Background/IRC Summary: Over the past 80 years, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has developed unparalleled expertise in responding to emergencies and helping uprooted communities to rebuild. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster.
The IRC is on the ground in more than 40 countries, providing emergency relief, relocating refugees and rebuilding lives in the wake of disaster. Through 26 offices in cities across the United States, the IRC also helps refugees and other immigrants resettle in the U.S. and become self-sufficient. The IRC is committed to a culture of bold leadership, innovation in all aspects of our work, creative partnerships and, most crucially, accountability to those we serve. The IRC is a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable.
The Policy & Practice Department is a dynamic team combining the IRC’s Communications, Policy and Advocacy, and Technical Unit expertise. Its core purpose is to develop the IRC as a thought leader and drive transformational change in the humanitarian sector, and specifically to dramatically increase the effectiveness of humanitarian response and its ability to achieve outcomes for people living in and displaced by conflict and crisis.
Job Overview/Summary: The U.S. Programs Policy and Advocacy team supports federal and state advocacy on U.S. resettlement policy and practice (as well as wider issues of concern) to the IRC’s U.S. Programs team, including 29 field offices across the United States. In the past several years, US Programs offices have witnessed the strengthened organization and political influence of anti-resettlement grassroots actors. In early 2016, fuelled by attacks against refugee resettlement in the U.S. Congress as well as moratoriums on resettlement declared by 31 Governors, the IRC witnessed a barrage of state legislative attacks on refugee resettlement. In response, IRC field offices throughout the United States have been strengthening their education, outreach, advocacy and welcome work at the state, county and local levels, while also redoubling efforts to lift up the contributions of refugees and the strong support of local communities that our programs enjoy.
The Field Advocacy Officer (U.S. Programs) will serve as a bridge between the Advocacy team in Washington and the USP field offices, strengthening the USP Policy and Advocacy team’s capacity to provide direct advocacy support in priority states and providing tools, resources and learning support to build advocacy capacity among staff throughout the USP field network.
As part of the U.S. Programs advocacy team and in close partnership with U.S. Programs leadership including Regional Directors, the USP field network and specific USP field offices in priority states, the Field Advocacy Officer will:
- Support U.S. field offices to design and implement advocacy strategies including mapping stakeholders; conducting education, awareness-raising and advocacy to influence policy makers to defeat restrictive refugee measures at the state and local level; and promoting pro-refugee initiatives at state, city and municipal levels
- Provide on the ground rapid response capacity to U.S. field offices during critical moments at the state and local level, including conducting legislative outreach and direct lobbying as needed
- Conduct analysis of proposed state legislation and regulations and their impact on IRC’s clients and programs
- Enhance and build the advocacy capacity of IRC field office leadership, staff, and volunteer networks
- Develop and implement advocacy tools and resources for the IRC network
- Foster connections between IRC field offices and local allies and influencers, including supporting coalition-building where appropriate
- Bachelor degree or higher in a related field
- 3-6 years experience working in politics or policy at the state level, preferably with experience at the local level as well
- Experience developing and implementing successful advocacy and influencing strategies, using campaigning and/or coalition advocacy techniques
- Experience in developing the capacities of others in advocacy, including developing resources and conducting formal trainings and on-the-job capacity-building with colleagues with diverse backgrounds and varying levels of experience with policy advocacy or grassroots organizing space
- Experience in grassroots and community organizing or social justice work related to immigration or migrant’s rights. Experience working for, or in partnership with, a U.S. refugee resettlement agency preferred
- Experience in using strategic communications for advocacy would be an asset
Demonstrated Skills and Competencies:
- Understanding of the U.S. resettlement program and/or and knowledge of policy issues related to U.S. immigration is highly desirable
- Excellent writing skills and the ability to translate complex material and data into coherent narratives
- Ability to communicate effectively and diplomatically with internal and external stakeholders
- Strong public speaking, presentation and networking skills
- Ability to travel and to work on tight deadlines
- Ability to work as a team player with remote supervision and multiple lines of internal communication and accountability
- Initiative and ability to work independently on fast-paced issues
- Commitment to the IRC’s vision, missions and values
Working Environment: Standard office work environment. Up to 50% travel required.