Now Hiring: Senior Associate

SSTI is seeking a full-time policy and outreach specialist in Madison, Wisconsin, to support its knowledge-sharing and technical assistance efforts among state transportation agencies. Our staff works closely with Smart Growth America in Washington, DC, and other leading transportation professionals across the country.

Because we are based at the University of Wisconsin, we offer competitive retirement and benefits, including access to University services, discounted bus and bikeshare packages, and generous vacation time. We actively support work-life balance. We are looking for thoughtful candidates that have a passion for making a difference and are willing to learn.

Apply by June 22

Job Summary

The State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI) is a joint project of COWS and Smart Growth America (SGA). It promotes transportation practices that advance environmental sustainability and equitable economic development, while maintaining high standards of governmental efficiency and transparency.

SSTI operates in three main ways:

  1. By supporting a community of practice where leaders of state transportation agencies can learn together and share experiences as they implement innovative smart transportation policies.
  2. By providing applied research and direct technical assistance to transportation agencies.
  3. By sharing resources and best practices with the wider transportation community.

As a nationally recognized think-and-do tank, COWS promotes “high road” solutions to social problems. These treat shared growth and opportunity, environmental sustainability, and resilient democratic institutions as necessary and achievable complements in human development.

SSTI staff are based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and report to SSTI’s managing director, while working closely with SGA staff in Washington, DC. SSTI is currently undertaking a variety of projects that involve technical assistance and knowledge-sharing to help modernize policy and practice at state and local transportation agencies. Successful applicants will be expected to contribute to the success of these efforts.

SGA is a national non-profit organization, headquartered in Washington, DC, that envisions a country where no matter where you live, or who you are, you can enjoy living in a place that is healthy, prosperous, and resilient. It empowers communities through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership.

Responsibilities Include


  • Help develop and participate in virtual and in-person meetings, workshops, and training opportunities focused on transportation reform practices.
  • Produce content for the SSTI website publicizing our work, as well as information from other sources.
  • Provide other policy and communication support as needed, including development of webinars, publications, reports, and other online content.


  • Help provide technical assistance for state agencies and other clients in concert with SSTI’s contracted technical assistance providers.
  • Assist in original research projects, including data analysis, writing reports or technical memos, and producing visual materials.
  • Serve as a secondary point of contact to partners and clients, as needed.


  • Assist the managing director in tracking projects, proposals, and other deadlines.
  • Assist the managing director in identifying and approaching potential funders, preparing proposals, and reporting to funders.

Institutional Statement on Diversity

Diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation for UW-Madison. We value the contributions of each person and respect the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinion enrich the university community. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, outreach, and diversity as inextricably linked goals.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison fulfills its public mission by creating a welcoming and inclusive community for people from every background – people who as students, faculty, and staff serve Wisconsin and the world.

For more information on diversity and inclusion on campus, please visit: Diversity and Inclusion



Bachelor’s in transportation planning, civil engineering, public policy, or a related field is preferred.

Required Skills

  • A firm understanding of “high road” or “smart growth” transportation strategies (equitable, sustainable, and democratic).
  • A high degree of professionalism and the ability to deal effectively and diplomatically with researchers, staff, partners, and clients, including but not limited to leaders at state Departments of Transportation.
  • The ability to grasp complex policies or technical concepts and translate them for a general audience.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Independent problem-solving and time management skills.

Preferred Experience and Knowledge

  • A basic understanding of data management and analysis, including the use of GIS for spatial analysis.
  • Experience in project management and budget tracking.
  • Experience in organizational strategic thinking and fundraising.


Minimum $50,000 ANNUAL (12 months)
Depending on Qualifications

Learn more and apply