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Statewide Community Researcher

Job Description

Statewide Community Researcher

Location: Oakland, San Jose, Fresno, Long Beach


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, 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, 35 full-time equivalent staff, and a budget of $4.5 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 Community Researcher will lead and coordinate CFJ’s grassroots action research and written briefs on statewide and local education justice issues  grounded in concrete, student and community-centered data & experience. The Community Researcher will design and conduct research rooted in the lived experiences of low income, immigrant, LGBTQ, youth and families-of-color, as well as educators and education decision-makers, in collaboration with regional and statewide teams at CFJ. The Community Researcher will be responsible for developing actionable research materials, such as written briefs, factsheets, and other materials for an audience of policymakers, advocates, funders, and education decision-makers.


The Community Researcher will play a key role in all projects related to our Power of Data & Experience work which aims to elevate the expertise of students of color, as well as families, educators, and school leaders, to change policies, practices, and perceptions that create a more healthy, just, and vibrant education system.  The Community Researcher will participate on the Statewide team and collaborate on specific projects with regional organizing teams, the Sacramento Policy Team, and other relevant teams as needed. This position will report to the Organizing Director. The position is full­‐time and non-exempt, some weekends and late evenings may be required.


Essential Responsibilities

Statewide & Regional Action Research (40%)

  • Develop and execute statewide and regional research projects on CFJ priority issue areas, including topics such as educator diversity, English language learners, racial equity in curriculum, dual enrollment, community schools, and mental health in schools.
  • Working independently or with CFJ organizers and youth leaders, collect and capture relevant data and stories from youth, parents, educators, and other target populations in CFJ’s four regions, using data collection methods such as interviews, surveys, or focus groups. 
  • Analyze existing research and literature, existing policies, best practices and effective models, and compile research review summaries as needed
  • Conduct issue and/or regional -focused landscape analyses and tracking (i.e. teacher shortage research, mental health resources in Fresno, etc.)  
  • Facilitate and create materials for meetings with CFJ youth leaders, organizers and key allies to analyze the data gathered and identify key themes and actionable recommendations for local and state audiences. 
  • Support the leadership development of youth leaders in conducting action research by providing training for youth and organizers, shadowing and advising youth-led outreach, and providing individual troubleshooting and support.


Writing and Communication (30%)

  • Develop written briefs, statewide and regional issue-focused factsheets, lessons learned, and other materials based on the research gathered and tailor writing and materials to different audiences such as state policymakers, allies, youth and families, funders, or local decision-makers. 
  • Manage the feedback and review process on written materials with staff, youth leaders and external partners to ensure alignment with campaign and narrative strategy.
  • Coordinate closely with CFJ Communications Team to implement communications and narrative strategy and graphic design in developing, publishing and distributing materials. 


Institutionalizing Internal Knowledge & Experience (20%)

  • Document and lift up CFJ’s lessons and knowledge for the field and create historical documentation of campaign wins at the regional and state level.
  • Support internal learning priorities and onboarding for staff and youth by gathering and providing relevant information in formats that are accessible to the target audience.
  • Develop and maintain resources on local and statewide issues we are organizing around.


Organization-­wide responsibilities (10%)

  • Participate in all grassroots fundraising campaigns and maintain a portfolio of individual and organizational prospects for solicitation.  
  • Participate in and be accountable to cross-­department committees, teams, and departments.  
  • Assume rotating meeting facilitation, notetaking and tech support roles and responsibilities as needed.  
  • Provide support and participation for organization-­wide and regional campaigns and events.  


Other Responsibilities

  • Other duties as assigned.


Essential Qualifications

  • Two or more years of experience conducting research and writing, including participatory action research
  • Strong commitment to social justice, racial justice, and youth empowerment 
  • Strong interpersonal and team‐building skills, particularly with high school students and key decision-makers
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including the ability to translate complex research into action-oriented, user-friendly concepts.  
  • Ability to develop and implement project plans involving multiple teams and people.
  • Strong computer skills with proficiency in Microsoft Office, G-Suite and a variety of applications
  • Excellent problem-­solving and organizational skills
  • Excellent attention to detail and follow­‐through
  • Ability to prioritize and balance multiple tasks and projects.
  • Available to work flexible hours, including afternoons and occasional evenings and weekends   

 Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience with one or more of the following areas: educational policy, organizing, curriculum development for youth or community members, alliance building, and writing and securing earned media
  • Has experience in and/or knowledge of the California education system and/or landscape
  • Fluency in a second language.


Work Environment

Currently (as of October 2021), all CFJ staff are working virtually in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Upon returning to in-person operations (TBD), the position will be located in CFJ’s Oakland Office. Our office is located on the 2nd floor with stair-only access. Our offices are shared among several employees. 


Physical Demands

  • Able to work on a computer, including sitting at a desk, for extended periods of time with or without reasonable accommodation. 
  • Manual dexterity to operate a keyboard.
  • Able to see or read a computer screen and printed material with or without vision aids.
  • Able to speak clearly and in audible tones on the phone and in-person and be understood by others.
  • Able to hear and understand speech at normal levels and on the telephone.
  • Able to understand and follow oral and written instructions.
  • Able to occasionally lift objects weighing up to 20 pounds.



$28.38 – $33.99 per hour (approximate annual earnings of $59,000 – $70,700, plus overtime) 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:

Send your resume, a cover letter demonstrating your interest and qualifications, a research-based writing sample, and at least three references to with the subject line “Community Researcher – Your Name.”


As a multi-racial organization, CFJ is 95% people of color, we are committed to creating an inclusive and diverse workplace where every staff member feels heard, supported, valued, and can share their authentic brilliance to move the CFJ mission forward. CFJ is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Folx who are queer, trans, non-binary, Black, Indigenous, people of color, parents, women, people with disabilities, immigrants, and anyone who has experienced systemic oppression and/or gender-based violence are encouraged to apply. We are committed to addressing issues of racism and inequity internally and externally.

Join the Fight for Racial and Educational Justice!
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