Senior Associate, Water Equity (Oakland, CA)

This full time position, available immediately, is an exciting opportunity to join the staff at PolicyLink. PolicyLink is a national research and action institute that works to advance policies at the federal, state, and local level to achieve economic and social equity by Lifting Up What Works®. Please visit our website at:

Position Overview 

We are seeking a skilled policy researcher, effective coalition builder and skilled policy advocate who brings experience and passion around issues of racial justice, climate resilience and water infrastructure to join our Water Equity and Climate Resilience efforts. This associate would 1) convene and staff the newly forming Water Equity Caucus, 2) provide PolicyLink leadership to the federal Clean Water for All Campaign; and 3) develop program-related strategies and goals that link to the organization's results framework.

PolicyLink is focused on this Water Equity result:

Ensure that the population of 100M who live at 200 percent of poverty or below who face water vulnerabilities can have their voice, experiences, and challenges meaningfully represented in water protection efforts; benefit from climate resilient water management; gain access to clean, affordable water; and win jobs and contracts in designing, building, operating and maintaining green water infrastructure systems.

Climate Resilience and Water Equity Caucus. The associate will provide policy research and capacity-building support to a peer-learning caucus that brings together a broad coalition of frontline organizations working to address access to clean, affordable water and storm water protections; defend water sources from toxic pollutants; and build access for the next generation of people of color workers and businesses to design, build, operate and maintain green water infrastructure. The caucus will build capacity of these water equity leaders to advance local, state, and federal policy that drive new investments in their communities in equitable and climate resilient ways.

Clean Water for All. The associate would also work on research and policy development to support our engagement in the Clean Water for All Campaign (CWA) where PolicyLink co-chairs the Coalition Building committee and serves on the Steering, Federal Policy, Communications and Infrastructure Committees. CWA focuses on: working to pass an infrastructure bill that invests new federal resources in clean water green infrastructure; defending rollbacks of EPA and clean water law; and protecting source water from toxic pollution. The associate will staff committee efforts, draft communications to the field on advocacy efforts, analyze policy, and research equity-focused aspects of the work.

This position is an excellent opportunity for someone who is eager to work in a creative, fast-moving environment to advance an equity agenda. The Senior Associate will report to the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives.

Responsibilities would include:

  • Implementing and informing the research agenda for the Water Equity initiative which focuses on understanding current issues at the intersection of race, place, climate threats, and access to clean, affordable water and storm water management, and identifying and advancing effective and winnable strategies for equitable water investments.
  • Working with team members to implement a suite of offerings (peer-learning opportunities, trainings, webinars, office hours, etc.) to build capacity for water equity as a part of the Water Equity initiative.
  • Conducting qualitative research and data analysis and authoring research briefs, analyses, and articles, including comparative analyses and equity profiles/research reports focused on particular regions/communities.
  • Providing research and technPolicyLink is committed to maintaining a diverse, multicultural working environment.ical assistance to local partners and to inform place-based engagements.
  • Working cross-functionally to solve problems and implement changes.
  • Maintaining an up-to-date knowledge of equity-related theory and practice (e.g. legislation, regulations, policies, procedures and political trends) related to water and climate-resilience.
  • Writing pieces of policy or law; developing strategy and utilizing levers for policy change.
  • Facilitating internal and external processes to address structural racism; moving from talk to action to results with knowledge and sensitivity.
  • Building, maintaining, repairing, and growing partnerships that can successfully advance water equity results.

Desired Qualifications

  • Advanced degree in urban planning/policy, public policy, economics, or related social science and at least five years of research or policy-related experience, ideally in a fast-paced work environment characterized by multiple ongoing projects.
  • Experience in urban planning and development, infrastructure finance, environmental justice, economic and business development, or place-based initiatives, including substantive experience in an area of water practice (e.g., targeted employment and workforce training efforts, entrepreneurship and small business development, disaster recovery, brownfields, campaigns to address clean water, etc.).
  • A commitment to advancing racial justice and economic and social equity, experience working with low-income communities of color to develop and implement solutions, and a well-developed practice of analyzing the equity impacts of policies, activities, and decisions on race, class, and other group identities.
  • Self-starter with good time management skills and ability to effectively work on multiple projects and meet aggressive deadlines.
  • Strong writing and editing skills, including the ability to produce clear, rigorous, accessible, policy-relevant documents; and familiarity with research methods and design including interviews, surveys, case studies, and content analysis.
  • Demonstrated public speaking and presentation abilities.
  • Willingness to travel (estimated one to two trips per month).


Send Cover Letter and Résumé to:

PolicyLink – Senior Associate, Water Equity Search Committee
1438 Webster Street, Suite 303
Oakland, CA 94612


Fax to 510-587-1113 or e-mail to (include subject line: "[your name]

(Senior Associate, Water Equity–Oakland).  Position open until filled. 

Please note: No phone calls please. Only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

Competitive salary commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits including paid vacation, health, vision and dental insurance, and 401(k) retirement plan.


Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.