Midwest Policy Manager
Job Type

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is the nation’s largest trails organization—with a grassroots community more than 1 million strong—dedicated to building a nation connected by trails, reimagining public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors. Founded in 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's national office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. For more information, visit www.railstotrails.org. Connect with RTC @railstotrails on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Job Summary

The Midwest Policy Manager will advocate for policies and funding at the state and local levels to accelerate the development of trail and active transportation networks in the Midwest states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin). Tasks will include building and maintaining coalitions, communicating with partner organizations and legislative and administrative decision-makers to generate political will, and directly advocating for funding and policies to make it safe and convenient to walk and bike. The Manager will closely collaborate with both national policy staff and Midwest field staff to deliver on RTC’s policy goals and support trail development goals in the Midwest , including investment strategies for TrailNation projects, and to share key lessons with the trails movement nationally. The core geography of RTC’s Midwest region is Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Job Location

The position will be located in our Midwest Region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin). Preference may be given to candidates who can visit the Midwest Regional Office in Yellow Springs, Ohio, on a regular basis and/or who are based in other strategic locations (i.e. a state capital) in our Midwest Region. Depending on proximity to Yellow Springs, the position will be eligible either for daily telecommuting (with periodic in-person visits) or a hybrid work schedule in accordance with RTC’s policies (currently two days per week in office). Expectations of frequency of office visits will be contingent on the distance of the applicant’s residence to the Yellow Springs office. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for all staff. 

The position provides a minimum annual salary of $67,000 (benchmarked to Dayton, Ohio). Selected candidate’s pay will be adjusted to reflect their location.

Job Duties

Job duties include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Work closely with RTC policy staff and the Midwest Regional Director to retain and grow a broad-based network of Midwest community leaders and partner organizations that support the adoption of trail and active transportation policies at federal , state and local levels, with a strategic eye to prioritizing critical unmet needs of the trails and active transportation movement in the Midwest. Key partners may include advocates for trails, walking, biking, public health, housing, and economic development as well as local business leaders and elected officials.
  • Work with partners to secure state and local policies that advance trail networks, especially public funding for connected trails and active transportation infrastructure. 
  • Influence policy leaders in Midwest states and identify specific opportunities to secure funding and progressive policies for trail and active transportation networks. The position is responsible for both state legislation as well as effective state implementation of federal and state programs in the region. 
  • Cultivate local ties where RTC has nationally significant trail network projects and support development and execution of investment strategies for TrailNation projects in Midwest states. 
  • Coordinate with RTC’s nationwide field team and partners to influence state and local policy nationwide and proactively share lessons learned from Midwestern work with RTC partners nationally.
  • Work with RTC’s Policy Team to develop and implement strategies to influence key Congressional representatives from the Midwest as necessary to impact critical federal policy decisions relating to trails and active transportation.
  • Work with RTC’s Advocacy Coordinator and RTC’s Communications Team to inform and engage RTC’s partner organizations, members, and supporters in the Midwest with locally relevant messages. Communication includes RTC’s social media channels and email distribution, earned media and partner amplification.   
  • Travel to strategically important states and cities to build organizational relationships, assist partners in obtaining tools and developing strategies, problem-solve for policy campaigns and represent RTC at events and conferences. This may include work outside the Midwest region when critical organizational needs arise.  


  • This position reports to both the Director of State-level Policy (primary supervisor) and the Midwest Regional Director (secondary supervisor).
  • This position does not have any supervisory responsibilities.



Basic Qualifications and Personal Attributes

  • A minimum of five years of relevant policy or advocacy experience
  • A Bachelor’s degree -- ideally in a relevant field such as urban studies, environmental studies or political science – is preferred. A post-graduate degree – such as in urban/transportation planning, public policy/administration, or law – is additionally desirable. Work experience can substitute for education. 
  • Experience with movement-based organizing, including organizing coalitions at the state and local level and working collaboratively with advocacy organizations, or political campaigns
  • Success in advancing legislative policy initiatives
  • A working understanding of transportation policies
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills and time management skills
  • Confident and strong public speaker
  • Passion for promoting use of trails, walking, and bicycling
  • Must have valid driver’s license
  • Up to 25% Travel required

Work Environment

  • Normal office setting with low to moderate noise level.

Employer’s Right: RTC reserves the right to revise, change, or reclassify this job description at any time in accordance with RTC’s business needs. This job description is not an implied contract.

Commitment to Diversity

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy seeks diverse, passionate, and qualified individuals who want to make a difference in the world. RTC is an equal-opportunity employer. We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, age, and other legally protected characteristics.

If you need reasonable accommodation because of a disability for any part of the employment process, please e-mail careers@railstotrails.org and provide the nature of your request and your contact information.

Salary Description
$67,000 minimum based on Dayton, Ohio Location