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Senior Program Associate - New America Chicago

About Us: New America Local  works within local communities on issues of economic and racial equity.  Our strategies vary based on the needs of each community. Using tools like human-centered research and design, technology and best-practices in community collaboration, our work helps inform policy-making at the local, state, and national levels.  We engage the experiences and expertise of people on the ground, particularly those that frequently go unheard.

New America Chicago is a policy innovation lab based at The Chicago Community Trust. We bring together innovators, policymakers, and marginalized communities to find and share solutions to issues of racial and economic equity in the Chicago region. We work to make sure technology and social change work in the interest of everyone. Our strategic priorities include: advocating for an equitable recovery agenda for the Chicago area that is grounded in Black and Brown community experiences; and providing thought-leadership and community-based testing for policy reforms to improve low-income family supports at the city, state, and federal  level. We are currently in the process of developing a community policy lab to ensure public policies are designed in a way that meet the needs of marginalized communities. The lab will include new ways of engaging community members in designing and informing public policy such as legislation about government benefits or tax credits for low-income families.

About the Position: New America Chicago seeks an organized Senior Program Associate to coordinate the Chicago office on a part-time basis. This position will be responsible for helping implement the new policy lab initiative developed by the team leads. The Senior Program Associate will coordinate the operations of the community policy lab and support occasional events and communications for the Chicago office. This will include working directly with the community to recruit participants, and schedule and help conduct interviews, polling, and policy design sessions. The team member will be relied upon to  engage community members in ways that are respectful of their unique expertise. Previous experience with user experience research, social science research, project management, and/or communications will be useful in this position. The ideal candidate will have a personal experience with poverty, familiarity with Black and Brown communities, and/or the South and West sides of Chicago.

The position will support two user experience research projects over the next year. One focuses on increasing access to the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income Chicagoans. The other focuses on improving access to safer alternatives to predatory lending, short-term loans with interest rates as high as 400 percent, primarily targeted at Black and Brown low-income communities. The position may include some quarterly tasks such as organizing, drafting, and sending out newsletters and occasionally assisting with planning events. This is a one-year position with the opportunity for renewal, contingent upon funding.


  • Managing the operations of the program including communicating with and fielding questions from potential participants, staff, and partners.
  • Maintaining accurate, up-to-date records and institutional knowledge of the program.
  • Coordinating the behind the scenes details of user experience research, qualitative interviews, and surveys. This may include:
    • Developing recruitment materials and recruiting interviewees or participants from specific neighborhoods.
    • Recruiting and hiring contractors and other team members for sprints.
    • Developing timelines and project managing user experience sprints.
    • Coordinating paperwork completion and payment of lab participants.
    • Arranging for transcription of recorded interviews or focus groups.
    • Coordinating, organizing, and conducting interviews, focus groups, surveys, and user experience processes with other team members and contractors.
    • Drafting and organizing notes and findings.
  • As needed, reviewing interview and focus group notes or transcripts and providing summaries of commonalities and differences across multiple people’s responses.
  • In collaboration with the Director and other team members, creating reports or presentations summarizing results.
  • Supporting communications efforts such as quarterly e-newletters, website edits, and blog postings, as time allows.
  • Helping to coordinate small events two to three times a year, including developing invitation lists, posting descriptions, organizing agendas, coordinating speakers, and sending out emails.
  • Other duties as time permits.

About You: You are an organized, worker bee who is committed to making life better for low-income communities. You enjoy organizing and creating systems to put a big idea into action. You are collaborative, very detail-oriented, and good at managing project timelines. You are good at putting people at ease, listening closely, and finding patterns across multiple stories and human experiences. You are sensitive to the challenges facing low-income Americans and culturally sensitive. You have a genuine interest in making sure public laws address the needs of Black and Brown low-income communities. You are a good writer and quick to tackle big projects.


  • Familiarity with Google Docs, Microsoft Office, or other similar programs required.
  • Ability to learn new software or applications quickly
  • Ability to read and explain administrative language such as IRS tax rules or SNAP benefit rules
  • Some experience drafting and posting website content or the ability to learn.

Strong work ethic:

  • Well-organized work style.
  • A commitment to high-quality work
  • Focused worker, willing to jump in and work steadily
  • Attention to detail.
  • Ability to complete assignments and problem solve with minimal supervision

Openness to learning:

  • An interest in new ways of solving public problems.
  • Open and responsive to guidance and constructive criticism.

About the role:

  • Work schedule is flexible. Occasional night and weekend availability are preferred for participant interviews or meetings. Some daytime hours will be required for participation in team meetings.
  • Work can be completed remotely with internet access.
  • One year position
  • 30 hours per week is available.
  • Pay starts at $42,750 for 30 hours per week.
  • Benefits include health, dental, and vision insurance, 403(b) retirement match, FSA for transportation and childcare, life insurance, and paid time off.

How to Apply

  • Please submit a cover letter, writing sample (3 pages or less), and resume . Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. 

No phone calls or emails will be answered.

New America is an equal opportunity employer committed to hiring a diverse workforce at all levels of the organization thereby creating a culture that allows us to better serve our mission, our employees, and our communities. We value and encourage the contributions of our employees and strive to create an environment where everyone can reach their full potential and drive outstanding results. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, gender identity or expression, or any other basis protected by local, state, or federal law. This policy applies with regard to all aspects of one’s employment, including hiring, transfer, promotion, compensation, eligibility for benefits, and termination.

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