Policy Assistant (Research to Action Lab)

The Urban Institute - Washington, DC4.4

Full-timeEstimated: $59,000 - $76,000 a year
Who we are:
At the nonprofit Urban Institute, we believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities. Our employees are empowered to open minds, shape decisions and offer solutions. We encourage intellectual honesty, innovation, diversity, and mutual respect, and our analysis elevates the debate, wherever it takes place.

Urban’s greatest asset is our people. We strive to attract and cultivate a vibrant, creative, and diverse community. Our employees drive Urban’s mission through entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership, effective communication, results-orientation, and relationship cultivation. Our success depends on engaging individuals who possess and value these attributes.

Within the Urban Institute, the Research to Action Lab is an innovation hub serving decision makers and creative thinkers eager to effect social change. We draw on the breadth and depth of Urban’s research insights to test new strategies and develop cutting-edge tools, programs, and trainings, as well as to provide strategic and philanthropic advice to public, nonprofit, and private sector leaders.

How you’ll contribute:
The Research to Action Lab seeks a dynamic and highly motivated individual to work as a policy assistant to support projects on a variety of urban policy topics including housing policy, community development, economic development, social financing and impact investing. We believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities. Public policies work best when they are rooted in facts, and our research sparks solutions in programs and practice. Our analyses and recommendations help expand opportunities for all people, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the fiscal health and effectiveness of government.

The successful candidate will support senior management in the Research to Action Lab and other research and policy staff. This position plays a key support role on projects that include policy analysis, research, and training and technical assistance. This is an exciting opportunity for an individual interested in learning about and applying evidence use to public policy and practice.

Conduct background research on a range of topics by collecting and interpreting both quantitative (census data sets, statistical and survey data) and qualitative information (literature scans, review of relevant federal/local policies)
Provide background support through writing emails, memos, and developing presentations
Support and collaborate with researchers and staff preparing public products such as literature reviews, op-eds, reports, policy briefs, blog posts, tool kits, podcasts, and social media
Support planning and preparation for meetings researchers and policymakers, including developing talking points and developing background memos
Produce PowerPoint presentations and various forms of data visualization, including tables, maps, and graphics for reports
Schedule onsite and offsite meetings
Coordinate and support logistics and content development for convenings and public events (drafting invitations, conducting outreach to presenters and participants)

What you’ll bring:
The successful candidate will:
Possess a bachelor's degree, preferably in the field of public policy, urban studies, political science, or other fields
Demonstrate interest in public policy through prior work experience, involvement in volunteer programs, leadership positions in academic and/or extra-curricular settings or public policy related internship experience in fast-paced environments with federal, state, local policymakers, philanthropic and/or non-profits leaders is a plus.
Have a strong desire to engage and learn about one or more of the following topics: low-income and affordable housing; social financing and impact investing; evidence-based policymaking; neighborhood revitalization; local government; economic development; inclusive communities; and federal policy and systems
Be well-organized, highly motivated, and able to work effectively on multiple projects at once
Have excellent oral and written communication skills
Apply emerging understanding of local and federal policies, programs, and agencies to assess the application, outcomes and impacts of policy proposals and changes
Demonstrate the initiative to suggest improvements or innovations on assigned tasks
Express a willingness to adapt to changes in work assignments, deadlines and team environment
Have familiarity with MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, mobile technology, and social media tools is essential

What you’ll experience:
Working in the Nation’s Capital, the epicenter of public policy among a network of policy experts, you can expect to have an impact on policy areas you care about and work with great colleagues who are smart, mission-driven, and collaborative. You will blend academic rigor with on-the-ground collaboration, be encouraged and supported to fulfill your potential through meaningful work that matters, and enjoy a welcoming workplace free from harassment, discrimination and intolerance.

In addition, we offer a comprehensive benefits package that includes: medical, dental, disability, and life insurance coverage. Competitive paid time off allowance, and eligibility to participate in a generous retirement savings plan and reimbursable commuting expense program.

The Urban Institute is committed to Equal Employment Opportunity without regard for race, ethnicity, gender, protected veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other protected status under applicable law.

The Urban Institute is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer Minorities/Women/Disabilities/Veterans.