Director of Congressional Affairs

28 Sep, 2021


Director of Congressional Affairs

Council for Opportunity for Education
Washington, DC

Council for Opportunity in Education



Reports To: Vice President of Public Policy

The Council for Opportunity in Education (“COE”), a nonprofit organization with the mission to improve access to higher education for low-income and first-generation students, has an immediate need for a Director of Congressional Affairs (“Director”) within COE’s Public Policy UnitIn recent years, the Public Policy Unit has worked with Congress to steadily grow the appropriation for the Federal TRIO Programs (“TRIO”) for college access and success to over $1 billion annually. This work has been accomplished, in part, through highly targeted and robust grassroots mobilization efforts working with TRIO educators, students, and alumni from all parts of the country. Working closely with the Vice President of Public Policy (“Vice President”) and senior leadership within COE, the Director will play an integral role in the developing, implementing, and advancing the government relations agenda of the Council.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Advocate before Members of Congress, the Department of Education, and the White House to advance the interests of the Council, TRIO programs, and TRIO students;
  • Mobilize the TRIO community throughout the country to act on congressional and Administration actions that affect low-income and first-generation students;
  • Craft and, as appropriate, deliver weekly government relations updates, conference and webinar presentations, and regular responses to field inquiries;
  • Play a lead role in the planning, coordination, and execution of COE’s annual congressional and advocacy events, including the Spring fly-in meeting (Policy Seminar), National Student Leadership Congress, Annual Conference, First-Generation College Celebration, and various Capitol Hill briefings;
  • Help expand the Council’s grassroots advocacy training and nonpartisan civic engagement efforts at the federal and state levels;
  • Identify strategic opportunities in the legislative and executive branches and work to build and strengthen coalitions with education, business, and other national and local advocacy organizations to fight for first-generation and low-income students;
  • Represent the interests of TRIO programs and students in meetings, briefings, and within education coalitions across Washington, DC;
  • Supervise a rotating team of policy fellows and interns for the Public Policy Unit; and
  • Other duties as assigned.

Position Requirements:


  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree preferred


  • Three to five years of relevant policy experience, with an intimate understanding of the appropriations and authorization processes;
  • Minimum two years Capitol Hill experience preferred at the legislative aide/legislative assistant level or higher.This is not an entry level position.


  • Excellent oral and written communications ability;
  • Strong organizational and project management skills;
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications, particularly Microsoft Excel
  • Visionary, creative, and strategic thinker who is able to identify policy opportunities and develop and achieve a plan for success;
  • High energy, maturity, and the ability to exercise strong judgment and discretion in advocacy matters at both the strategic and tactical levels;
  • Self-starter, able to work independently, and an entrepreneurial spirit; enjoys creating and implementing new initiatives;
  • Ability to relate to and communicate with diverse groups of individuals as a trusted team player;
  • Keen insight, awareness, and sensitivity into matters pertaining to low-income students, first-generation students, students of color, students with disabilities, and other underrepresented student groups;
  • Availability to work occasional late nights and weekend as necessary; and
  • Availability to travel for professional development trainings, conferences, and other activities. (Travel approximately 20%.)

Competitive salary, commensurate with experience.

Closing date: October 22, 2021, or until the position is filled.

The Council considers applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, disability, marital, political or veteran status, sexual orientation or any other legally protected status.

To Apply, please submit the following:

  • Cover Letter
  • Resume
  • List of at least three references
  • Writing Sample (1-2 pages maximum, can be an excerpt, bill summary or press release preferred)

Please email all materials to with the subject line: “Director of Congressional Affairs.” For more information, go to Absolutely no phone calls.

Job posted: 2021-09-28