Careers at the Aspen Institute
Share with friends or Subscribe!

Aspen Institute employees come from a wide range of backgrounds and possess a unique blend of education, skill, and policy experience. We recognize that our people are our vital resource and we value their knowledge, enthusiasm, and commitment. At the Aspen Institute we offer competitive salaries and a wide variety of benefits to our employees and their families.

If you would enjoy working in a dynamic environment and are looking for an opportunity to become part of a stellar team of professionals, we invite you to apply online today.

Program & Operations Associate

Department: CEP
Location: Washington, DC

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Marylandís Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners.

The College Excellence Program (CEP) aims to identify and replicate practices and policies that significantly improve postsecondary student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the American Talent Initiative, the Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, and other initiatives, the College Excellence Program works to improve collegesí capacity to achieve high levels of success for all students, and to eliminate disparities for low-income students and students of color. All our projects are designed to improve higher education in four areas: strengthening learning; increasing completion rates, improving post-completion success in transfer or the labor market; and increasing equity in educational outcomes for individuals from historically marginalized and underserved groups. Learn more about our work at

The College Excellence Program staff is a small, diverse team of driven and energetic professionals who share a commitment to increasing access to and success in higher education. We are motivated by the power of education to change lives, and we work hard while also pushing ourselves to learn constantly, collaborate and innovate, and have fun. The Aspen Institute's DC headquarters provides a vibrant setting in which to do this work, and we benefit from a rich array of lectures, expert panels, discussion groups, and other convenings that occur throughout the year on a diverse spectrum of topics.

The Program & Operations Associate Role

We are looking for an energetic program and operations associate who will play a critical role in a variety of CEP initiatives. The associate will be situated at the center of a dynamic team and will both lead and support a wide variety of administrative, financial, and project management processes. Successful program and operations associates are smart and curious, eager to learn and solve problems, and find organizational development exciting. They understand connections between their individual tasks and project goals and can map backwards from objectives to help organize and prioritize their work. CEP's associates grow professionally by gaining skills in a range of project management, organizational development, and analytical functions.†CEP also offers exposure to thought leaders in higher education and the opportunity for extensive learning about leadership, nonprofit management, program design and evaluation, and strategic communication.

The ideal candidate for this role will thrive in a busy setting and enjoy being a go-to resource for the whole team, while expertly handling competing priorities and maintaining a positive, ďcan-doĒ attitude. Candidates must have exemplary organizational and problem-solving skills with the ability to respond to rapidly changing priorities and have high self-awareness and sound judgment. The position also requires superior interpersonal skills and comfort in an entrepreneurial culture.


The program & operations associate position requires an individual with a diverse set of administrative skills who can serve as an internal expert and resource in the development and management of budgets, contracting and vendor relationships, grants, and a variety of other critical operational processes and functions. The ideal candidate will be motivated by the challenge of creating greater efficiency in program operations and building internal and external relationships in support of program goals. Most importantly, the individual in this job must demonstrate a problem-solving orientation, creativity, flexibility, and a sense of humor and professional maturity in managing competing priorities in a fast-paced environment.

Specific job duties include:

Financial and grants management:

  • Oversee, monitor, and maintain financial records on the programís funders, grantees, and contractors in collaboration with the Aspen Institute accounting department

  • Support staff with maintenance and analysis of project budgets

  • Prepare expense reports for program directors and review reimbursements for staff

  • Review invoices from vendors and contractors and prepare requests for payment, ensuring that payments are made in a timely manner

  • Monitor the schedule of grant reporting deadlines and coordinate with colleagues to ensure reports are prepared, approved, and submitted on time

Office and project management:

  • Develop and implement†training and professional development opportunities to benefit CEP team

  • Work with operations team to maintain, refine, and (when needed) design program-wide processes for a wide variety of tasks including: financial management, grant reporting, hiring, on-boarding, and project planning

Other program operations:

  • Provide general office administrative support, including coordinating staff meetings, managing office space, and liaising with Aspen central administrative offices

  • Support staff, as needed, on discrete project tasks including qualitative research, event planning, materials preparation, and program communications

  • Serve as an internal resource for expertise on logistical planning

  • Ensure compliance with all Aspen Institute policies and procedures

  • Support other CEP programs, events, and projects on as needed basis

Desired Knowledge, Education, and Experience

  • Strong attention to detail, as well as ability to handle multiple tasks and shift priorities quickly

  • Knowledge of the nonprofit sector; experience with and/or knowledge of grant-making procedures

  • Experience developing effective organizational processes and facilitating internal and external communication

  • Excellent organizational and planning skills

  • Experience analyzing budgets and processing financial data from multiple sources

  • Strong spreadsheet, database, and other computer software skills

  • Ability to work well with staff and a variety of constituencies, with a willingness to contribute to the team as needed to support the achievement of program goals

  • Ability to be flexible and proactive and to navigate different groups and settings with nuance, sensitivity, and a sense of humor

  • Commitment to CEPís mission of improving postsecondary outcomes through the development of college leaders and advancement of practices that impact student success

All applicants must submit the following to be considered for the position:

1) A cover letter. CEP prefers cover letters that describe what motivates you and how you understand and relate to our mission, rather than a narrative version of your resume. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered.
2) Resume/CV

The Aspen Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all District and federal laws. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or protected veteran or disabled status and will not be discriminated against.

Candidate must have the ability to work under pressure and handle stress. Candidate must also have the ability to meet regular attendance policy of the Aspen Institute.

Applicant Tracking System Powered by ClearCompany HRM Applicant Tracking System