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.

Education and Society Policy Leadership Program

Department: EDUCATION
Location: Washington, DC
Salary: $65,000 per year


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.

The Education & Society Program

The Aspen Institute Education & Society Program (ESP) improves public education by inspiring, informing, and influencing education leaders across policy and practice, with an emphasis on achieving equity for students of color and students from low-income families. Aspen Education supports leaders at all levels, from networks of urban superintendents and their teams, to state chiefs and their cabinets, to elected officials and their staffers. Learn more about our work at


The Aspen Education Policy Leadership Program is a transformative two-year program designed to immerse very early career professionals in the intricacies of educational policy and leadership through a cross-partisan lens. This program seeks to cultivate the next generation of visionary education leaders committed to fostering equitable and inclusive educational environments for all students. By integrating hands-on policy work, rigorous reviews of research and scholarship, and an immersion in applied leadership development, candidates will be uniquely positioned to influence education reform and policy in their subsequent professional roles and/or entry into graduate studies.

This is a two-year position with a salary of $65,000 per year. This position is located at the Aspen Institute’s Washington, D.C. office, with the expectation to work from the office at least 40% of the time.


  • Equip candidates with a nuanced understanding of the current challenges and opportunities within the public education sector, emphasizing the importance of cross-partisanship in achieving equitable outcomes.
  • Cultivate a cadre of emerging leaders who are prepared to advocate for and implement policies that improve educational equity and access.
  • Encourage collaboration across political and ideological divides, promoting solutions that benefit all students, especially those from marginalized communities.


Upon completion, candidates will emerge as informed, skilled, and motivated leaders, ready to enter education policy work and/or graduate school with a rich understanding of education policy's complexities and a commitment to fostering equitable and inclusive educational systems. The Aspen Education Policy Leadership Program will be a transformational experience for young professionals to become influential voices in education reform and policy, equipped to navigate and bridge the divides for the betterment of public education.


  • Policy Engagement: Candidates will engage in hands-on policy analysis and development, working closely with Aspen Education's network of policymakers, educators, and thought leaders. This will include participating in policy meetings, contributing to policy briefs, and assisting in the organization of cross-partisan public events aimed at fostering dialogue and consensus.
  • Leadership Development: A core component of the program is a robust leadership curriculum tailored to early career professionals. This includes mentorship opportunities with seasoned leaders in education reform, leadership training workshops, and personal development planning to prepare candidates for future roles in educational leadership and policy.
  • Research and Academic Preparation: To prepare for graduate studies, candidates will undertake independent research projects under the guidance of Aspen Education leaders. These projects will focus on areas of education policy that align with the candidate’s interests and the mission of the program, culminating in at least one of the following:
    • Research Presentation: Candidates present their independent research at a national education conference, sharing insights on education policy and engaging with a broader audience.
    • Publication of Commentary or Op-ed: Candidates write and publish a commentary or op-ed, contributing to the public discourse on education policy and emphasizing the importance of equity and cross-partisan solutions.
    • Capstone Event: A capstone event organized by Aspen Education, featuring panels, discussions, or workshops led by candidates, showcases their insights, leadership development, and collaboration skills, while providing networking opportunities.
  • Networking and Professional Development: Throughout the program, participants will attend national conferences, participate in Aspen Institute's wider network events, and receive tailored career guidance to prepare them for successful admission into competitive graduate programs.


The program is aimed at very early career professionals who demonstrate:

  • A passionate commitment to education equity and cross-partisan solutions.
  • An interest in pursuing graduate studies in education, public policy, or related fields.
  • Exceptional analytical, leadership, and interpersonal skills.
  • A readiness to engage deeply with complex issues and diverse perspectives.
  • A demonstrated commitment to the mission and vision of the Aspen Education and Society program.

Key Competencies include-

  • Policy Analysis: Ability to engage in hands-on policy analysis and development, critically examining educational policies and contributing to policy briefs, meetings, and events.
  • Research Capabilities: Ability to conduct independent research projects on education policy, with the ability, with support, to present findings at national conferences, write commentary or op-ed pieces, and contribute to broader policy discussions.
  • Cross-partisan Collaboration: Ability and willingness to navigate and promote collaboration across political and ideological divides, fostering solutions that benefit all students and emphasizing cross-partisan approaches to education policy.
  • Supporting Senior Leaders: Ability to work effectively with senior leaders on the Aspen Education and Society team, and in the education sector, including policymakers, educators, and thought leaders, assisting them with initiatives, organizing events, and implementing policy solutions.
  • Commitment to Educational Equity: A demonstrated commitment to fostering equitable and inclusive educational systems, including a nuanced understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the public education sector, particularly for marginalized communities.


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.

If you would like to request a reasonable accommodation regarding the accessibility of our website, a modification or adjustment of the job application or interview process due to a disability, contact or call (202) 736-5800.

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