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Program Associate, NQRP

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Vera Institute of Justice | Industry City, Brooklyn, NY
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Vera Institute of Justice

Published 11 days ago

Do you:

  • Want to be a leader in realizing the promise of Gideon – zealous, universal representation for all people, no matter what – into the new and challenging terrain of immigration court?
  • Believe that zealous, independent, uncompromising defense for all people must be the non-negotiable foundation of every defense counsel system?
  • Feel compelled to act knowing that people with serious mental health conditions – across the mental health, criminal, and immigration systems, and particularly where detained and where mental health intersects with race – are at real risk of unlawful deprivation of fundamental rights?
  • Recognize the necessity of centering a race equity lens in all social justice work, from daily operations to strategic thinking?
  • Have a commitment to the de-stigmatization of mental health conditions and treatment and to person-centered, collaborative model of practice?
  • Have a special interest in, affinity for, and dedication to strengthening the behind-the-scenes operations – administrative, programmatic, and data systems – essential to the success of the NQRP and universal representation?


If so, the NQRP wants to hear from you. Read on!


Who We Are

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, envisions a society that respects the dignity of every person and safeguards justice for everyone.

  • We study problems that impede human dignity and justice.
  • We pilot solutions that are at once transformative and achievable.
  • We engage diverse communities in informed debate.
  • We harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice.


Vera works with others who share our vision to tackle the most pressing injustices of our day—from mass incarceration, racial disparities, and the loss of public trust in law enforcement to the unmet needs of the vulnerable, the marginalized, and those harmed by crime and violence. Vera has offices in Brooklyn, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans and people working in communities across the country. Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace—specifically, we value diverse experiences with regards to educational background and justice system contact. We hire employees that reflect our values: racial equity, respect, independence, collaboration, and commitment.



National Qualified Representative Program (NQRP)

The mission of the NQRP is to provide zealous appointed defense counsel to a specific and particularly vulnerable population: people who are in immigration detention, who are otherwise without counsel, and who have serious mental health conditions. Nationwide in scope, the NQRP partners with a growing network of over 40 multi-disciplinary teams of holistic legal defense providers. The NQRP sits at the intersection of immigration, mental health, and criminal law and offers fast-paced, collaborative, and creative work at the cutting edge of national efforts to bring zealous legal defense to all people in immigration proceedings.


Center on Immigration and Justice (CIJ)

Vera’s Center on Immigration and Justice believes in the principle of zealous, universal representation: that all people, no matter their circumstances or past, when faced with detention and deportation – and the potential loss of family, freedom, and even life – must have an independent, effective, and zealous lawyer fighting for them at every step of the way.


What You Will Do

The Program Associate will have a primary focus (75%) of performing and reviewing NQRP program operations and, where needed, assessing and strengthening underlying program management systems. The Program Associate will have a secondary focus (25%) of assisting in the provision of mental health-related training and technical support to program providers.


The right candidate for this position will thus have a primary interest and aptitude in program management and improving operations systems and a secondary mental health background. Example duties include:

  • Perform NQRP Operations: as supervised by senior NQRP staff, perform more complex program operations, including, for example, resolution of program funding requests according to established criteria, monitoring provider capacity, reviewing program budget items, writing and editing program guidance documents, responding to ad-hoc data requests, supporting communication with program stakeholders, supporting program site visits, and assisting with program data collection, analysis, management, and reporting tasks.
  • Review NQRP Operations: as supervised by senior NQRP staff, and using established criteria, review for accuracy and completion more basic program operations, including, for example, case assignments and transfers, compliance with program funding restrictions, provider data entry, provider invoices, and provider funding requests.
  • Assess and Strengthen NQRP Operations Systems: as supervised and directed by senior NQRP staff, assess and strengthen NQRP operations systems, including, for example:
  • Administrative: organize program data; refine case assignment systems
  • Contracting: improve efficiency and effectiveness of contracting process
  • Data: improve accuracy and timeliness of monthly and annual data reporting
  • Fiscal: streamline processing of invoices and payments
  • Program: refine funding requests review; update Program Guidance Documents
  • Technology: assess and update NQRP program management technology platforms
  • Assist in Provision of Mental Health-Related Training and Technical Support: as supervised by senior NQRP staff, provide basic mental health-related training and technical support to program providers and assist in the development of mental health-related training and technical support resources.


Who You Are

To be successful in this job ….

