Assistant Policy Director

The Center for Rural Affairs is seeking a full-time Assistant Policy Director to help team members improve rural communities.

The ideal candidate will have experience managing projects and supporting team members. This includes assisting the Policy Director with the management of all Policy Program activities and helping supervise key program staff.

Who We Are

The Center for Rural Affairs is a dynamic, energetic non-profit organization working to build a better rural future for all. We’ve done this work for more than 49 years, and we do it from rural places. Our work creates opportunities for beginning farmers, new business owners, and first-time advocates. The Center’s work is fueled by our compassionate, mission-driven staff who work for the betterment of rural communities, stewardship, and the next generation. Additional information can be found at

What You’ll Do

The Assistant Policy Director reports to the Policy Director, directs and oversees team members in achieving policy objectives, leads administrative tasks, and is responsible for:

  • You will assist the Policy Director in the management of all aspects of the Program. 
  • You will assist the Policy Director with directing a team of full-time staff and will serve as team leader by selecting, onboarding, motivating, guiding, and developing team members.
  • You will assist the Policy Director with developing Program strategy and ensuring strategy implementation.
  • You will supervise and direct policy staff in the day-to-day activities of the program which include creating work plans, prioritizing and assigning tasks, and adjusting strategies as needed.
  • You will lead project management activities and the onboarding of new projects.
  • You will partner with staff to facilitate professional development by identifying opportunities for specific training resources and strengthening competencies. 
  • You will assist the Policy Director with managing the program budget, grant management, and execution.
  • You will organize, lead, and execute the policy team’s annual retreat.
  • You will share with staff key decisions and provide opportunities for input, collaboration, and connectedness.

Who You Are & Keys to Success (the must-haves)

To be successful in this job, you will excel in five areas:

  • Relationship-building: You develop and maintain strong, collaborative working relationships with a diverse group of stakeholders and can bring in allies and partners from communities statewide, such as people of color, people with disabilities, low-income families, military veterans, immigrants, farmers, and entrepreneurs. You know how to build alliances and find points of collaboration even when there are competing interests.
  • Drive to achieve results: You have a track record of accomplishing ambitious goals and getting results even when there are obstacles. You set a high bar and meet it because you think three (or 30) steps ahead to anticipate hurdles and come up with pragmatic solutions. You plan backward and involve stakeholders appropriately.
  • Inclusive leadership and management: You approach leadership with a collaborative mindset and regularly include others in decision-making. You seek out those who have the experience to guide, advise, and plan how you approach the work.
  • Setting and managing priorities: You have experience managing multiple projects and keeping tasks from slipping through the cracks. You use resources wisely and can provide clear direction to staff, partners, consultants, and volunteers to leverage time and talent for impact.
  • Commitment to racial equity and social justice: You recognize the role of race, income, age, immigration status, and other identities in addressing disparities. You recognize how your own identities show up in the work, and welcome feedback with an eye toward continuous learning about race, ability, and other lines of difference.

If you have past experience with grant writing, project management, and the legislative process, this is valuable.

If you were here right now, you would be:

  • Supervising staff, directing work plans, and meeting weekly to monitor daily work and progress toward goals.
  • Managing the onboarding of new staff as well as managing new projects.
  • Engaged in administrative tasks that support professional development, guide weekly team meetings, and monitor program activities.
  • Meeting with the Policy Director to develop program strategies and ensure the implementation of the strategies.

What Else You Should Know

This is a full-time exempt position based in eastern Nebraska or central or western Iowa. Priority consideration will be given to candidates who are able to office in Lyons, Nebraska, or in Nevada, Iowa two days per week.

This position will require occasional travel by car both overnight and out-of-state travel on occasion. This position has a salary range of $65,000-$72,000 with top-notch benefits that have a cash value of $10,000 to $29,500, depending on family status and tenure with the Center.

The Center for Rural Affairs is an Equal Opportunity Employer and participates in E-Verify.

How to Apply

If you would like to work for an organization that has a national reputation as one of the top organizations in the country that works to make rural communities more vibrant, apply by sending your resume, cover letter, and three professional references by clicking here.  In the cover letter, please include how your personal and professional experiences have positioned you for success in this role and any related work, skills, or expertise you want us to know about including your supervision experiences. Please let us know how you heard about this position and why you want to work with us.