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial ecosystems, long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on business and resident (re-)location decisions, the character of activity in autocentric, postwar commercial corridors, and other topics.
EDUCATIONAL VALUE TO THE INTERN
The intern will gain experience under the mentorship of respected economic development and research professionals, in an educational setting at one of the nation’s leading nonprofit organizations focused on community revitalization and economic development. The intern will also have the opportunity to participate in educational programming offered via the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s organization-wide internship program. Students may also be eligible for college or graduate school academic credit at the discretion of their institution.
Specifically, the intern will gain knowledge in the following areas:
- Place-based economic development, in both urban and rural locales
- The intersections of historic preservation, downtown revitalization, and economic development
- Research on entrepreneurial ecosystems and paths to strengthening local economies
- Leveraging public data sources to develop market analysis
- Applications of GIS software and geospatial data in a nonprofit setting
At the end of the project the intern will have produced a GIS database of Main Street program boundaries and additional geospatial data, and a blog post summarizing the results of their data collection and analysis, which can be added to their professional portfolio in support of their future career pursuits.
- Interest in place-based economic development and familiarity with geospatial analysis.
- Availability to work a minimum of 20 hours per week and 280 hours over the course of the summer
- Basic analytical and problem solving skills, including issue identification and prioritization. Basic project-organization skills.
- Excellent attention to detail.
- Ability to collaborate and achieve results with supervision, including ability to interact professionally with key internal and external stakeholders as needed. Public contact and ability to work successfully in close proximity to others required.
- Strong organizational skills required, with ability to prioritize, multi-task efficiently, and meet deadlines in a timely fashion
- Ability to adapt and be flexible in a dynamic work environment. Ability to work effectively with frequent interruptions required. Able to handle frequently changing and/or unscheduled tasks with accuracy.
- Strong verbal and written communication skills. Friendly and professional demeanor on the phone and in writing, with ability to speak and write clearly in English.
- Ability to work effectively with culturally diverse colleagues; connections to or experience helping to engage culturally diverse audiences and partners a plus. Bi-lingual language skills (especially English/Spanish) a plus.
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office products required, including Outlook, Word and Excel.
- Experience working with GIS software and geospatial analysis required, and experience working with open-source software such as QGIS, PostgreSQL, and PostGIS preferred.
- Ability work effectively in a remote environment, maintaining productivity and communications to meet deadlines and goals, is required.
- Bachelor’s level studies (or equivalent years of experience) required; current or rising juniors, seniors or graduate students preferred. Studies or demonstrated interest in urban planning, public policy, public administration, economics, geography, or historic preservation preferred.