Foundation for California Community Colleges,

Policy Specialist

1 month ago
Employment type
Full Time
Remote within California

Functional Title: Policy Specialist

CALPERS Title: Specialist

Department: Success Center

Reports To: Senior Director, Policy Development and Research, Success Center

FLSA Status: Exempt
Primary Work Location: Remote within California; some travel to Sacramento
Flex Work Option: Some

Position Summary

The Foundation is looking for an individual to join our Success Center team who has experience supporting activities that focus on system change, professional development, and sharing best practices. Our Center’s role is to support The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and Foundation in implementing the Chancellor’s Vision for Success. This work is engaging, fast paced, and ever evolving and requires a flexible personality who enjoys working in a team-based environment. This position will support the achievement of grant-funded programmatic goals related to student success.

The Foundation is the trusted partner of the California Community Colleges— facilitating collaboration, accelerating innovation, and increasing system wide resources.

The Policy Specialist will support the Policy Development and Research unit of the Success Center by participating in necessary research, policy development, and representation on multiple higher education policy initiatives.

Essential Job Duties and Responsibilities

Policy Development:

  • Provides technical support in policy discussions for the Success Center. Tracks relevant research and policy proposals by national and state organizations that promote student success and keeps team attune to necessary information. Able to professionally correspond those changes to leadership and stakeholders.
  • Reviews and provides critical analysis of proposed policy initiatives and participates in relevant policy development discussions and activities.
  • Assists in the drafting of new policy proposals in consultation with the Success Center leadership. Has the ability to track changes, gain relevant feedback and independently make changes to submit high level material.
  • Monitors developments at the national and state level with respect to student success, higher education reforms, and Guided Pathways. Appropriately loops in Director of Policy Development to topics that may impact or be relevant to our work.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills with high level stakeholders, or statewide influencers. Has the ability to draft analyses on policies and regulations impacting student success.
  • Attends legislative hearings, briefings and meetings while being able to capture the information and relay it back to the team. Also, able to provide on the spot briefs to executive leadership in a concise and meaningful manner.
  • Work with partners to determine the needs, concerns and viewpoints of policies or reforms, and determine what the goals of the project are. Able to independently create a scope of work from those meetings to present to leadership.

Policy Research and Analysis:

  • Conducts analysis of current higher education research (especially as it relates to the California Community Colleges and its Student Success initiatives) including academic publications, reports by nonprofit organizations and state agencies, and reports from college campuses.
  • Develops recommendations and approaches to solutions on policy areas to advance student success, including analyzing data and requesting and evaluating qualitative and quantitative information from internal and external sources.
  • Conducts background policy research and analysis to support existing projects as well as proposals for new bodies of work directed by senior leadership; synthesizes research findings to identify and recommend best practices.
  • Extracts, collects, and aggregates data across databases, information sources, survey responses, and other data sources; ensures data quality; cleans and checks exiting data for consistency and accuracy.

Project Support:

  • Represents the Foundation’s Success Center, at meetings and events that may require travel both regionally and nationally.
  • Develops visualizations for diverse audiences and develops, formats, and prepares reports, charts, and/or graphs for varying documents and written and oral presentations for both internal and external audiences; collaborates with teams to design and help integrate data into an approved format.
  • Coordinates large statewide meetings or convenings, prepares content, and communicates to attendees statewide.
  • Independently research topics and develops report or presentation on the topic. . Has the ability to be assigned unfamiliar topics, research and become a content expert, manage the full cycle of the project, and make appropriate recommendations.
  • Exercises good judgment and effectiveness in working with a high-performing and fast-paced team.
  • Exemplary interpersonal skills, with the ability to represent the Success Center, Chancellor’s office, and The Foundation with professionalism and integrity to develop, maintain, and promote strong internal and external relationships.
  • Prioritizes tasks and projects efficiently without compromising quality or deadlines. Pulls together resources in enough time to execute projects effectively. Communicates with internal team and stakeholders appropriately and consistently.


