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.

Program Associate - Special Projects

Department: ASCEND
Location: Washington, DC
Salary: $65,000 - $70,000 per year

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.

Ascend at the Aspen Institute is the national hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations to build family economic prosperity and well-being. Ascend embraces a two-generation approach – focusing on children and the adults in their lives together – and is committed to advancing gender and racial equity. We believe that early childhood care and learning, postsecondary education/employment pathways for parents, economic assets, social capital, and health and well-being are the core elements that enable families to achieve their full potential. As a leading model of social innovation, Ascend has been at the forefront of advancing policies, systems, practice, and community solutions. We have built an ecosystem of diverse leaders and multi-sector organizations through a national fellowship program, an action and learning network, the Family Prosperity Innovation Community, the Postsecondary Success for Parents Initiative. Ascend engages the perspectives, strengths, and resilience of families with low incomes to inform program design and policy development.

Basic Function:

The selected candidate will join a dynamic, collaborative, and mission-driven team within the larger environment of the Aspen Institute in its Washington, DC, headquarters. The Program Associate for Special Projects provides cross-cutting support to various Ascend initiatives including Technical Assistance to the Ascend Network and other partners, Policy and Systems Change, Family Prosperity, and Ascend Convenings. The position is an opportunity to support, research, and document cutting-edge programs, systems changes, policies, and new practices that seek to create a cycle of opportunity for all children and families using a two-generation (2Gen) approach. The Program Associate will provide high-quality administrative, outreach, and research support to the team, as well as provide logistical support for Ascend convenings (virtual and in-person convenings).

Qualified candidates must demonstrate curiosity, creativity, flexibility, attention to detail, organizational skills, and verbal and written communication skills. Experience with operational systems such as Salesforce, Microsoft Office, and Google Workspace is essential. Critical thinking skills are also essential, as is the ability to exercise good judgment in a variety of situations. Candidates should possess both commitment and experience that are reflective of Ascend’s core values.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Programmatic, Administrative, Research, and Communications Support

  • Work with Managing Director to support Technical Assistance (TA) projects, including supporting and facilitating meetings, tracking deliverables, administering and analyzing surveys, and supporting workshops/webinars;
  • Take meeting notes and prepare and disseminate follow-up materials;
  • Manage relationships with Ascend stakeholders and/or policy partners;
  • Work with Managing Director to support Ascend convenings;
  • Develop dynamic PowerPoint presentations;
  • Process speaker and advisor honorariums including collecting and tracking materials, drafting materials for review by program management, submitting materials through online payment system, and acting as liaison with accounting department to ensure timeline payments;
  • Research and summarize reports and materials from meetings, conferences, and events related to child and family well-being;
  • Provide review and copyediting of reports and other documents;
  • Research and analyze issues of interest to develop two-generation reports, briefs, blogs, or other documents;
  • Act as first point of contact for outside inquires; draft, edit, and produce correspondence as required, including correspondence that is sometimes confidential; and,
  • Prioritize conflicting needs; handle matters expeditiously, proactively, and follow-through on projects to successful completion, often with deadline pressures.

Centralized Team Responsibilities

  • Provide logistical support for briefings, forums, roundtables, and other convenings;
  • Support program staff in maintaining organized electronic filing systems;
  • Support program staff in maintaining a contacts database and quality control of data entered by other staff; 
  •     Participate in various planning and budget processes as necessary
  • Identify opportunities to improve the quality and efficiency of the program and implement improvements as directed.

Knowledge, Education and Experience:

  • At least four years of experience in administrative, logistics, and research support, preferably in the nonprofit sector;
  • Strong interest in and passion for economic and social justice issues, especially issues affecting families;
  • Excellent computer skills required, specifically, expertise with: Salesforce, Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint), and Google Workspace (Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides);
  • Experience with survey platforms (e.g., SurveyMonkey), research, and analysis;
  • Attention to detail and ability to manage multiple tasks;
  • Customer service orientation: patience, listening, resourcefulness, and responsiveness;
  • Ability to work with diverse audiences and proven ability to effectively interface with senior-level executives;
  • Experience meeting deadlines while balancing multiple projects, including calendar management, travel arrangements, and event planning coordination;
  • Strong, demonstrable writing and editing skills;
  • Creative problem-solving skills and professional and polished interpersonal skills;
  • A desire to learn, flexibility, and sense of humor; and,
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team.

Level of Authority:

  • Non-supervisory position
  • No budget authority

The Institute has implemented a mandatory COVID vaccination policy for all employees who will work at one of our physical locations, attend any of our in-person events or travel on behalf of the Institute. Staff unable to be vaccinated may request an exemption under certain circumstances.

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.

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