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Policy Director

Policy Director  

Job Description

Location: Fresno, Long Beach, Oakland, or San Jose 

Work Status – Hybrid


Organization Overview

Californians for Justice is a statewide, youth-powered organization fighting to improve the lives of people of color, immigrants, low-income families, LGBQiA2S+/TGNC youth and other marginalized communities. Through organizing in schools and in their neighborhoods, youth who join Californians for Justice become leaders in their own communities. They deepen their knowledge on issues like systemic racism, gender and sexuality, and education inequity, and organize and activate their peers to take action.


CFJ is the only grassroots, youth-powered organization in California that organizes students to have a voice in both local and statewide education policy. Our campaign and policy reform goals include adequate and equitable school funding, increased access and success in K-12 and higher education, and creating Relationship Centered Schools – schools that invest in youth voice, in staff, and in creating space for youth and adults to build positive relationships with one another. CFJ currently has four regional offices in Fresno, Long Beach, San Jose and Oakland, 40 full-time equivalent staff and a budget of $5.5 million.

Californians for Justice has been successful because of our strong, dedicated staff team. CFJ staff are unwavering in their commitment to youth power and racial justice, to building connection and trust with their teams, and have a strong sense of purpose and dignity in their work. 


Position Overview

The Policy Director manages CFJ’s state policy team and leads the organization’s policy and budget advocacy strategy and efforts. The Policy Director will 1) build and strengthen statewide alliances and partnerships 2) weave the state policy strategy with regional goals and strategies and 3) advance CFJ’s mission and vision through state legislation and budget. The Policy Director reports to the Senior Strategy Director and is part of the CFJ statewide team. The position is full-time and exempt. In all duties and responsibilities, this position exercises discretion and independent judgment. 


Essential Responsibilities

State policy and budget advocacy

CFJ’s campaign and policy goals at the local and statewide levels include: our school transformation work, expanding youth-led democracy and amplifying a narrative for Black liberation in alignment with our Unified Campaign. Our policy and legislation strategies focus on advancing racial justice and educational equity.

  • Support the implementation of our previous wins at the state level, including Community Schools, Relationship Centered Schools, Community Engagement Initiative, LCFF and LCAP implementation, and more
  • In consultation with Policy Team, Statewide Team and with input from organizers create and execute a policy and budget advocacy strategy that is informed by the experiences of CFJ membership and the California public education landscape
  • Travel regularly to Sacramento to strengthen legislative and alliance partnerships and opportunities, and to other Californians for Justice regions to support members of the Policy Team
  • Work with Strategy Directors, Organizing Directors, Communications Director and Co-Executive Directors to develop & implement a unified statewide campaign strategy that advances our local campaigns and organizing
  • Rigorously and regularly evaluate our statewide policy work within the statewide education landscape 
  • Conduct regular policy research to update staff on policies and legislation that align to our work, while also identifying opportunities to author our own legislation 
  • Stay abreast of the California and national education issues and landscape
  • Understand the intersection of research and policy and can provide strategic support to connecting researcher and our policy advocacy efforts


State Partnerships and Alliances

  • Act as CFJ’s point person on statewide alliances and with key state decision-makers 
  • Lead state-level advocacy on CFJ’s policy priorities by supporting delegation visits, meeting with policy makers and ensuring that CFJ students and staff are prepared to lead these meetings
  • Build and maintain relationships with state level grassroots, policy and advocacy groups and engage them in our campaigns as appropriate 
  • Work with CFJ’s Communications team to develop effective media strategies and messaging to advance state policy goals
  • Work with staff to create youth/community friendly trainings on policy and budget issues


Supervision and organizational leadership

  • Oversee and manage the CFJ Policy team
  • Supervise and support the development and leadership of Policy team members
  • Serve as an active member of the CFJ Statewide Team to provide overall organizational leadership
  • Participate in all grassroots fundraising campaigns and maintain a portfolio of individual and organizational prospects for solicitation 
  • Engage in foundation fundraising, including proposal development, providing report information, general stewardship and leading site visits
  • Participate in cross-department committees and teams
  • Provide support for and participate in organization-wide and regional campaigns and events including and not limited to organization fundraising efforts and electorate campaigns to advance our strategic direction.


Other Responsibilities

  • Other duties as assigned


Essential Qualifications

  • Minimum of 3 years of advocacy or public policy experience 
  • Minimum of 2 years in a senior level staff position and 2 years experience with supervision and leading a team
  • Experience in 2 or more of the following areas: campaign strategy development, policy development, alliance building, strategic communications 
  • Strong commitment to social justice, racial justice and youth empowerment 
  • Ability to work effectively with public officials and a variety of stakeholders from grassroots groups, advocates, researchers, and litigators 
  • Excellent oral and written communication, problem-solving and detail oriented 
  • Understanding of California’s education policy and landscape
  • Advanced skills in facilitation of small and large group meetings 
  • Strong computer skills with expertise in Microsoft Office; familiarity with Apple Computers and G-Suite is a plus 


Preferred Qualifications

  • 3 years of staff management and supervision experience 
  • Background in policy analysis and research
  • Background in youth, community or labor organizing strongly preferred


Work Environment

This is a hybrid position and will be based out of Sacramento or Oakland, and will work virtually with frequent travel to the state capitol during the legislative cycle and as needed. This position will also occasionally work out of the Oakland office.


Physical Demands

  • Able to work on a computer, including sitting at a desk, for extended periods of time.
  • Able to read a computer screen. Manual dexterity to operate a keyboard.
  • Able to speak clearly on the phone and in person and be understood by others.
  • Able to occasionally lift objects weighing up to 10 pounds.



$74,599 – $93,039, depending on experience and qualifications, as determined by CFJ’s salary scale. CFJ provides a generous benefits package, including fully paid health insurance (medical, dental, and vision) for employees working at least half-time and their dependents. We also offer substantial vacation days and time off. 


How to Apply:

Apply at this link:

CFJ is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. People of color, women, lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/gender nonconforming, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

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