Design Manager, Safety Net Code for America

Graphic DesignCA, US, Remote2 months ago

Code for America believes government can work for the people, by the people, in the 21st century. We build open source technology and organize a network of people dedicated to making government services simple, effective, and easy to use.

Our employees build and transform government services, making them so good they inspire change. We merge the best parts of technology, non-profit, and government to help support the people who need it most.

With a focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and deep empathy for both government and the people the government serves, we’re building a movement of motivated change agents driven by meaningful results and lasting impact. At Code for America you will contribute to meaningful work while learning and developing in a supportive and flexible environment.

Our compensation and benefits are holistic and thoughtfully curated to represent our employees and our mission. Come help us drive real generational change that lasts.

We are looking for a Designer Manager to join our Safety Net team. 

The social safety net is a network of largely disconnected supports that aim to promote the health and wellbeing of children, adults, and seniors—and to help them live with agency and dignity.

The majority of Americans have turned to at least one safety net benefit program at some point in their life for healthcare, food assistance, or economic support in times of need. But for too many people, the process of applying for and maintaining safety net benefits requires navigating a system with numerous barriers that push them further away from basic needs like food and healthcare. 

The vision for our safety net program is to redesign how every eligible person in America accesses safety net benefits (Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, LIHEAP, WIC and other benefits programs).

Our goal is to build a human-centered social safety net that guarantees the needs of clients are put first. It ensures that when individuals or families need help, it is easily accessible. It provides clarity when there is confusion.

Most of all, when someone applies for benefits they are met with relief rather than friction. We are currently doing this in Minnesota where we’re building – one integrated online benefits application for all major benefits programs in the state. Read more about our Integrated Benefits program here.


As a design leader at Code for America, you will help the organization build products and digital services that transform the way government delivers services to communities in need. In this role, you’ll work with a multidisciplinary team of designers, researchers, engineers, and policy experts to create design solutions that are inclusive, accessible, and easy for everyone to use.

Your designs will inspire government to serve everyone with dignity and respect. You’ll find creative, yet practical, ways to meet people’s needs without introducing more trauma and stress. You’ll generate new ideas and prototype them quickly, crafting intuitive user interfaces and delivering impact at scale.

You’ll work directly on policy implementation with government stakeholders and community organizations across the country. Finally, you’ll take a client-centered, radically inclusive, iterative, and data-driven approach to your work.

Your designs will be used by millions of people in need and demonstrate that design can create the conditions for generational, systemic change while also delivering immediate material value to communities.

As a Design Manager on the Integrated Benefits team, you will take a lead role in design strategy, support other designers, play a key role in growing the service design team, and help us achieve our goal of transforming government services and policy for those who rely on them most.


As a manager at Code for America, you will manage multiple designers on the service design team who work across our safety net and criminal justice portfolios. You will collaborate with other design and research managers to grow our team, mentor other designers, contribute to team culture, and define best practices for doing design with respect and dignity.

This role may be remote or based in San Francisco, and reports to the Service Design Director. 


You’re an ideal candidate if:

  • You have an equity-centered approach to design focused on minimizing harm, engaging with people impacted, and checking personal biases and assumptions.
  • You’re passionate about using your skills to push for systemic change and advocate for people who rely on government services.
  • You are confident at leading design strategy throughout the end-to-end, iterative design process. 
  • You love to design and facilitate group codesign sessions and workshops.
  • You have experience conducting evaluative design research and usability testing.
  • You have experience in the justice system, receiving SNAP (food stamps), or being enrolled in other social safety net programs (welfare, WIC, TANF, or food banks).



  • Lead design strategy for our Integrated Benefits products.
  • Collaborate with designers working on the Integrated Benefits team
  • Facilitate collaborative design strategy sessions
  • Own the design and research roadmap, working closely with cross-functional partners in program and product management
  • Plan and participate in user research to evaluate your designs and spot new opportunities
  • Manage designers working on other products and help grow our design practice
  • Work with our design practice group to improve our practices and standards
  • Design consultation and training with government stakeholders who want to adopt a human centered approach to their work.
  • Design and facilitate participatory design workshops with impacted communities, government partners, and our local volunteer Brigade networks.



  • 6+ years of experience in product, interaction, user experience, or service design
  • Experience managing, coaching, or mentoring other designers
  • A portfolio of relevant design work with strong examples of your work, your design process, and your role
  • Familiarity with common industry design and collaboration tools such as Figma, Sketch, Adobe Creative Suite, Mural, Trello, Github, etc.
  • Familiarity with agile, iterative software development practices
  • Experience working with engineers and product managers 
  • Ability to work collaboratively within a multidisciplinary team
  • Able to manage multiple high-priority initiatives, including early-stage product strategy as well as delivery of tactical and incremental design improvements
  • Ability to collaborate and facilitate design discussion in a remote working environment
  • Experience mentoring designers and communicating the value of design to stakeholders and cross-functional partners.


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Code for America is currently remote-only with in-person attendance in the SF office only under extreme extenuating circumstances. 95% of our staff are not going in-person into the office at all, and 5% are going on an as-needed basis. This will be a remote position at least through June 2021.

Code for America has set a policy that travel and in-person work will not be required until June 2021 at the earliest, except for extreme extenuating circumstances. Note that after that time, we expect this to convert to a position with some travel to communities we work with across the country. 



Code for America's salary bands are transparent internally as a part of our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We extend this to our hiring process. The role at this level is ranged from$120,000 - $150,000 in yearly salary.

As a part of our equitable hiring practices, we target the median for all new hires. The median for this role is $135,000. These ranges and the target are for the San Francisco/ Bay Area market and may be adjusted for cost of living differential if located outside of a major metropolitan area/ city. 



Code for America offers full health and dental benefits, a 401k plan with matching funds and a culture that is collaborative, hardworking and fun.


Equal Employment Opportunity

Code for America values a diverse workplace and strongly encourages women, people of color, LGBT folks, people with disabilities, members of ethnic minorities, foreign-born residents, and veterans to apply.

Code for America is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants will not be discriminated against because of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, religion, national origin, citizenship status, disability, ancestry, marital status, veteran status, medical condition or any protected category prohibited by local, state or federal laws.


About Code for America

Code for America is a startup non-profit with a great culture and a huge opportunity to make a difference. We work in cross-functional teams, collaboratively and agilely and value high-quality, user-friendly products.

We strive to learn from everything we do and regularly host talks from leaders in the civic technology movement. We respect each other, work hard, and have a great time together. We’re looking for people who share our vision, our values, and our willingness to do what it takes to achieve our mission over the next few years.

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