15 days old

Director, Coalitions, Grassroots, and State Policies

Work Remotely
  • Job Type
  • Job Status
    Full Time

RespectAbility’s mission is to fight stigmas and advance opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. RespectAbility is a diverse, disability-led nonprofit that works to create systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities, and that advances policies and practices that empower people with disabilities to have a better future.

We advance a system change agenda that creates access and breaks down barriers to education, employment, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement for diverse people with disabilities. By working in coalition with stakeholders and partners at the federal, state, and local level, and engaging the grassroots, we will advance opportunities for people with disabilities to earn an income, contribute to society, and achieve independence, just like anyone else.

Our innovative work, coalition building, and resources advance best practices to ensure that diverse people with disabilities have the skills, economic opportunities, supports, accommodations, and inclusion they need and deserve to both thrive individually and make their communities stronger. This includes our continued commitment to collaboration with other organizations, including BIPOC and English Language Learner (ELL)-led groups, working in the policy space.

This newly formed position of Director, Coalitions, Grassroots and State Policies will join a dynamic policy team led by the Vice President for Workforce, Faith and Leadership Programs, to spearhead RespectAbility’s efforts to work in coalitions with the grassroots at the state level to promote effective policy and utilization of best practices in the states. These coalitions will help us identify and create partnerships to help overcome barriers for individuals with disabilities. The Director will share best practices from other states, building on or creating relationships with advocates, stakeholders and decision-makers. Our core areas of work will be to advance Employment First cradle-to-career policies that will enable people with disabilities to get the education, skills, access and opportunities they need to thrive.

The Director will monitor State and Local Governments, beginning with ongoing efforts in Texas, Maryland, Washington State and others, to implement the goals of the RespectAbility strategic plan, including but not limited to:

  1. Working for “Employment First” policies so people with disabilities get the education, skills and opportunities they need from cradle to career in order to achieve their dreams.
  2. Achieving parity for people with and without disabilities in relevant measures (education, employment, income) for working-age people residing in the U.S. from all backgrounds.
  3. A sustained effort to ensure that public benefits system will no longer disincentivize work and punishes people with disabilities who have more than $2,000 to their name to be able to earn a living wage.
  4. Ensuring a comprehensive network of support systems to equip people with disabilities to start their own disability-owned business enterprise (DOBE), earn certification as a DOBE, access credit, and succeed as entrepreneurs.
  5. Advocating for State and local policies that will drive policy and practices change, and advance opportunities for people with disabilities who want to work.
  6. Advocating and allying with leaders in nonprofits, public service, and the private sector to influence adoption and implementation will best practices that advance the recruitment, hiring, and retention of employees with disabilities.


  • Work with the policy team, board members, volunteers, and partners to achieve the policy and advocacy goals outlined in our strategic plan. See:  www.respectability.org/2021strategicplan.
  • Work with our team to create and promote widespread use of RespectAbility’s recommendations on disability policyjob seeker supportsemployer adoption of best practiceseducational attainmentdisability entrepreneurship and more.
  • Build and manage our overall state policy program, including tracking, identifying and seizing opportunities to affect legislative, regulatory and administrative action at the state level so that people with disabilities can get the education, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities they need to succeed.
  • Build or strengthen relationships of trust with public officials to create opportunities to educate and advocate on these issues.
  • Collaborate with partners, including state and local government, disability and service organizations, businesses serving not-for-profit organizations and employers to identify and implement key systemic and policy issues solutions to barriers for success.
  • Devise strategies and opportunities to educate any impact decision-makers in state capitals on the key issues identified facing people with disabilities, both informally and in the legislative and regulatory process.
  • Develop comprehensive strategy to promote both disability entrepreneurship and disability owned business enterprises, including, but not limited to, necessary governmental or regulatory changes, the sharing of best practices between states and the private sector, and enrolling support industries from financial services to entrepreneurship trainers and more.
  • Train and supervise direct reports, which may include associates, and will include apprentices in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Apprenticeship Program.
  • Work with the policy and leadership team on nonpartisan voter guides and political coverage on disability issues. See www.VoteAbility.com.
  • Contribute as a senior member of the Policy Leadership Team, collaborating with federal counterpart to standardize approaches to issues, as well as multistate/federal practices.



Salary range $75k-$90k plus employer-paid health insurance, optional dental insurance, paid time off and holiday time, retirement matching and other benefits. The position will work remotely. We have a strong preference for the person to be located in Washington, DC or Los Angeles, but the successful candidate could potentially be based anywhere. However, the successful candidate should be prepared to travel for both collaboration and conferences. This is an exempt position, although we do provide courtesy vacation hours for any hours worked past 50.

To apply, please send your resume, cover letter and salary requirements to: HR@RespectAbility.org.

RespectAbility provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, veteran status or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, RespectAbility complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.



  • At least three years of high level experience in state or local government or advocacy.
  • Six or more years professional experience in business, nonprofit or government settings (can include fellowships). Three or more of these years should include engaging with government actors, non-profits or others on issues of public policy, especially from a wrong within state or local government
  • One-two years of people and program management experience.
  • Juris Doctor or Master’s Degree in Public Policy, Special Education, Vocational Rehabilitation or similar field strongly preferred, but is not required.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to interact with people of different backgrounds at a different level.
  • Passion for marginalized people and impatience with the status quo.
  • Understanding and experience in advocacy, communications and public policy, and work with policymakers on the same with pre-existing experience in disability policy a major plus.
  • Ability to work in broad coalitions in a nonpartisan capacity. Anticipated key partnerships will include state DD councils, Project SEARCH, APSE, United Spinal, Best Buddies, NDI, NOD, the Arc, and other disability groups.
  • Demonstrated experience with following and influencing the legislative and regulatory process on a state and/or local level. Familiarity with legislative and regulatory tracking services is a plus.
  • Demonstrated proficiency with the full suite of Microsoft Office program (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook).
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, access and inclusion, demonstrated by past professional, personal or volunteer efforts around people with disabilities, people of color, underserved communities, underrepresented groups, and other identities.
  • Organized self-starter with the ability to multi-task and work in a fast-paced environment.
  • Spanish language skills highly desirable but not required.
  • Connection to and experience with the disability community is a must as is some familiarity with the workforce and/or vocational rehabilitation areas.
  • Experience in working in vocational rehabilitation, special education or workforce a strong plus.
  • Organized and systematic research skills that recognize that Google and other search tools represent pieces of a research strategy, not an entire research strategy.
  • Must have empathy and patience and be extremely well organized. Training in empathetic connection is a plus.
  • Team player who is upbeat and excited to work in a new, growing and mission-driven organization.
Posted: 2022-01-06 Expires: 2022-02-05

Before you go...

Our free job seeker tools include alerts for new jobs, saving your favorites, optimized job matching, and more! Just enter your email below.

Share this job:

Director, Coalitions, Grassroots, and State Policies


Join us to start saving your Favorite Jobs!

Sign In Create Account
Powered ByCareerCast