Reports To: Chief Policy Officer

Location: California

Schedule: Full Time

Compensation: DOE

Job Summary:

First Place for Youth is seeking a full-time Public Policy Manager. This position is based in California (Oakland or Los Angeles preferred). The Public Policy Manager will work closely with the Chief Policy Officer help to develop the organization’s policy goals, and is responsible for managing, executing, and implementing First Place’s state and local policy agenda.

The Public Policy Manager will conduct policy research and analysis, contribute to issue briefs, represent the organization at key stakeholder meetings, and work in coalition with other agencies and advocates to shape and move a policy agenda supporting the success of transition age foster youth and sustainability of program delivery. The Public Policy Manager is responsible for effectively engaging government and community leaders, First Place staff, external stakeholders, and youth leaders in advancing policies to accomplish our mission.

The Public Policy Manager will also provide support to the CPO in evaluating and shaping First Place’s federal policy agenda and will provide research and analysis to support the execution of a policy strategy First Place’s affiliate sites throughout the country—advancing the organizational mission nationwide using a systems change approach.

The Public Policy Manager reports to the CPO and serves as a policy resource throughout the organization. This position requires someone with a passion for First Place for Youth’s vision, strong research, analytical, and strategic thinking skills, and an ability to work with a broad range of stakeholders and manage multiple projects simultaneously.


•    Work closely with the CPO to develop, articulate, and implement a strategic direction for policy development and systems change in California.

•    Track and analyze state legislative and regulatory issues that affect First Place’s ability to deliver high quality services. Recognize and elevate initiatives that may directly or indirectly impact youth in program and identify initiatives where First Place can play a strategic role.

•    Respond to key policy initiatives on behalf of First Place. Prepare data analysis, issue briefs, policy memos, and presentations as needed for a variety of stakeholder audiences. Ensure that First Place’s policy positions and recommendations in California are consistent with its organizational strategy and priorities. Coordinate and collaborate across departments to ground policy work in practical experience, data, and research.

•    Support the design and execution of a local (county-based) policy agenda to support sustainable program delivery in each of the six counties where First Place operates.

•    Professionally and effectively represent the agency to external stakeholders, including government agencies, the policy community, academia, the media, and other service providers. Utilize external meetings, stakeholder workgroups, conferences and speaking engagements to advance First Place’s mission.

•    Ensure that the development and implementation of state regulations is closely aligned with First Place’s program model and culture by actively participating in relevant policy implementation work groups and engaging in regulatory advocacy.

•    Serve as liaison with direct service staff and managers by sharing policy changes that impact how they do their work and collaborating on ways to leverage systems change opportunities in order to improve outcomes for youth in program.

•    Provide policy analysis and research to support to First Place’s national policy agenda and affiliate expansion.

•    Establish a cohort of youth ambassadors to engage in and support First Place policy efforts.  Create a process for selecting, training and supporting a group of 5-10 youth each year to serve in this capacity.


•    EDUCATION – BA required; Juris Doctor, Master of Public Policy, or other advanced degree strongly preferred.

•    POLICY DEVELOPMENT AND ADVOCACY EXPERIENCE – At least three years’ experience developing and advancing effective practice-based policies and strategies on a local, state, or national level in one or more of the following policy areas: child welfare/foster care, youth justice, education, workforce development, homelessness eradication and/or anti-poverty work. Demonstrated effectiveness in advancing a strategic policy agenda.

•    RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS SKILLS – Excellent research, problem solving, and writing skills. Ability to summarize complex arguments clearly and accurately. Ability to stimulate and contribute constructively to debates on complex and controversial issues.

•    STRONG COMMUNICATION SKILLS – Exceptional oral and written communication skills, including the ability to analyze and synthesize information, compose documents, and effectively present information to diverse audiences, including organizational management, community leaders, government entities, and program staff.

•    RELATIONAL CAPACITY AND COALITION BUILDING EXPERIENCE – Ability to work with a range of stakeholders, including government agencies, legislators and other public decision-makers, community partners, and young people. Cultural and political sensitivity. Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain relationships both internally and externally. Proven experience in leveraging relationships to achieve policy goals.

•    PEOPLE, PROJECT AND PROGRAM MANAGEMENT SKILLS – Exemplary people skills. Cross-functional collaborative capacity. Ability to either take direction or work independently as the situation requires.

•    Proficiency with MS Office suite:  Word, Excel, PowerPoint.


Core Competencies

Required of all staff for successful performance at First Place


  • Intentional use of data to improve performance
  • Possesses strong drive, initiative and motivation
  • Detail and Results orientation
  • Demonstrates good work habits
  • Resiliency in persisting through setbacks
  • Demonstrated success, with the ability to think strategically while executing tactically within a resource-constrained environment.


  • Seeks and utilizes resources to inform and contextualize own work
  • Thinks interdependently, framing the goals of one department/project within the entire vision
  • Synthesizes information to make astute recommendations and/or decisions
  • Prioritizes goals for success.


  • Creates an environment that maximizes the return on investment in others
  • Collaborates to set and achieve goals that comport with First Place’s mission, strategic plan and desired measurable outcomes
  • Creates and utilizes development opportunities to address individual needs and capacity to accomplish performance objectives
  • Creates and identifies opportunities for recognition of success
  • Provides supportive environment to learn from mistakes.


  • Courageous, strategic, clear and direct communication that resolves discrepancies and overcomes challenges and obstacles to organizational success
  • Ability to respectfully ask questions, challenge, and communicate both positive and difficult messages to subordinates, superiors, peers and youth
  • Sound judgment regarding the appropriateness of guarding confidentiality to protect the privacy rights of colleagues or youth
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.


  • Asks questions in order to learn and encourage dialogue
  • Willing to make mistakes and to be accountable for own work
  • Speaks about issues truthfully and without blame
  • Leads by example, displaying behavior that respects the mission, youth and First Place
  • Holds high expectations for self, one another and for our youth.

To apply for this position, please submit your cover letter and resume in ONE document to:

Please submit a resume, cover letter and must include a writing sample.