Manager of Policy and Government Affairs, Access Living (Chicago, IL)

  • Closing / removal date: open until filled
  • Posted: September 6, 2023
  • Department: Advocacy
  • Reports to: Vice President of Advocacy

Job Details:

Access Living seeks a Manager of Policy and Government Affairs to support Access Living’s growing policy team. This exciting new management position will guide, inform, and support Access Living’s wide-ranging and complex disability policy and government affairs portfolio. The Manager of Policy and Government Affairs will be responsible for the day-to-day supervision of Access Living’s six policy staff and their policy campaigns/projects. The policy team addresses systems change at four main levels: City of Chicago, Cook County, State of Illinois, and the federal level. Access Living’s policy staff focus on the following issue areas: education, transportation, economic justice, mental health, diversion/reentry, and healthcare/home and community-based services. Housing policy advocacy is conducted through collaboration with our Housing Organizer and our Civil Rights Department; our Manager of Organizing leads on immigration policy advocacy. The Manager will collaborate with the Director of Advocacy on big-picture planning and problem-solving to best achieve Access Living’s organizational goals on systems change for people with disabilities. The policy staff also serve as in-house lobbyists; the Manager will be responsible for ensuring Access Living’s lobbyist requirement compliance. The Manager will also work closely with Access Living’s two Springfield contract lobbyists, as well as with the Manager of Organizing and her team of four organizers. The Manager will collaborate closely with other Access Living colleagues across departments, including the Independent Living Department, Communications Department, and the Civil Rights Department. The Manager will ensure alignment of Access Living’s policy activities with the Access Living strategic plan. Finally, the Manager will be responsible for overseeing special events and projects related to Access Living’s policy goals.

Specific Duties:

  • Provide critical leadership on Access Living’s complex, intersectional systems change projects for people with disabilities. Act as a key liaison with government officials at multiple levels. Coordinate smooth alignment and development of Access Living’s wide-ranging and fast-moving policy work, within the context of Access Living’s overall programming.
  • Supervise six Access Living policy staff in building disability community power through systems change. Support the policy team in breaking down weekly accountability goals and campaign/project design. Ensure alignment with Access Living’s mission and strategic goals; ensure that legislative and other deadlines are met. Collaborate with Director of Advocacy and lobbying contractors to maximize impact of policy efforts.
  • Serve as lead in coordinating Access Living’s lobbyist compliance requirements.
  • Coordinate the internal tracking of legislative efforts and roll call development.
  • Serve as an internal resource to policy staff on understanding legislative and executive branch processes at the local, county, state and federal levels.
  • Ensure consistent accessibility and inclusiveness of the Advocacy Department’s public-facing policy activities, which range from webinars to candidate’s forums.
  • Support the policy staff in tracking/prioritizing public comment opportunities and submitting well-prepared public comment on behalf of Access Living.
  • Support policy staff training/professional development. Work with policy staff to develop annual reporting outcomes and ensure staff meet outcomes and/or revise them as necessary.
  • Ensure staff meet data reporting goals and stay within budget.
  • Conduct staff annual performance evaluations.
  • Support Director of Advocacy on the coordination of policy with organizing, legal, direct service and public education initiatives.
  • Provide content for Access Living’s advocacy action alerts through the VoterVoice system.
  • Support/coordinate with the Director of Communications for public relations efforts, and with the Development Department for grant reporting, proposal development, and site visits.
  • Support/coordinate dialogue and collaboration with the Independent Living and Civil Rights Departments.
  • Represent the Advocacy Department/policy team on internal workgroups as needed.
  • Supervise/coordinate interns and volunteers as needed.
  • Other activities as needed.

Education and Training (strongly preferred):

  • Experience with disability-related policy in Chicago, Cook County, State of Illinois and/or at the federal level.
  • 3-5 years of experience as a manager, or equivalent.
  • Advanced degree or similar experience preferred in public policy, political science, nonprofit management, or similar fields.
  • Excellent writing skills, including one pagers, issue memos, and reporting policy outcomes for grants.
  • Experience with lobbying and fast-moving policy efforts, including drafting/reviewing legislation and appropriations.
  • Understanding of effective policy campaign models as well as coalition building.
  • Public speaking and training experience.

Other Preferred Experience:

  • Understanding of Independent Living Philosophy, disability justice vs. disability rights, the overall disability movement, and grasp of complex topics in disability and inclusion.
  • Experience with fielding requests for reasonable accommodations, and supervising the implementation of effective access for people with a range of disabilities.
  • Understanding of how to frame and report outcomes for policy work.
  • Experience developing curricula for a range of learning audiences.

Physical Demands: Ability to travel both within the state (especially to Springfield) and out of state (mainly to Washington, DC).

Equipment Operated: Standard office equipment.

Working Environment: Access Living operates under a hybrid office plan. Staff members are required to come into the office two days out of every week and may work remotely the other three if they so choose. Access Living’s office environment is one of shared work space with individual cubicles. Masks are required for all members of staff as well as for all visitors to Access Living.

Professional Affiliations: None required

Number of Employees Supervised: Six. In addition, interns and volunteers may be supervised.

Starting Salary Range: $75,000-$80,000

Applicants should send a cover letter, resume, and no more than 20 pages of a writing sample, preferably related to this position. Materials should be sent to [email protected]. People with lived experience of disability, especially from marginalized communities, are strongly encouraged to apply.