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Director of Public Affairs

Ascend Indiana’s vision is for every Indiana employer to have access to the skilled workforce necessary to thrive, and for every Indiana citizen to have the opportunity to pursue a meaningful career path. Ascend is a catalyst across industry sectors to connect the supply of skilled talent to demand from employers. An initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), Ascend collaborates with corporate, education, philanthropic, and community partners, and is well-positioned to play a leadership role in addressing Central Indiana’s workforce challenges. 

The Director of Public Affairs will manage the development and implementation of Ascend’s fundraising and communications strategies. This team member will also support research and policy analysis activities. The primary development responsibilities include executing a strategic plan, creating grant application and reporting materials, and supporting relationship development. The communications function includes the integration and implementation of a broad range of public relations activities to increase public awareness and brand reputation. Research and public policy activities will include the development of annual research plans, reports, and evaluation strategies. Finally, the Director of Public Affairs will support the CEO on high priority projects and research as assigned.

Interested applicants are asked to send a resume and cover letter to Caitlin Sheesley-Brown (

Job Responsibilities

Drive, manage, and monitor development efforts

  • Manage the development and execution of a fundraising strategic plan
  • Develop grant applications and required reports
  • Develop, refine, and maintain fundraising materials
  • Maintain a database of key corporate and philanthropic funders
  • Support the maintenance of ongoing relationships with major donors  
  • Work with the President & CEO to identify and pursue new funding sources

Develop and implement an integrated strategic communications plan

  • Lead the development of a marketing and public relations strategic plan
  • Manage the organization’s website and social media presence
  • Actively engage, cultivate and manage materials for press relationships to ensure coverage surrounding programs, events, public announcements, and other projects
  • Create relevant communications materials to support program launch 

Support the development of a research and public policy agenda

  • Conduct research on the current and future national, state, and local workforce development landscape
  • Provide high quality, objective analysis of local, state and national workforce development policies
  • Track and summarize issues affecting the workforce development landscape including issues around higher education and career attainment
  • Provide insight on how to further policies to best align the supply of talent with demand from employers
  • Identify policy barriers to achieving organizational objectives
  • Develop and maintain a research and public policy database
  • Assist in the preparation of informational materials to communicate policy issues to partners and community stakeholders

Build successful project management processes

  • Develop weekly, quarterly, and yearly plans to achieve organizational objectives
  • Manage and report against goals, priorities, and objectives to the CEO
  • Provide additional support to the CEO as needed

Minimum Requirements

  • 3.3 minimum GPA from either an undergraduate or graduate institution
  • At least 3 years of experience in development, marketing, or a related field
  • Excellent analytical, project management, and building systems skills
  • Demonstrated ethical handling of confidential information
  • Ability to work collaboratively within a team
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Suite required 
  • A detail-oriented self-starter who can be given a need or objective, break it down into executable pieces, identify questions that need to be asked, gather priorities and requirements, set and manage to milestones and then execute effectively.


  • Manager: President & CEO, Ascend Indiana 
  • Office location: Ascend Indiana, downtown Indianapolis
  • Work week: 40 hours/week
  • Travel: Statewide
  • Applicants must submit a resume, cover letter, writing sample, and salary history to Caitlin Brown