Join Our Team: Institute Director

Senior Leadership Position
Concord, CA Preferred/Remote Possible

Compensation: Annual Salary $80-90K; Paid Vacation; 13 Paid Holidays; Paid Medical & Family Leave; 100% Employer-Sponsored Medical, Vision & Dental Insurance; Pension

Application Process: Please submit a cover letter explaining your interest in and qualifications for the position and a résumé in PDF format to:

Please include “Institute Director Application” as the subject line.


About The Institute

Founded in 2008, the National Institute for Workers’ Rights (the Institute) advances workers’ rights through research, thought leadership, and education for policymakers, advocates, and the public. Working in partnership with the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), the Institute has developed a strong programmatic profile, including our initiatives on forced arbitration of employment claims and exploitation of workers in the gig economy. Leveraging the strengths of the Institute-NELA collaboration, we are ready to make an even greater impact with cutting-edge thought leadership and robust engagement with the wider workers’ rights community, while expanding our strong base of donor support.

About The Position

The Institute seeks an innovative and highly motivated Director to be part of our leadership team and guide strategic expansion of our initiatives and resources. You will take our programs to the next level and lead development of a detailed, long-range vision for an expanding body of Institute work.

In many ways, similar to the role of an Executive Director, the Institute Director will have the opportunity to be thoughtful and creative in the development of new programs, while balancing big picture thinking and nuts-and-bolts implementation of a sustainable growth plan. This is a new position and will make an immediate impact in the strategic direction for the Institute. In addition to expanding the Institute’s programmatic profile, the Institute Director will support relationship-building with funders and donors, and support and supervise our Paul H. Tobias Attorney Fellow – a recent law school graduate committed to advancing the rights of workers, embodying the spirit of NELA’s founder, Paul H. Tobias.

This is a full-time, exempt position. The Institute Director will have the option of being based in our Washington, DC office in the AFL-CIO Building, working remotely, or being resident in our Concord, California office. General hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. local, with a paid lunch hour.

NELA has remote work staff, and the Institute can support a similar option.

The Institute Director reports directly to and is under the general supervision of the Executive Director.

Job Responsibilities

Program Development & Implementation

  • In collaboration with the Executive Director and Director of Strategy & Operations, develop the organization’s strategic vision and big-picture direction for Institute programs, including annual and multi-year planning.
  • Lead the development of content areas for Institute thought leadership, and research, initiate, and maintain organizational partnerships within the workers’ rights community.
  • Prepare annual program budget projections and requests, and manage programmatic revenue and expenses throughout the year, pursuant to the annual implementation plan.
  • Partner with the communications team to publicize and distribute the Institute’s work.
  • Collaborate with both the Legislative & Public Policy Director, and Program Manager of NELA on an annual implementation plan to achieve the goals of the Institute’s strategic plan, including a comprehensive timeline of activities.


  • Lead the recruitment, hiring, professional development, management, and evaluation of the Paul H. Tobias Attorney Fellow.


  • Partner with the Development Director in developing and sustaining relationships with funders and donors, including developing grant proposals and other donor solicitations; exploring co-funded partnerships with other organizations; creating program-related communications and reports for donors, funders, and other constituencies; and direct fundraising. 


  • Occasional travel is required (subject to health and safety considerations), including over evenings and weekends, to NELA’s Annual Convention in late June, to Boards of Directors meetings, and other events as needed throughout the year.

What You Bring

We welcome the opportunity to explore the possibilities you could bring to this position. Please do not exclude yourself from applying if you do not have every skill or experience on this list.

  • Passion for the Institute’s mission and demonstrated experience in workers’ rights are essential.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to write for varying audiences.
  • Superb analytical skills and the ability to incorporate data into strategic decisions and planning.
  • Exceptional organizational skills, including attention to detail, follow-through, producing a high-quality work product, and meeting deadlines.
  • Law degree or experience in a legal environment preferred, active bar membership a plus.
  • Background in public policy, labor or community organizing, and research related to workers’ rights (or in several of these areas) are of interest.
  • Minimum of three years of experience in leadership or management roles; nonprofit experience a plus.
  • Experience with expanding meaningful diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within an organization is a plus.
  • Enthusiasm for and experience with organizational fundraising and fund development are preferred.
  • Proficiency in MS Word, Excel, and Outlook preferred. Familiarity with MS PowerPoint and Google docs desirable.

Hiring Process & Timeline

  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis with an intention to complete the interview process and bring our new team member on board as soon as practicable.
  • As you advance through the process, steps include: one 30-minute introductory phone conversation; one 75- to 90-minute online interview with the hiring team; and optional follow-up conversations or emails to expand on or clarify topics raised during the interview.
  • Finalists will be asked to provide four professional references and to create a presentation that demonstrates the ability to communicate effectively about workers’ rights issues.
  • Final offers will be sent in writing.

The National Institute for Workers’ Rights (Institute) and National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) are equal opportunity employers. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The Institute and NELA encourage applications from all persons without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

The Institute and NELA make every effort to assure that our recruitment and employment practices provide all persons, including persons with disabilities, with full opportunities for employment in all positions.  We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities. If you are a person with a disability and need assistance applying, e-mail or call (415) 296-7629. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information to arrange an accommodation for the interview process.


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