After School Matters is a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that offers after-school and summer programs for thousands of Chicago high school teens to explore and develop their talents while gaining critical skills that will set them up for success in college and beyond.
Since 1991, more than 350,000 teens have participated in our project-based paid apprenticeships led by professionals in the fields of arts, communications and leadership, sports, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
Programs take place at community locations throughout the city, including three ASM buildings: downtown at Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, the Michael and Karyn Lutz Center in Belmont Cragin, and the Pullman community at Gately Park.
Currently, After School Matters' annual operating budget is approximately $35M and employs approximately 500 staff across the organization.
For more information, visit www.afterschoolmatters.org.
Summary of Position:
The Research & Policy Associate will provide critical, cross-cutting support to research and evaluation as well as government relations and advocacy initiatives to further the organization’s policy agenda and progress toward strategic goals. Reporting to the Senior Research & Evaluation Specialist, the Research & Policy Associate will play a key role in translating and integrating both teen voice and current youth development research to engage internal and external stakeholders, especially legislative audiences. The Research & Policy Associate will also support the organization’s ongoing evaluative processes, as well as the identification and pursuit of relevant grant opportunities.
Major Duties and Responsibilities:
Research & Evaluation
- Support key monitoring and evaluation initiatives and research studies (e.g., YPQA/I, teen surveys and interviews, teen demographic and performance data, and other special population studies), including data collection, cleaning, analysis, and quality control using quantitative and/or qualitative methods, as appropriate, and report data findings, from both original research and secondary sources.
- Support the development of research and data resources to share with key stakeholders, and communication and technical assistance materials (e.g., guides, webinars, digital assets) to support ease of access and use, including personalized data analyses provided to internal and external partners interested in accessing data to use for programmatic and strategic alignment.
- Conduct literature reviews and provide analysis and summary materials to inform internal strategy and key stakeholders. Curate and synthesize national research and program evaluations representing new trends, programs, or initiatives in the youth development field.
- Support creation of data visualizations (including maps), executive summaries, and other deliverables that interpret and disseminate outcomes and key findings from research studies and initiatives.
- Collaborate with research manager and specialists to provide technical assistance to internal and external partners on a range of research initiatives and ongoing queries into the literature base when appropriate. Respond to inquiries from funders, leadership, partners, and external agencies in a timely and professional manner.
- Support the pursuit of grants and funding for research and policy initiatives.
- Perform other data management and analytical duties as assigned.
Policy & Advocacy
- Support ongoing advocacy and governmental relations activities, including preparing memos and testimonies as needed, coordinating correspondence, conducting outreach campaigns, and scheduling program visits for government agency staff, elected officials, and external partners.
- Support the development and implementation of the public policy agenda and government relations strategy for the organization.
- Coordinate advocacy communications for internal and external partners including executive leadership and board members, such as policy webinars, advocacy action alerts, meeting presentations, elected official newsletters, and legislative updates
- Support the planning, promotion and execution of key advocacy initiatives including the annual Teen Letter Campaign and featured policy issue briefs as relevant.
- Represent After School Matters Research and Policy in key external partnerships and coalitions.
- Performs other duties as assigned.
The physical demands here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
- Must be able to sit and work at a computer for long periods of time.
The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
- While performing the duties of this job, the employee is not exposed to weather conditions.
- The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.
- Minimum one year experience in research/evaluation, analytical work, advocacy, government or government relations, or community organizing
- Bachelor’s degree in a related field required (e.g. Education, Psychology, Social Work, Public Administration, Public Policy, Statistics); Master’s degree preferred
- Committed to the organizational mission to provide Chicago public high school teens opportunities to explore and develop their talents, while gaining critical skills for work, college and beyond
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – Committed to a workplace that values different backgrounds and life experiences and allows everyone to bring their authentic self to work. Builds equity into structure, systems, and processes for our employees and the teens we serve
- Bilingual (English and Spanish) language skills preferred, but not required
- Some evening and weekends availability required
Staff are required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or have an approved medical or sincerely held religious beliefs exemption prior to starting employment. If a medical or sincerely held religious belief exemption is approved, weekly Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing is required as part of any reasonable accommodation.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
- Proficient knowledge of federal and state legislative processes; experience managing and fostering relations with local, state and/or federal legislators preferred.
- Proficient knowledge of statistical concepts and analytical software (SPSS, STATA, R, and/or SAS). Elementary proficiency with Tableau, ArcGIS, and software for qualitative analysis including Nvivo preferred.
- Excellent communication skills, including the ability to write clearly, respond effectively to inquiries from external stakeholders, staff, and colleagues, and work in political environments requiring a high degree of tact and discretion.
- Experience supporting quantitative and qualitative research projects, including data collection, management, and analysis.
- Professional working proficiency in Microsoft Office applications.
- Exceptional attention to detail, analytical and problem-solving skills.
- Ability to develop new procedures and to learn and apply new technologies as needed.
- Willingness and ability to undertake complex, uncommon research requests.
- Capacity to work collaboratively and proactively within a team environment, as well as independently.
- Experience in using Cityspan database is a plus.
How to Apply:
Submit a cover letter and resume at https://afterschoolmatters.applytojob.com/apply
After School Matters is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, protected veteran status, military discharge status, age, marital status, parental status, or source of income.