  • Builds and cultivates relationships internally and externally where appropriate, acts as organizational brand ambassador as needed and provides business development support and input where there is opportunity.
  • Emulates and participates in a culture of shared leadership and promotes organizational values.
  • Contributes to team effort by completing other projects and tasks as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibilities/Level of Supervision

  • This role does not supervise.
  • Proven ability to manage by influence and ability to build and maintain credibility.
  • Receives assignments from Director, Policy Development and Success Center department leadership. Provided moderate instruction and a general direction as to professional goals and project involvement, as well as achievement of those goals. Evaluation is based on ability to perform essential job duties and responsibilities, as well as successful execution of tasks/projects.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Knowledge of the California higher education policy environment, the California Community College System, Education Code, and the state legislative process.
  • Experience working within higher education systems and structures, including working with a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Understanding of the California Community College system and the Student Success effort.
  • Experience with conducting primary or secondary research, writing in depth reports in a professional setting; and managing multiple projects with competing deadlines.
  • Ability to think creatively about policy solutions and their implementation.
  • Ability to coordinate with many stakeholders and to work in a complex policy and political environment with large teams of professionals.
  • Ability to communicate clearly and effectively through oral presentations and in writing. At least 12 months experience communicating with and supporting the work of high-visibility projects for an organization.
  • Strong attention to detail, ensuring that communications and deliverables are accurate, professional, and audience appropriate.
  • Must be a good communicator, able to build and maintain collaborative working relationships with highly diverse stakeholders and work in a complex policy and political environment with large teams of professionals.
  • Minimum of 12 months independently self-managing policy, or research projects using agile practices and a project management software for tracking.
  • Has coordinated the work of three or more teams simultaneously, ensuring to align their work towards the same goal
  • Ability to work well, accurately, and with optimism in stressful, high-visibility situations.
  • Has a high level of discretion and good judgement, ability to take initiative, integrity, trustworthiness, respect, and team collaboration are required.
  • Ability to work remotely and navigate various technology platforms (Zoom, MS Office Suite-Teams, Outlook, Salesforce Lightning and other database programs, Google Suite, etc.).

Attributes for Success

  • Passionate about providing students with stronger pathways to education and building a more just and equitable California overall.
  • A self-starter and quick learner who is highly motivated and outcome-oriented, always seeking innovative approaches to project execution.
  • A commitment to continuous improvement and professional development.
  • A strategic and creative thinker who can problem-solve, working within and across teams to swiftly respond to needs identified across the California Community Colleges.
  • Practices ownership, takes accountability, and has the ability to manage own work, prioritize tasks, and deliver quality products on time with limited supervision.
  • Ability to work on a fast-paced team and build and maintain collaborative working relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Knowledge of, or willingness to learn about, the California Community College system and the Foundation’s mission.

Education and Experience

  • Relevant BA/BS, equivalent work experience, or a combination of both.
  • Minimum of three (3) + years of related work experience in research methodology.
  • Demonstrated commitment to improving public education for minoritized populations and interest in higher education, as shown through coursework or professional experience.
  • Experience with either professional development, higher education reform, or systems change in another large complex public system.
  • Any experience in an education or non-profit environment preferred.
  • Familiarity with the Community College system a plus.

​Working Hours, Location, and Travel

This is a full-time position, 40 hours per week, with additional hours as needed to address the organization’s needs. This is a California-based position, with the flexibility to work remotely (in California) or in person at our Sacramento office. This position may require moderate travel to attend meetings, conferences, and perform other essential functions of the job.

Physical Requirements

The Foundation may make reasonable accommodations to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the job’s essential functions/physical requirements. The following physical requirements are essential to the performance of this position:

  • Must be able to remain in stationary position up to 4 hours at a time and 8 hours total in a day.
  • Ability to constantly work at a computer workstation for up to five consecutive days.
  • The person in this position frequently communicates with internal office staff and/or external third parties who have inquiries about their job tasks. Must be able to exchange accurate information in these situations.
  • Ability to frequently move and/or remain in a stationary position without breaks during meetings.
  • Ability to constantly operate a computer.
  • Ability to perform repetitive movements (e.g. typing and filing) and operate and use common office equipment (e.g. copy machine, printer, telephone).

Equal Employment Opportunity

The Foundation for California Community Colleges is committed to providing an environment of mutual respect where equal employment opportunities (EEO) are available to all employees and applicants without regard to race, color, ancestry, national origin, genetic characteristics, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital/parental status, political affiliation, religion, age, disability, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or veteran status. In addition to federal law requirements, The Foundation for California Community Colleges complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment.

As the official nonprofit auxiliary to the Chancellor's Office, we aim to ensure our team reflects the diversity of the California Community Colleges and the 2.1 million students, campuses, and communities it serves. Individuals are hired for their deep understanding of each population’s unique needs and will join a collaborative environment where each team member plays an important role in helping Californians across all communities improve their social and economic mobility and build a better future for themselves and their families.

To apply

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