The National Conference of State Legislatures is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and legislative staff of the nation's 50 states, its commonwealths and territories. NCSL provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues. Our mission is to serve state legislatures and other intergovernmental groups by providing support, promoting fresh ideas, connecting legislators and staff with experts and each other, and provide a strong, cohesive voice in the federal system. Since its founding in 1975, NCSL's staff has grown from 15 employees to over 150 employees in its offices in Denver, CO and Washington, D.C.
This individual will utilize their expertise to execute work with state legislators related to a broad range of preschool through third grade education (P-3) policy issues, including long-term effects of preschool, opportunity and achievement gaps, dual language learners, workforce, family engagement, literacy, numeracy, early STEM and school readiness. This includes tracking the status of legislative proposals in the states and summarizing/analyzing the legislation, following trends, developing web-based material, preparing written materials, and making presentations to legislatures and other audiences on the assigned topics. In addition, this individual responds to requests for information from legislators, staff, media, and others and assist with details and logistics for meetings and state-based work that are a part of the education program's P-3 work. The ideal candidate will have background, experience, and expertise in P-3 education policy, understand the state legislative policy process, possess strong writing and public speaking skills, and be able to assist state legislatures with complex education policy issues.
A Senior Policy Specialist is expected to produce high quality work that does not require close continuing review, operates effectively and skillfully in virtually any NCSL forum, and can handle independently and with a high degree of competence. This individual will be leading several advisory groups and will act as the Program’s P-3 representative to other early childhood education working groups. Therefore, the ideal candidate will have experience working effectively on a team.
This position is grant-funded and is subject to reduction in percentage of time covered or elimination if grant funding becomes unavailable.
RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES:
Anticipates emerging issues of importance to state legislatures and initiates research, technical assistance, or seminar programs to respond.
Conducts complex, integrative research projects with an understanding of their political context and can provide substantive advice and intricate policy interpretations to legislators and legislative staff.
Develops and maintains networks with other public interest groups, the private sector, and state, federal or other governmental officials, thus helping to promote NCSL positions, activities or programs.
Coordinates research efforts between projects in an NCSL program and with other organizations to enhance policy formulation and program development.
Participates in planning, work plan development and issue identification for the program.
Identifies opportunities and initiates ideas for presentations, publications, technical assistance workshops, videotapes, letters, memos, newsletters and articles.
Writes skillfully and with minimal need for editing for the full range of publications including books and magazine articles.
Initiates innovative approaches to technical assistance programs, concurrent sessions, and seminars.
Independently plans, organizes and conducts comprehensive and balanced technical assistance programs, major state or regional conferences and national seminars and may play the lead role in coordinating the work of other professional staff in large, multi-topic seminars.
Independently manages multi-state or particularly complex technical assistance efforts.
Provides technical assistance to states that goes beyond general information dissemination and includes state-specific policy analysis and options, and in-depth problem solving.
May manage and staff a committee, task force, staff section, subcommittee, advisory group or ongoing working group.
Develops concepts for new projects in one's own and other subject areas, initiates proposals for new activities or funding opportunities, and independently develops complex project budgets and grant applications.
Assists with developing relations and conducting negotiations with new funding sources.
Establishes and maintains effective relations with leaders, legislators and legislative staff involved with difficult issues, states, or special constituencies.
Represents NCSL in substantive discussions and can explain and interpret NCSL programs and policies.
May supervise one or two professional staff on an ongoing basis or serve as coordinator of a team of other professionals on a short-term project.
This job operates in a professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as laptop computers, copy machines, scanners and smartphones.
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.
This is largely a sedentary position that requires the ability to speak, hear, see, lift small objects up to 50 lbs., open filing cabinets and bend, stoop, or stand on a stool as necessary. Requires the ability to travel locally, regionally and nationally, including overnight and weekends.
Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.
Experience and Education
Bachelor's degree plus six years of relevant and progressive work experience.
The following work experience or some equivalent combination is preferred: two years of professional experience at the level of a Policy Specialist with NCSL or another organization, two years of state or federal legislative or government experience, and two years of professional experience in the assigned subject area.
Post baccalaureate education is preferred, and up to three years of post-baccalaureate education may be substituted for the required work experience
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
Excellent writing, speaking, research, analytic and organizational skills.
Skill and competence in a wide range of research skills and tasks.
Skill and competence in working effectively with legislators and legislative staff and dealing with politically sensitive constituencies.
Excellence in working independently and under pressure on multiple projects.
Skill and competence in the interpersonal skills needed to supervise, coordinate and lead others.
Substantial knowledge and technical expertise in assigned policy areas.
Able to maintain confidentiality and handle politically sensitive work.
Skill in analyzing and organizing information.
Ability to work effectively on a team.
NCSL offers an outstanding benefits package including low cost health, dental and vision coverage, a 401(a)-retirement plan with 10% contribution after 6 months and full vesting, life & disability insurance, 3-weeks paid vacation with 5+ years of paid full-time work experience, paid leave, 35-hour work weeks, telework, pet insurance, discounted bus / train passes, in-office dry cleaning pick up, access to 24-hour fitness memberships, and more!
Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume highlighting skills and qualifications to: https://ncsl.applicantpro.com/jobs no later than Tuesday, June 11, 2019.
NCSL IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER.
About National Conference of State Legislatures
Since 1975, the National Conference of State Legislatures has been the bipartisan voice of legislators and legislative staff in the states, commonwealths and territories of the U.S. Our mission is to serve state legislatures by providing support, promoting fresh ideas, connecting legislators and staff with experts and each other, and providing a strong, cohesive voice in the federal system.
Legislators and legislative staff turn to us for up-to-date, nonpartisan information on critical state legislative issues, including health care, budgets, elections, transportation, education and more. We work to protect state sovereignty and flexibility, fight against unfunded mandates and oppose unwarranted federal pre-emption of state authority. Our experts and their research are regularly cited by prominent national news outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and NPR.
NCSL’s success depends on its dedicated and talented staff. Our staff serves a diverse community of legislators and legislative staff, and NCSL values a diverse workforce that reflects that community. We strive to recruit, develop and retain the most talented people by valuing their varied skills and ...experiences. Employees work in a challenging, often fast-paced environment where they assist legislators and legislative staff in their work to promote the common good of the citizens of the states.