Director, Public Policy

Basic Information

Date posted: 01/17/2019

Location: Arlington, VA (USA)

Posted by: American Foundation for the Blind

Salary: Commensurate with experience

Contact Information


1401 South Clark Street, #730, Arlington, VA 22202


More Details


Education and Experience: Juris Doctorate and 5 to 7 years professional experience in legislative or legal advocacy, analysis, and interpretation or Master’s Degree from an accredited college or university in public policy/administration or political science and 7+ years of experience in legislative or legal advocacy, analysis, and interpretation.

Must possess a full understanding of how the inner workings of the three branches of government potentially impact AFB’s work and the systems and services available for people who are blind. Experience should include policy advocacy, development, or implementation.

Must possess demonstrated and thorough understanding of how legislation is drafted and progresses through Congress, how to conduct federal agency administrative advocacy, how and when to respond to notices of proposed rule-making and when litigation outcomes will shift the socio-political landscape that interfaces with AFB’s priorities.

Experience advocating for disability issues, networking, and leveraging external resources to achieve public policy outcomes is required. Must possess strong oral and written communication skills, expertise with the broad range of blindness issues and policy. Must possess an understanding of the systems and services available for people who are blind and the ability to apply that that knowledge to affect policy and change.

Highly desired skills include ability to facilitate interdisciplinary cooperation among professionals with widely diverse backgrounds; capacity to speak up, lead discussion, drive the direction of a meeting or conversation, and negotiate conflict and build consensus. Excellent planning skills required, including the ability to multi-task sequence, plan, organize and handle multiple projects and deadlines.

Must be proficient in the Microsoft Office Suite.

Job Description

The American Foundation for the Blind is seeking a Director, Public Policy to work in its DC Metro Office located in Arlington, VA. AFB’s Public Policy Center collaborates with policy makers in Congress and the Executive Branch to ensure Americans with vision loss have equal rights and opportunities to fully participate in society. The position reports to the Chief Public Policy and Research Officer. The successful candidate will lead the formulation and implementation of AFB’s public policy agenda to create systems change and positively impact people who are blind in the areas of employment, aging, and education.

  • Provide leadership, direction, and counsel for the development and implementation of AFB’s public policy initiatives and goals. Analyze current public policies, issues and legislation, judicial processes, federal and state government operations, and AFB’s evidence-based research to identify, develop, promote, and implement public policy solutions that improve the independence and economic security of people who are blind or with low vision. Follow and report back on legislation as it is drafted and progresses through Congress, conduct federal agency administrative advocacy work on AFB’s behalf and determine how and when to respond to notices of proposed rule-making. Discern when legal cases may shift the socio-political landscape that interfaces with AFB’s priorities and assesses the potential impact on AFB public policy.
  • Develop and maintain public policy expertise and position AFB as a thought leader regarding the employment, aging, and education of people who are blind or with low vision. Maintain awareness of developments in technology, transportation and other relevant sectors that impact the employment, aging and education focus areas. Keep current with developments in policy research, legislation, legal action, regulatory issues, and academic and professional materials relevant to AFB’s policy and research work. Serve as subject matter expert and represent AFB as speaker, panelist, convener, and/or attendee at AFB’s Leadership and other conferences and forums.
  • Create and foster a network of strong relationships with thought leaders, influencers, and stakeholders. Participate in coalitions, task forces, committees, and advisory boards to coordinate action by constituents and opinion leaders in furtherance of AFB’s public policy and research agendas. In coordination with AFB’s Community Engagement group, use social media platforms to monitor developments, maintain relationships, and share AFB’s policy and research priorities.
  • Serve as one of AFB’s key representatives with the U.S. Congress and Executive Branch agencies, responsible for leading, coordinating, and ensuring timely, accurate, substantive, and appropriate oral and written messaging. Consistently achieve significant milestones towards accomplishment of specific legislative, regulatory, legal, or other public policy goals articulated in AFB’s strategic and annual plans and initiatives.
  • Identify issues and opportunities for potential AFB research based on current and potential developments in public policy.
  • Share public policy expertise both internally and externally to inform AFB staff and stakeholders about relevant public policy developments. Prepare and distribute to appropriate internal and external constituents written comments on new and pending legislation and proposed regulations; inform staff on legislative and blindness developments in the field; and develop, maintain, and disseminate forecasting reports to inform AFB’s work in the areas of employment, aging, and education.
  • Share information with AFB staff that may lead to revenue opportunities in research, AFB Consulting, or development. Identify potential grants, funding streams, or similar opportunities to partner with others and inform AFB staff for appropriate follow-up.
  • Analyze and respond to proposed new rules from multiple federal agencies including but not limited to SSA, RSA, Labor, AbilityOne, and Education that promote opportunities for a better economic future for people who are blind and with low vision.
  • As a key member of the Public Policy and Research team, serve as a mentor and project lead as needed. Support staff in completing their specific responsibilities and contribute to the team’s accomplishment of project goals. Mentor and supervise those in the internship program. Mentor AFB staff in other departments to develop their knowledge, skills and abilities regarding public policy strategy and initiatives.
  • Perform other duties and special projects as assigned.

No Telephone Calls Please.