State Policy Associate - Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO)

Start Date (Earliest):

Summary of the Organization:

The Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities ( (LEO) at the University of Notre Dame is a research center dedicated to reducing poverty and improving lives in the United States through evidence-based programs and policies. We are dedicated to…

  • Partnership - We thoughtfully engage with partners and commit to a collaborative process on this road to creating and using evidence. We believe the best solutions lie with those closest to the problem, and that our partners are the ones that know best the needs of the communities they serve. We embed that belief into every step of the evidence-to-impact journey.
  • Rigor - We believe service, philanthropy, and public policy must be aligned with what actually helps people the most. Our partisanship is to those in poverty. We produce rigorous research because we believe an accurate answer, whether inspiring or challenging, makes us all better.
  • Dignity - We prioritize the dignity of every person with a preferential option for those struggling in poverty and with awareness of the additional struggles facing marginalized communities. We approach our work with respect to those participating in research and structure our work in service to those individuals. Our research serves people, not the other way around.
  • Hope - The complexities of poverty can be overwhelming, but we don’t respond by believing that solving poverty is a hopeless endeavor. We respond by building evidence to uncover solutions that reflect an environment of opportunity for all people. We diligently pursue what works to reduce poverty with a hopeful confidence that evidence enlightening action will alter the path ahead.

Summary and Responsibilities of the Role: 

We are looking for someone who wants to change the face of poverty in our country and believes that impacting poverty is possible. The State Policy Associate’s top priorities will be:

  • Driving forward the work of LEO to advise state policymakers on evidenced-based strategies in LEO’s core policy areas of criminal justice, homelessness, health, education, and economic mobility. The SPA will work directly with policymakers sharing LEO’s research and coordinating advocacy efforts to advance evidence-based policymaking.
  • Developing policy briefs synthesizing the research from LEO’s randomized controlled trials and associated research.
  • Drafting and moving forward the development of model legislation for states to adopt to support evidence-use and evidence-building.
  • Partnering with state policy associates and advocacy groups to convene key stakeholders, impacting state policy such as legislators, agency heads, and providers.
  • Other duties as assigned to support a new unit.

Please note: This is a five-year, limited term position. Contingent on funding, the position may be extended.

Please note:  LEO will consider both in person and fully remote candidates



  • A deep commitment to the mission of both LEO and the University
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 3-4 years of relevant experience
  • Ability to understand the policymaker perspective and drive forward LEO’s evidence-based programs with state and local policymakers
  • Ability to work independently and translate from the abstract to the concrete
  • Strong written and oral communication skills; ability to communicate directly with external partners about our work in non-technical terms
  • Ability to support research and drafting of legislation and regulatory language for state entities
  • Strong collaborative skills; ability to build key relationships with external partners
  • Adaptability and flexibility


  • Masters in Public Administration, Public Affairs, or Public Policy or equivalent years of experience is a statehouse