Status: Full time, exempt 
Location: San Francisco Bay Area or Sacramento area. We currently work remotely. After it is safe to return to the office, California Competes will continue to be headquartered in the SF East Bay with a flexible remote work policy. This role can be based remotely in Sacramento or can be based out of our Bay Area headquarters. Either way, the position requires some in-person activities in Sacramento (e.g., attending a hearing at the Capitol) and 1-2 days a week in our SF East Bay office. 


California Competes: Higher Education for a Strong Economy aims to solve the state’s thorny social and economic problems by conducting rigorous higher education and workforce policy research. Through our research, we guide decision makers in developing and implementing policies that bolster equity so every Californian can engage, contribute, and succeed. We envision a California where our state and regional economies and communities thrive, fueled by equitable and racially just postsecondary and workforce outcomes. California Competes benefits from the expertise of our highly respected, bipartisan Leadership Council, which comprises current and former public officials, business executives, and community leaders from across the state. 

Our diverse staff brings decades of experience in higher education and public policy. We work statewide and travel across the country to research and advocate for a higher education system that provides opportunities for all Californians. 

With an organizational budget of approximately $1M annually, California Competes is a fiscally sponsored project of Community Partners. For more information, please visit california


Reporting to our Executive Director, the Senior Policy & Research Analyst is responsible for managing our policy agenda and key policymaker relationships, along with conducting policy-focused research activities. Specific duties include: 


  • Work with the Executive Director to develop and implement the organization’s policy agenda, including building and updating policy priorities and developing actionable steps to advance them 
  • Proactively engage and field requests from policymakers and their staff to provide technical assistance and serve as a resource 
  • Attend and testify at legislative and other governing entities’ hearings or support the Executive Director or other staff in preparing testimony 
  • Analyze bills, budget proposals, and other policy proposals in the area of higher education and workforce development 
  • Lead the planning, organization, and implementation of the California Higher Education Policy Institutes that engage legislators and their staff on key higher education policy topics 
  • Identify and implement new strategies to advance our policy agenda and strengthen our relationships with policymakers and other leaders statewide 
  • Lead development of policy recommendations based on our research analysis
  • Provide written summaries of policy activity and projects in grant proposals and reporting, updates to our leadership council and other stakeholders 


  • Conduct research on issues related to higher education and workforce, including:
  • Conducting qualitative research, particularly interviews and focus groups
  • Analyzing primary documents and existing research 
  • Pulling, cleaning, and analyzing quantitative data 
  • Administering surveys and managing survey data 
  • Craft clear, influential written publications, such as reports, briefs, and blogs
  • Develop presentations for policy, research, and other stakeholder audiences 


The ideal candidate is a detail-oriented self-starter with the ability to handle several activities simultaneously. The successful candidate will know the ins and outs of state policy making and implementation, demonstrating curiosity by asking questions and taking initiative around policy and research responsibilities. This candidate will feel comfortable working in an organization with high standards that centers equity, is fast-paced, and often has rapid-response requests. 

Required qualifications 

  • Bachelor’s degree and 5 years of relevant experience 
  • Holds deep knowledge of California’s policy landscape and higher education system 
  • Experience navigating state politics and intergovernmental issues 
  • Experience analyzing legislation, including budget proposals 
  • Grasps the interplay between policy making and implementation 
  • Outstanding analytical and writing skills
    • Recognizes ways that race and ethnicity, gender, and other identities intersect in postsecondary access and success 
    • Understands the historical context for racial inequity and its present-day implications, and is driven to make creative and concrete changes through advancing systemic change through strategic communications 
    • Deeply believes that racial equity and social justice are important and is comfortable communicating about race and ethnicity, gender, and other identities in plain (non-euphemistic) and specific terms 
    • Able to hear, reflect, and act on feedback regarding identity and equity with the aim to learn 
    • Is a creative, intellectually curious self-starter with a strong work ethic, high standards, and integrity 
  • Highly organized, detail-oriented, and results-driven 
  • Proficient in Google Docs, Microsoft Word, and PowerPoint 

Preferred qualifications 

  • Master’s degree in public policy, education, or related field 
  • Knowledge of California’s workforce system 
  • Experience conducting qualitative research, particularly interviews and focus groups
  • Experience conducting quantitative research 


  • Title and salary commensurate with education and experience 
  • Medical, dental and vision benefits; voluntary 403(b) plan 
  • Exempt, full-time position 

Application Process 

To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to Kris Wade,, with “Policy and Research Position” in the subject line. Priority review date for applications is July 7th, but we will continue to review applications until the position is filled. 

California Competes, a project of Community Partners, is an equal opportunity employer committed to a diverse and inclusive workforce. In addition, the organization will consider for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring.