Open Position: Policy Associate

Acting Director of Policy

The Scholars Strategy Network (SSN) is looking for a Policy Associate. The Policy Associate’s primary job is to  connect scholars and their research to civic organizations and policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels across the US. As a strategist, matchmaker, organizer, and coach, the Policy Associate will mentor and help scholars become powerful policy players to increase the likelihood that research is used to inform policy. Along with others on the SSN staff, the Policy Associate will facilitate SSN trainings, especially the Training Researchers to Improve Policy  (TRIP) workshop, a one-day workshop that gives scholars a hands-on introduction to effective strategies for policy engagement. 

Approximately half of the Policy Associate’s time will be spent as a policy generalist, working on a wide variety of issue areas including healthcare, immigration, and taxes. The Policy Associate will field requests from policymakers and civic organizations for connections to certain scholars or research, proactively identify policy opportunities and activate scholars around policy opportunities, and help individual scholars seeking advice on how to engage with their research. 

The other half of the Policy Associate’s time will be spent mentoring a cohort of 21 scholars whose research focuses on reducing inequality to improve the lives of young people. The Policy Associate will provide individual coaching through in-person visits, calls, and email. The Policy Associate will also track policy debates in these scholars’ issue areas and communicate directly with policymakers and civic organizations to identify opportunities for scholars to engage. 

The Policy Associate is a full-time position with a starting annual salary between $51,000-$59,000, based on qualifications and experience. SSN’s competitive benefits include health, dental, and vision insurance; 403b retirement plan with employer match, generous paid time off, and opportunities for professional development. This position reports to SSN’s Acting Director of Policy, Elizabeth (Lizzy) Ghedi-Ehrlich. The ideal candidate would begin by early November. 

SSN’s offices are in Inman Square, at 1035 Cambridge St., Suite 14B, Cambridge, MA 02141. 

Responsibilities 

As a relatively small organization, SSN has a lean, productive staff supporting and creating opportunities for our members.  SSN staff members are flexible team players willing to take on new responsibilities as needed. Among other tasks the Policy Associate will: 

  • Track relevant federal and state legislation, regulation changes, and policy debates to identify opportunities for scholars to engage.

  • Mobilize scholars around key issues, such as health and healthcare, education, and immigration. 

  • Support and coach scholars on how to engage in the policy process, including how to reach out to policymakers and civic organizations to create meaningful relationships. 

  • Give feedback on oral and written testimony. 

  • Edit written documents like public comments, policy briefs, and memos responding to a question or request posed by a policymaker or civic organizations. 

  • Respond to requests from policymakers and civic organizations for connections to scholars and research. 

  • Build relationships and communicate directly with policymakers and civic organizations to identify opportunities for scholars to engage and inform policy with research.

  • Support researchers as they conduct in-person meetings with decision makers and civic organizations to inform policy with research evidence and learn skills for the long-term.

  • After appropriate training, co-facilitate in-person and webinar-based trainings for SSN members and chapters across the country, especially SSN’s Training Researchers to Inform Policy (TRIP) workshop. 

  • Travel across the U.S., especially to Washington DC and the locations where SSN regional chapters are based, to lead trainings and facilitate other policy team work. 

  • Mentor a cohort of 21 scholars whose research focuses on reducing inequality and improving the lives of young people.

  • Potentially oversee the creation of a second cohort in early 2020 of scholars focusing on reducing inequality to improve the lives of young people.

Qualifications

The ideal candidate for this position would be:

  • An individual with at least 3 years of experience in a policymaking office (e.g., state or federal legislative office, state or federal agency, mayoral or other local office, etc.); or at least 1 year of experience and a relevant advanced degree.  

  • Someone with a solid understanding of policymaking processes (e.g., legislative processes, administrative/agency processes, implementation and evaluation, etc).

  • Comfortable -- and ideally have some experience -- working with policymakers on both sides of the political aisle. 

  • Experienced in how to do basic research, especially legislative and policy research.

  • Proficient in Microsoft Office, Google Docs, Dropbox, virtual meeting channels like Zoom, and content databases.

  • Able to prioritize a variety of short- and long-term responsibilities, and manage follow-up. 

  • An excellent writer and proofreader, capable of translating complex concepts into easy-to-understand language. 

  • A good facilitator and excited to teach others new skills and information. 

  • Comfortable with occasional travel (approx. 10-12 times a year, for 1-3 days each trip). 

  • Organized, detail-oriented, and willing to ask questions.

  • Excited to work as part of a diverse and energetic team. 

  • Self-motivated and able to work independently. 

  • Committed to SSN’s mission and fully understand how to make use of SSN’s structure as a voluntary, federated network of member researchers.

How to Apply

Email a cover letter, resume, short writing sample, and names and contact information of two references to Lizzy Ghedi-Ehrlich at  [email protected] with subject line “SSN Policy Associate - [Your Name].” Applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. 

SSN is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, class, color, disability, ethnicity, faith, gender, national origin, race, sexual orientation, or gender identity. People of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ individuals, and women are strongly encouraged to apply. Candidates who fill some, but not all of the qualifications above are still encouraged to apply. We encourage you to view SSN’s statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion, located here.