The Policy Associate-National functions as a critical member of the Ounce of Prevention Fund's National Policy Team, which supports early childhood leaders in states as they advance policies to promote the healthy development of young children at risk of poor outcomes. The National Policy Team provides customized strategies and resources to policy and advocacy organizations; facilitates peer-to-peer learning and networking across states; and supports the policy work of Educare Schools and the Educare Learning Network.
The Policy Associate's primary responsibility is to support the National Policy Team's work to communicate ideas and information to the early learning field and other critical audiences. The Policy Associate will help draft analytic papers, manage the Ounce's bi-weekly summary of policy and research trends, assist with the Ounce's peer learning initiative, and create reports and communication tools that document progress to funders and state leaders. Specifically, the Policy Associate is responsible for extensive research and writing to assist the team in capturing its intellectual capital, working with the Ounce's Knowledge Manager to organize current and future materials, producing documents that are distributed nationally, partnering with the Communications Department around external and internal communications, and assisting with the planning and implementation of the Policy Exchange and the Peer Advocate Roundtable Meeting.
This position requires 10% travel.
The Policy Associate-National reports to the Senior Policy Manager, National Policy.
PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES:Produce Policy Papers and Communication Materials
Support Peer Learning Activities
- Support senior team members in researching and writing papers that support Ounce policies, positions, and strategies, and help to advance early childhood policy and funding reforms, initiate new programs and services, and connect early childhood strategies to the broader education system.
- Conduct research and analyze national, state and local public policies, programs and legislation for their impact for at-risk young children. Provide information and analyses, both verbally and in writing, to key internal staff and external state and national partners.
- Work with Knowledge Manager to organize current and future written materials.
- Develop and maintain the National Policy Digest, a bi-weekly newsletter that shares up-to-date and noteworthy developments in state and federal early childhood news, policy and funding changes, research, policy trends and analyses, upcoming events, etc. culled from diverse sources in the field.
Support Strategic Partnerships
- Manage the web-based platform for our ongoing peer learning initiative, The Policy Exchange, including managing the content on the website.
- Assist in planning the annual face to face Policy Exchange meeting.
- Assist in planning and implementing an annual Peer Advocate Roundtable Meeting in collaboration with National Policy Team and partners.
- Partner with the Ounce's Communications Division to update the National Policy website, as well as our internal SharePoint pages as needed.
- Assist with reports to funders, documenting progress and activities related to peer learning and production of papers and materials.
- Participate in workgroups, committees and meetings as assigned.
- Work with other Ounce units to promote integration and collaboration of programs and services, in particular with the Educare Learning Network, Illinois Policy Team, and the First Five Years Fund.
- Perform special projects and other duties as assigned.
SECONDARY RESPONSIBILITIES:Support State Consultation Activities
- Support senior team members in providing technical assistance to state partners in our network.
EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS:
REQUIRED SKILLS AND ABILITIES
- Master's degree or higher in public policy, social work, education, law, business, journalism or related field. Work experience that includes research, writing, policy, advocacy, education, or early childhood preferred. OR
- Bachelor's degree with a minimum of two years of work experience in public policy, journalism, and/or advocacy work, including experience researching and writing materials for external audiences.
ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS
- Superb oral and written communication skills. Demonstrated ability to articulate complex ideas, thoughts and concepts clearly and effectively, and to produce a high volume of quality written material in a deadline-oriented environment.
- Knowledge of policy and research required. Knowledge of early childhood a plus.
- Interest in and ability to readily acquire knowledge of a broad array of program, policy, research and communications issues critical to the Ounce of Prevention Fund's work, including current trends, principal theories, leading thinkers, major concerns and climate for change in the early childhood field.
- Ability to organize complex tasks, prioritize multiple assignments, exercise independent judgment, and to remain flexible and adapt to changing needs and priorities.
- Ability to meet deadlines and develop and move projects forward with a high degree of independence.
- Ability to thrive in a creative, fast-paced, and highly professional culture that emphasizes excellence, collegiality and teamwork.
- Ability to think strategically and analytically with an ability to see the big picture while managing details.
- Ability to promote and maintain effective internal and external communication among divisions and staff.
- Ability to process and protect confidential information in a professional manner.
- Proficient with computer applications, including a thorough understanding of Microsoft Outlook, word processing (Microsoft Word), spreadsheets (Microsoft Excel), databases, e-mail systems (Microsoft Office required), Power Point and the ability to learn and master other computer technology /software programs such as web-based conferencing, as needed. Good command of Internet usage.
- Ability to work independently and interact collaboratively in a team environment.
- Ability to travel independently and alone (to locations that may not be handicap accessible and may include climbing stairs) and manage travel arrangements.
- Ability to see close, distant and adjust focus.
- Must be able to manually operate and use a phone, computer and other office equipment.
- Ability to hear and understand telephone conversations.