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Program Associate-CNAY

Department: CNAY
Location: Washington DC, 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 Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners.

Center for Native American Youth:

The Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute (CNAY) believes all Native American youth should lead full and healthy lives, have equal access to opportunity, and draw strength from their cultures and one another. As a policy program of the Aspen Institute founded by former US Senator Byron Dorgan, we work to improve the health, safety, and overall well-being of Native American youth. We do this through the following strategies:

  1. Youth recognition, leadership development, and engagement: Native youth are in the best position to inspire their peers to create positive change in their communities. That’s why we provide platforms that recognize inspiring actions being led by youth across the country. Through programs like Champions for Change and our Generation Indigenous National Native Youth Network, we provide a wide range of recognition, leadership development and engagement opportunities to thousands of Native youth across the country.
  2. Research, advocacy, and policy change: Our work is driven directly by the priorities shared by youth in our network. We research the issues that matter to them, learn directly from Native youth through online and in-person engagement, and develop advocacy platforms and resources to build a stronger voice for Native youth in front of key decision-makers.
  3. Resource development and exchange: Leveraging our growing network of youth, our local and national partnerships with other organizations, and the information we gather during our community roundtables and meetings, we identify and share diverse, practical information and resources that improve opportunities for Native youth. CNAY also develops its own unique resources in response to the priorities we learn from our youth stakeholders. 
  4. Building a Native youth-driven narrative: Native youth often face serious challenges and barriers to opportunity, but they are also resilient and possess tremendous strengths. Too often, the conversation about Native youth—especially in the media—focuses only on seemingly insurmountable problems. This is why we believe Native youth need to drive their own narrative to focus on their strengths, their culture, and the positive things they’re doing every day to improve lives. We connect youth in our network with strengths-based media and communications opportunities and manage a national platform for youth to share their inspirational stories in their own voice.

 

Basic Function:

The Program Associate will serve as the staff lead on CNAY’s policy, research, and advocacy area of work. They will support and work closely with the Executive Director to conduct ongoing research on current and proposed policies relating to Native youth, develop policy and advocacy materials for our stakeholders, provide outreach and coordination with Capitol Hill and administration staff, organize meetings and roundtables with policy professionals and decision-makers, and assist with other policy and research tasks as needed. The Program Associate will also support the CNAY team’s Native youth outreach and engagement work by helping develop youth outreach events, present and facilitate at conferences, develop content, and provide other support where needed across our engagement programming. Finally, the Program Associate will support the Executive Director by helping draft grant application and administration materials.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Research, Policy and Advocacy
    • Conduct ongoing research and produce summary reports on issues related to suicide prevention, Indian child welfare, language, education, and other issues relevant to the CNAY’s work.
    • Conduct ongoing research as necessary to maintain an up-to-date awareness of administrative, legislative and regulatory activity pertinent to Native youth development, health and wellness issues.
    • Proactively develop and maintain effective relationships with tribal leaders, policymakers, agency personnel, legislative staff, advocacy groups and others in support of the CNAY’s mission.
    • Prepare written analyses, reports, briefings and memoranda for a variety of audiences, including for publication in mainstream media and website use.
    • Proactively implement communication programming, using various media including social media, to further the CNAY’s mission and outreach.
    • Conduct research for and drafting of text for publications.

 

  • Youth engagement, program support, and administration
    • Actively participate in event planning and travel to attend youth summits/roundtables, conferences, agency roundtables, and receptions.
    • Work with Executive Director and Program Manager to design and implement CNAY activities, including planning initiatives, travel and outreach.
    • Co-lead CNAY outreach to tribal communities, using these connections to inform national policy and programming efforts and provide technical assistance to Indian tribes and tribal organizations on addressing issues related to Native youth.
    • Support the team with general Native youth outreach needs, including identifying youth for partner and media opportunities, soliciting input from youth on program design, and other duties as needed.
    • Provide support to the Executive Director for finance, grant administration, and development including grant reporting, proposal support, and other duties as needed.

 

 

Program Associate Qualifications:

  • A passion to improve the lives of Native youth and built platforms for their success
  • Comfort and familiarity working directly with Native youth.
  • Bachelor’s degree in public health, public policy or a related field. 
  • Two to four years related experience desired, preferably experience with Capitol Hill, law firm or nonprofit organizations at level where issue analysis and strategic thinking were a critical component of work.
  • Basic knowledge of federal laws and Indian systems related to Native youth issues.
  • Superior research and analytical skills.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills; ability to translate policy and research to a wide variety of audiences.
  • Team player who has a proven track record of achieving buy-in with colleagues, and desire to support other team members on projects when needed.
  • Strong project management skills.
  • Entrepreneurial and self-starter spirit needed to excel in start-up environment.
  • Detail oriented with strong organizational skills, and a self-starter who thrives in a rapidly changing environment and excels at working with a diverse team of colleagues.
  • Willingness and ability to travel (up to 30 percent).

 

Level of Authority:

  • Non-supervisory position
  • No budget authority

 

To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter and resume for the Program Associate position at the Center for Native American Youth. Cover letter should highlight applicant’s specific qualifications for this position. Applications without cover letter may not receive full consideration.

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