Youth Policy Manager


Title:  Youth Policy Manager            
Type:  Full-Time
Supervisor:  Deputy Executive Director, Programs
Department:  Policy
Location:  New York City
Last Day to Apply:  Applications will be reviewed immediately and will be accepted until the position is filled.

The Drug Policy Alliance has an immediate opening for a Youth Policy Manager reporting directly to the Deputy Executive Director, Programs.

Drug Policy Alliance

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the nation's leading organization of people who believe the war on drugs is doing more harm than good.  In its vision of the future, individuals will not be punished simply for what they put into their bodies, only for harm done to others.  DPA fights for drug policies based on science, compassion, health and human rights and seeks to promote dialogue on cutting-edge drug policy issues around the country. Its work spans issues from ending marijuana prohibition and promoting more honest and effective drug education to reducing the many harms of drug use and drug laws.  DPA works to ensure that our nation’s drug policies no longer arrest, incarcerate, disenfranchise and otherwise harm millions of nonviolent people, especially people of color.

DPA’s work encompasses a wide array of policy issues, including:

  • Sentencing reform and alternatives to incarceration
  • Harm reduction (HIV, hepatitis C and overdose prevention)
  • Ending marijuana prohibition, marijuana decriminalization, medical marijuana
  • Drug education, youth and drugs
  • Race and the drug war
  • Effective drug treatment
  • Civil liberties and rights
  • International drug control
  • Alternatives to prohibition and pragmatic steps for ending the drug war

In the last 14 years, DPA has expanded from its New York headquarters to include eight offices, 60 plus staff, an annual operating budget of approximately $12 million, 35,000 dues-paying members and more than 250,000 online subscribers.  It has a solid track record of success at the local, state, and federal levels and consistent visibility in prominent media and policy circles.  (For more information, see

DPA & Youth Policy

DPA is the nation’s leading organization promoting alternatives to failed, punitive drug policies. Our work includes advocacy directed at young people, parents and educators. DPA supports honest, reality-based youth drug education rather than approaches based primarily in fear and misinformation. We also support alternatives to zero tolerance policies and drug testing in schools, which are unrealistic, ineffective and even harmful approaches to student drug use. DPA advances these reality-based policies through widely-disseminated publications (most prominently Safety First and Beyond Zero Tolerance), advocacy within our five resident states and other jurisdictions, and extensive media advocacy.

The Position

The Youth Policy Manager is a new full-time position supported by a multi-year grant. The Manager is responsible for coordinating DPA’s advocacy in the area of young people and drugs, which ranges from drug education and prevention to drug effects, juvenile justice, school discipline and child welfare. The Manager will deepen our policy positions, advance key relationships, create and disseminate materials, help foster model drug education and prevention programs (particularly in New York) and further integrate a youth policy perspective into the organization’s overall goals and direction.

Primary Responsibilities Include:

  • Shape and document a vision for DPA’s youth policy work consistent with the organization’s overall mission, philosophy, and strategic approach;
  • Create an annual work plan detailing goals and projects; articulate multi-year goals to fulfill the terms of funding that underwrite this position and the expansion of DPA’s youth policy work;
  • Serve as the leader of DPA’s internal Youth Policy Issue Team, convening and facilitating regular meetings of colleagues, making presentations to other staff, encouraging consistency of information and messaging among colleagues, and developing youth policy sessions at DPA’s biennial International Drug Policy Reform Conference;
  • Advance and coordinate ongoing youth policy work in New York City and State, serving as liaison to drug counselors in the NYC Department of Education (DOE), leveraging existing relationships with DOE and the Partnership at to influence school-based drug policies in NYC, and advising municipalities (such as Albany and Ithaca) on a coordinated approach to drug policy;
  • Support the development of model youth drug education, prevention and other programs in DPA resident states and elsewhere;
  • Coordinate closely with Publications staff on the writing, production and distribution of print and online youth policy publications (such as fact sheets, study guides, sample curricula and reports); curate DPA’s youth policy-themed materials online;
  • Represent DPA at regional, national and international conferences, symposia and other events;
  • Serve as a primary spokesperson on media stories related to youth policy; coordinate closely with the Media Team to help expand DPA’s visibility in this area;
  • Coordinate closely with Development other staff to enhance DPA’s youth policy fundraising efforts; build and maintain relationships with key foundation officers and major donors; serve as a key liaison to DPA’s current multi-year youth policy funder;
  • Recruit and oversee interns, manage consultants as necessary and steward funding from DPA’s grants program directed toward youth policy-themed initiatives.


The ideal candidate will have:

  • Minimum of 5 years’ experience in the drug education, juvenile justice, youth advocacy and/or public school fields;
  • Experience planning and executing successful projects or campaigns under modest direct supervision;
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with multiple target audiences, including parents, educators and young people;
  • Excellent writing, speaking and analytic skills; advocacy writing experience including some published articles, op-eds and/or reports;
  • Enthusiastic support for DPA’s agenda and a strong commitment to  DPA’s mission and vision;
  • Strong interpersonal skills, flexibility, creativity and a good sense of humor;
  • Advanced degree in public policy, social work, education or related field preferred but not required.

Terms of Employment

This position requires the candidate to live in the New York Metropolitan area. Telecommuting will not be allowed. Some travel required.


DPA offers a competitive salary, based on experience, and a benefits package including health, dental, long-term disability and life insurance; a generous 403(b) plan; and 25 days paid time off.


Applications will be reviewed immediately and will be accepted until the position is filled.

Application Process

Please submit a cover letter with your resume and salary requirements by email to hr [at] drugpolicy [dot] org.  Reference:  (Youth Policy Manager) in the subject line – or by mail to:

Lina Mingoia
Human Resources Manager
Re:  (Youth Policy Manager)
Drug Policy Alliance
131 West 33th Street
15th Floor
New York, NY 10001

The Drug Policy Alliance is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women, people of color, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply. We are particularly interested in hiring those who have been adversely affected by the war on drugs.

Note: Only those candidates under consideration will be contacted.