Careers at the Aspen Institute
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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.

Communications Manager

Department: CEP
Location: Washington, DC
Salary: $85,000 - $100,000

The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Since its founding in 1949, the Institute has been driving change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most critical challenges facing communities in the United States and around the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

To achieve our mission of a more free, just, and equitable society, we commit to working proactively to advance the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion across our myriad endeavors such as the recruitment, compensation, training, and advancement of staff. The best people-serving institutions make this commitment, and we seek to be a leader in the ways that we do so and learn from others. Visit our website to learn more about our commitment and recent actions taken toward building and nurturing a diverse and inclusive environment.

Program Description:

The Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program (CEP) aims to identify and replicate practices and policies that significantly improve college student outcomes. Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, the American Talent Initiative, our portfolio of projects to improve transfer outcomes, and other highly visible national projects, the College Excellence Program works to improve colleges’ capacity to achieve high levels of success for all students, and to eliminate disparities in postsecondary attainment and social mobility for students from low-income backgrounds and historically marginalized and underserved groups. Our work focuses on improving higher education institutions in six areas: ensuring high-quality learning, increasing completion rates, improving community college transfer and baccalaureate attainment, increasing post-college employment and earnings outcomes, ensuring strong access to college credentials of value, and achieving equity in outcomes across all domains. We advance those outcomes by quantitatively identifying and publicly elevating those colleges achieving excellent and equitable outcomes, conducting research on how those outcomes were accomplished, publishing reports and practical tools to support college leaders and practitioners interested in replicating effective practices, and conducting professional development programs for presidents, senior teams, board of trustees, and others. Learn more about our work at

Basic Function:

The Communications Manager will support and develop program-wide communications for an array of College Excellence Program initiatives. The ideal candidate is an excellent writer and editor who has experience executing effective communications strategies and is committed to building and sustaining urgency for systems change in higher education. The communications manager will work with CEP and its partners to disseminate content that elevates excellent colleges, aims to replicate research-based practices, supports transformational leaders, and aims to reframe conversations and perspectives on student success. Our communications should challenge and motivate higher education institutions to embrace system changes that lead to better and more equitable outcomes for America’s college students.

This position reports directly to the Communications Director. The salary band for this position is $85,000 - $100,000. This role will be in our Washington, DC office a minimum of twice a week to collaborate with colleagues.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Translate complex ideas into succinct, impactful written communications, including press releases, op-eds, collateral, and blogs.
  • Edit multiple forms of content, including external-facing reports, blogs, op-eds, website content, social media posts, case studies, fact sheets, and toolkits for field engagement.
  • Create content for website, newsletter, and digital media; help identify and implement strategies to increase engagement and views.
  • Increase CEP’s and partners’ public visibility by working with communications director, partners and consultant(s) to identify media opportunities and develop thought leadership commentaries.
  • Work with the communications and program teams to achieve communications goals; conceptualize, implement, and assess strategies aimed at external and internal audiences.
  • Efficiently manage communications projects that involve CEP staff, external consultants, and partners, which may include colleges, communications firms, and funders.
  • Engage with communications and other representatives from colleges—through an advisor group, webinars, and other means—to improve and execute our communications tactics.
  • Develop and evaluate social media strategy in collaboration with other communications team members.
  • Engage with communications firms and other external consultants.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Knowledge, Education, and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • 5+ years relevant experience developing and executing communications strategy at a mission-driven nonprofit, higher education institution, political campaign, media organization, or other setting focused on strategically disseminating information to build engagement and impact the field.
  • Demonstrated talent for clear, effective writing and editing.
  • Demonstrated success building media relationships and placing feature stories and op-eds.
  • Experience developing, executing, and evaluating social media strategy.
  • Experience creating short-form content for website, newsletter, and digital media.
  • Proven ability to manage multiple independent projects, plan, and follow through with staff and partners in a consistent, organized, high-quality manner.
  • Passion for the mission and objectives of the College Excellence Program and the values of the Aspen Institute.
  • Professional knowledge of higher education is a plus.
  • Experience translating evidence-based research into compelling messages and collateral material is a plus.
  • Grant writing proficiency is a plus.
  • Experience managing relationships with communications consultants and other vendors is a plus.

To learn more about how we hire at CEP and the generous health, retirement, and other benefits offered by the Aspen Institute, please visit our website.

To apply:

All interested applicants must submit the following:

  1. A one-page 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.
  3. Writing Sample.

The Aspen Institute offers a generous benefits package including health, dental, vision, and prescription benefits, retirement benefits, and paid leave.

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.

Individuals needing an accommodation to complete the job application can contact or call (202) 736-1074.

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