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    Center on Policy Initiatives

Now Hiring: Researcher & Policy Advocate

The Center on Policy Initiatives is a research and action institute dedicated to creating economic prosperity, sustainable communities and a healthy environment for all. CPI serves a unique role in the San Diego region providing the analysis, policy solutions, education and alliances that advance social and economic justice.

Founded in 1997, the Center on Policy Initiatives has been at the forefront of the economic justice movement in San Diego. CPI works to increase access to good jobs and to improve conditions for low-wage workers and their families. The organization envisions local government as an effective champion for the common good, and works to enable residents of all communities to have an informed and powerful voice in decisions affecting their quality of life.

CPI seeks a Researcher/Policy Advocate who is passionate about economic and social justice, meticulous about research and able to strategically plan and implement short- and long-term research and issue-based campaign work.

CPI’s Research Team conducts research to inform policy development and campaign strategy and to educate lawmakers and the public on issues related to the economic justice, social equity and access to work that treats them with dignity. The position reports to the Deputy Director.


  • Creating and/or identifying policies that can improve the lives of working families
  • Conducting research on the impact of current and proposed local, regional and state policies on working people in San Diego while employing a racial and social justice lens. .
  • Providing accurate data and analysis to inform public understanding of the problems facing working communities in San Diego.
  • Writing concise policy briefs and reports to share research findings.
  • Presenting research findings at community meetings, government hearings, and other venues.
  • Leading and supporting CPI campaigns to reach policy goals
  • Collaborating with CPI staff to develop collective organizing strategies and advocacy targets that are informed by research findings.
  • Coordinating with partner organizations and government officials
  • Collaborating with CPI staff to develop accessible education and outreach materials.
  • Performing other duties as assigned.


  • Experience writing and/or analyzing public policies.
  • Excellent writing, analytical and verbal presentation skills.
  • Strong team collaboration skills with an ability to incorporate input from colleagues
  • Experience conducting quantitative or qualitative research experience doing so in real world, applied settings is preferred.
  • Strong attention to detail and a demonstrated high standard of quality and accuracy in work products.
  • Proven ability to design and execute meaningful, focused research to support policy change.
  • Proven ability to write and organize engaging, clear and precise reports and articles that are accessible to a wide range of audiences.
  • Proven ability to present information in a clear, concise way, synthesizing information as appropriate for different audiences.
  • Demonstrated commitment to social and economic justice.
  • Availability and willingness to work irregular hours, including evenings and weekends.
  • Experience with policy addressing one or more of the following: 1) affordable housing 2) tenants’ rights, 3) public infrastructure 4) land use and planning, or 5) a related field.


  • Experience applying a participatory action research framework to engage communities in policy change.
  • Experience working alongside community leaders and organizers to guide and inform campaign efforts based on data and research.
  • Experience working with government officials (elected, appointed, staff) on policy issues, with a preference for experience in the San Diego region.
  • Experience in advocacy, organizing, or community or labor campaign research.
  • Proven project management and organization skills, including using project/work plans effectively, managing a team to complete projects successfully, working independently, troubleshooting, prioritizing and meeting deadlines.
  • Experience working with communities of color, immigrant communities, and/or people whose first or only language is other than English.
  • Understanding of the critical role of the labor movement in achieving social and economic justice.
  • Proven skills at working with partner organizations advocating for social, economic, racial, and environmental justice.
  • Bi-lingual in English and Spanish – advanced fluency.
  • San Diego ties or a history of participation in regional organizing networks or experience in regional research networks.

SALARY AND BENEFITS:  CPI’s salary and benefit standards are competitive and reflect our commitment to economic justice and equal pay for equal work. The salary range for this position is between $56,313 and $66,250 per year. We offer a full benefits package including employer-paid health, vision, and dental insurance, 401(k) retirement plan with employer contribution, and a generous paid time-off program including paid sick, vacation, and holidays.


APPLICATION PROCESS:  Interested candidates should prepare and submit their resume along with a cover letter highlighting your unique fit for this position, and a brief one-page writing sample on a policy relevant topic to hr@cpisandiego.org, with the subject line “Researcher/Policy Advocate – ‘(your First and Last name)’”. No phone calls please.

This position is rolling until filled. Interviews will be completed in August for a September start date.

Due to the current COVID-19 public health protocols, all interview activity will be conducted remotely by phone or Zoom. Upon returning to regular operations, this position will be located at our offices in San Diego. Given the high volume of applications we receive; it is not possible for us to contact all candidates. We are also unable to accept calls or direct e-mails regarding the status of applications.

The Center on Policy Initiatives respects, values and celebrates the unique attributes, characteristics and perspectives that make each person who they are. We believe our strength lies in the broad range of people and partners we work with and represent. Inclusion is a driver of our institutional excellence and we seek out the participation of women, people of color, persons with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees, board members, and volunteers.

Written by
CPI San Diego
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Written by CPI San Diego