Manager or Assistant Director for Higher Education Communications

The Education Trust seeks a Manager or Assistant Director for Higher Education Communications to advance the organization’s ambitious agenda to make colleges and universities more accessible to and better serve students from low-income backgrounds and students of color. Based in Washington, DC and reporting directly to the Director of Communications, the Manager or Assistant Director will also work closely with the VP for Higher Education and relevant members of the higher education team to develop and implement communications and outreach to promote equity and social justice in higher education. The ideal candidate will be passionate about The Education Trust’s mission, demonstrate a track record of translating “wonky” research findings and policy recommendations into accessible, motivating content, and can execute strategic outreach that changes public narrative and builds broad understanding and support for important policy change.

About the Organization

Ed Trust is comprised of fierce advocates for the high academic achievement of all students — pre-kindergarten through college, particularly those of color or living in poverty. Through research and advocacy, Ed Trust’s goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that affect millions of young people across the U.S. — especially students of color and those from low-income families. We work alongside educators, policymakers, parents, and community and business leaders across the country to advocate transforming schools and colleges into institutions that serve all students well. Lessons learned in these efforts, together with unflinching data analyses, help shape our state and national policy agendas.

Major Responsibilities

Responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

Strategic Communications Outreach

  • Proactively build, execute, and refine a communications plan designed to (1) advance Ed Trust’s higher education policy goals at both the national and state levels and (2) change public understanding and narrative about how the nation’s universities and colleges do and do not advance equity in opportunity and outcomes for underserved students
  • Drive communications outreach to make Ed Trust a leading voice on the issues that are mission-aligned
  • Liaise with broader communications, higher education, and partnerships and engagement teams to ensure aligned communications strategies and content that is accessible to broader audiences
  • Develop cohesive, strategic outreach plans to identify and reach the organization’s target audiences for policy and research papers, events, videos and other advocacy documents/tools
  • Collaborate with members of the higher education and partnerships and engagement teams to amplify their voices on higher education issues, including by developing plans to increase their visibility, preparing them for media engagements, and developing their skills as spokespeople
  • Serve as project lead on the public release of Ed Trust higher education materials, including:
    • conducting a media landscape analysis to understand the environment in which Ed Trust is entering existing conversations;
    • collaborating with Ed Trust’s broader communications team on editorial, digital, and media strategy;
    • connecting with Ed Trust’s partnerships and engagement team to ensure alignment of public messaging and outreach strategy;
    • connecting with Ed Trust’s development team to assist with funder relations and coordinate outreach with funder, as needed;
    • ensuring that key staff are meeting their deadlines to make sure the release is a success;
    • creating drumbeat opportunities post-release to ensure core messages reach intended audiences;
    • stewarding higher education media and public speaking opportunities for the President and CEO (e.g., coordinating event logistics, collaborating with research and content teams on background materials in preparation for opportunities);
    • monitoring and sharing internally the impact and reach of Ed Trust’s communications strategy and revising and expanding the strategy as needed;
    • assisting Ed Trust partners with their communications needs.

Media Relations

  • Cultivate and create relationships with national and state reporters, editors, bloggers, producers, and columnists
  • Serve as the primary contact for media for higher education press inquiries
  • Write media advisories and press releases, marketing materials, web and social media content (as appropriate), and talking points and key messages
  • Manage and build out key media and outreach lists in both EveryAction and Cision as well as maintain a list of VIP reporters
  • Pitch and place stories on educational and social justice issues in which Ed Trust is engaged
  • Provide training and run preparation and feedback sessions for Ed Trust spokespeople to help focus their key messages and sharpen their public engagement skills for media interviews
  • Explore new communications avenues to promote our advocacy agenda

Writing

  • Write timely, engaging, and accurate blog posts and other online content to advance the organization’s policy agenda and mission
  • Translate “wonky” research findings and policy recommendations into easily accessible, motivating content geared toward reaching key audiences and creating narrative and policy change
  • Write and prepare timely and thorough background materials for members of Ed Trust’s senior leadership team, such as speeches, talking points, briefing documents, op-eds, and blog posts

Qualifications and Experience

  • At least an undergraduate degree
  • Minimum of 4 years of demonstrated experience in public relations or journalism or a related field with demonstrated ability to forge and maintain relationships with journalists
  • Experience interacting with higher education policy or research, including but not limited to: covering education as a reporter, leading communications for an advocacy organization, speech writing for an elected official, working in a state, local, or federal education agency
  • Proven experience creating and implementing multifaceted, integrated communications plans
  • Proven experience drafting media materials and other public documents including press releases, fact sheets, op-eds and talking points
  • The ability to prioritize, juggle competing priorities to meet deadlines and multi-task in a results-oriented and fast-paced environment
  • The ability to work independently with limited supervision.
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills
  • Strong follow-through and attention to detail
  • An understanding of the role of communications in achieving advocacy goals and policy change

Compensation

Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. The Education Trust offers a comprehensive benefits package.

Please provide a cover letter and resume to be considered for this position. You must combine your cover letter and resume into one document and upload that document. Our application system will not allow you to upload more than one file.

The Education Trust is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages diversity in all facets of the organization’s work.