  • An MSW or comparable degree that encompasses both a macro, program management perspective and a micro, direct service perspective;
  • 1 or more years in program management, preferably of a medium- or large-scale program;
  • Aptitude for understanding and improving program operation and systems;
  • 1 or more years directly providing mental health or related services;
  • An uncompromising commitment to immigrants’ rights, universal and zealous representation in immigration court, the rights of people with mental health conditions, and race equity;
  • The ability to listen with patience and empathy; to accept and apply constructive feedback; to work collaboratively and collegially with co-workers; and a sense of humor;
  • The ability to work with both governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, and to adjust approach, register, and tone appropriately;
  • Strong writing ability;
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint;
  • Willingness to travel and a current driver’s license; and
  • The ability to pass an extensive government background check; the position requires access to secure data and is contingent upon successful receipt of government clearance.


Ideal candidates will possess one or more of these additional qualifications:

  • Lived or affiliated experience with the immigration, criminal justice, and / or mental health system(s) is a strong plus.
  • Knowledge of the immigration court and detention systems.
  • Additional education or work experience in an administrative, managerial, accounting / finance, or related fields (particularly budgets).
  • Substantial – that is, more than 1 year – of program management or direct mental health experience / practice.
  • A demonstrated knowledge of and commitment to recovery-oriented, person-centered mental health practice.


The Nitty-Gritty 

  • This is a full-time position based in Los Angeles, California (preferred), or Brooklyn, New York.
  • Salary will be competitive and commensurate with experience.



How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter, writing sample, and resume. The cover letter should outline the minimum and additional qualifications possessed by the candidate and address how the candidate will use those qualifications to excel at the position’s responsibilities. The writing sample should be no more than 5 pages.


Candidates submitting generic, form, template, or machine-generated cover letters will be summarily rejected without further review.


Candidates will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Online submission of materials in PDF format is preferred.


If necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to:

ATTN: Human Resources / CIJ Program Associate Recruitment

Vera Institute of Justice

34 35th Street, Suite 4-2A,

Brooklyn, NY 11232

Fax: (212) 941-9407


Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission. No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted. 


Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status, or caregiver status.


Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including regarding educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.


For more information about Vera and CIJ’s work, please visit

Do you:

  • Want to be a leader in realizing the promise of Gideon – zealous, universal representation for all people, no matter what – into the new and challenging terrain of immigration court?
  • Believe that zealous, independent, uncompromising…

Details at a glance

  • On-site Location
  • Full Time Schedule


Race, Equity, and Inclusion

We are taking the steps necessary to become an antiracist institution. This means we are committed to dismantling racism both within our institution and the wider community and to transforming our professional relationships and activities to align with this vision. Through our Racial Equity and Inclusion Initiative, we offer trainings to build organizational capacity and create formal and informal channels for discussion. We have created a Racial Equity Action Plan that spells out some of our key goals and commitments.

Professional Development

As part of our commitment to staff, Vera is proud to offer unique opportunities for professional development.

Learning/Sharing Incentives: Vera supports staff learning and sharing in many forms, including:

  • Publication incentive awards. To recognize the amount of work and time that goes into writing mission- or strategy-connected articles, self-published multimedia projects, and conference-related publications, Vera rewards staff with $1,000.
  • Conference support. To aid both idea and professional development, Vera pays for staff to attend relevant conferences, including registration fees and travel. The only requirement attached to this support is that the Veran report back what they learn to interested colleagues.
  • Peer-to-peer capacity building. This fund supports time and travel for staff to learn from each other, fostering a culture of constant personal and interpersonal development. For example, the fund might help a staff member observe a peer facilitate a meeting with people who work at a prison or immigrant detention center, meet with a coworker to learn how they successfully broadcasted Vera events, or assist another team with hands-on data collection.

Idea Pipeline investments: Any Veran may apply for more significant internal funding to pilot a project that has the potential to become an important new area of work for Vera. The idea pipeline is part of our journey to be more equitable internally by providing a broader range of staff with a path to design new work that will impact the justice field.


Vera encourages opportunities during and after work to strengthen bonds and create meaningful relationships. We host a monthly staff breakfast, sponsor coffee meet-ups, organize brown bag learning opportunities and, twice a year, we convene all staff for a series of workshops and fun.

Race, Equity, and Inclusion

We are taking the steps necessary to become an antiracist institution. This means we are committed to dismantling racism both within our institution…


Industry City, Brooklyn, NY

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