Communications Specialist

The Urban Institute (Washington, D.C.)

Posted 3 weeks ago

Who we are
At the nonprofit Urban Institute, we believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities. Our employees are empowered to open minds, shape decisions and offer solutions. We encourage intellectual honesty, innovation, diversity, and mutual respect, and our analysis elevates the debate, wherever it takes place.Urban’s greatest asset is our people. We strive to attract and cultivate a vibrant, creative, and diverse community. Our employees drive Urban’s mission through entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership, effective communication, results-orientation, and relationship cultivation. Our success depends on engaging individuals who possess and value these attributes.  The Center on Education Data and Policy (EDP) undertakes policy-relevant research on issues from prekindergarten through post-secondary education. We believe that education policy informed by hard data and rigorous research is crucial to realizing the education system’s potential to increase socioeconomic mobility and address growing inequality.

How you’ll contribute
For policy research to drive change, it must reach and be understood by stakeholders with the power to implement and advocate for solutions. The Center on Education Data and Policy (EDP) is seeking a communications specialist to help translate and disseminate rigorous education research to changemakers ranging from Congressional staff and national reporters to school, college, and district leaders.Reporting to the senior manager for communications and outreach in EDP, the communications specialist will work with EDP researchers and with Urban’s larger communications team to develop content and execute strategic communications plans. The ideal candidate is a strong writer with an understanding of education policy and at least a few years of experience in communications, journalism, policy, or a related field.


  • Write compelling content – outreach emails, newsletters, media pitches, research summaries, fact sheets – that distills complex research for non-expert stakeholders
  • Edit blog posts, executive summaries, and other written products for content and clarity
  • Collaboratively develop and execute communications strategies for EDP projects and the center’s broader priorities
  • Conduct background research to help prepare researchers for media interviews or key stakeholder meetings
  • Monitor web analytics and track examples of impact
  • Help researchers develop content and guest lists for panel discussions, roundtables, briefings, or other events
  • Liaise between researchers and the communications team, coordinating timing and resources for product launches and outreach campaigns
  • Track engagements with reporters and policy stakeholders and maintain lists of key contacts
  • Coordinate the EDP product pipeline in close coordination with researchers and operations staff

What you’ll bring

The successful candidate will:

  • Have 3-6 years of professional experience in a role involving a significant amount of writing. Time spent earning a degree (bachelor’s, associate’s, or certificate) can take the place of some professional experience, but candidates should still have at least a few years of relevant work experience
  • Exhibit exceptional writing skills, including the ability to tailor content to specific audiences
  • Have experience in or knowledge of education policy
  • Demonstrate the ability to understand and interpret quantitative research
  • Be self-directed, organized, and flexible

Knowledge of Salesforce, Cision, or Google Analytics a plus

Please include a cover letter and at least one writing sample in your application. Applications without these components will not be considered.

What you’ll experience
Working in the Nation’s Capital, the epicenter of public policy among a network of policy experts, you can expect to have an impact on policy areas you care about and work with great colleagues who are smart, mission-driven, and collaborative. You will blend academic rigor with on-the-ground collaboration, be encouraged and supported to fulfill your potential through meaningful work that matters, and enjoy a welcoming workplace free from harassment, discrimination and intolerance.In addition, we offer a comprehensive benefits package that includes: medical, dental, disability, and life insurance coverage. Competitive paid time off allowance, and eligibility to participate in a generous retirement savings plan and reimbursable commuting expense program.   

The Urban Institute is committed to Equal Employment Opportunity without regard for race, ethnicity, gender, protected veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other protected status under applicable law. The Urban Institute is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer Minorities/Women/Disabilities/Veterans.

Apply here.

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Job CategoryCommunications