Program Manager – Community Innovations

Reports to Director of Community Innovations


Job Summary:

This position will lead a group of initiatives of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership’s (The Partnership) Community Innovations portfolio in collaboration with team leadership and peer program managers. Under the direction of the Chief Program Officer and the Director of Community Innovations, this position relies upon program and grants management, research, analysis, and relationship building to manage, support, identify and implement strategic initiatives designed to improve economic outcomes for job seekers within the region. Program Managers create strategies to leverage and develop initiatives, working with partners to align funding, coalesce stakeholders, and execute innovative workforce development programs targeting special populations or industry sectors.

In addition, Program Manager(s) will help lead The Partnership’s goals of:

  • Improving equity in the Chicagoland labor market by increasing the number of historically underrepresented individuals entering and remaining in the workforce; and
  • Raising the profile of sustainable long-term career pathways in high growth industries; and
  • Supporting employers in playing an integral role in the system of building and sustaining talent.


Key Responsibilities and Duties:

In collaboration with the Director of Community Innovations, manages and develops strategies and programs for fostering workforce development in high growth sectors in the Chicagoland region, while specifically targeting the region’s most underserved communities.

Identifies and implements best practices for workforce development service delivery to special populations of jobseekers including justice-involved, homeless, disability, aging, opportunity youth, pregnant or parenting youth, immigrants, and residents of public housing.

Supervises and manages Program Coordinators by assigning work; approving time off; providing guidance and training, developing professional development plans, giving oral and written reprimands when necessary; effectively recommending grievance resolutions and completing performance evaluations. Establishes annual goals and objectives, counsels staff on issues of productivity, quality of work and conduct; and determines staffing needs to achieve program objectives.

Manages all aspect of grant-funded initiatives including program implementation, vendor contract management, goal development, data collection and analysis, and reporting requirements for assigned programs.

Collaborates with public partners including City of Chicago, Cook County, State of Illinois, Chicago Housing Authority, public school districts, post-secondary education providers and federal departments to align strategic focus for youth and special population employment programs in Chicago and Cook County.

Provides leadership, oversight, and technical assistance to subgrantees and service providers.

Manages contract deliverables and invoicing, enacts reporting procedures, and troubleshoots any issues that arise.

May convene advisory committees, composed of businesses and industry groups, government agencies, community organizations, and other stakeholders.

Collaborates willingly with all other Partnership staff, both internal and external to the unit.

Manages program outcomes against goals and communicates expectations and outcomes with subcontractors and funders.

Assists in identifying potential funding sources for programs and assists in completing grant applications for funding administered by both public and private entities.

Develops and uses analytic tools to assess and synthesize data, report outcomes, and create program improvements. Also uses data to identify, develop and prioritize strategies.



Minimum Qualifications:

  • Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, Public Administration or Social Services; OR, four (4) years full-time work experience in the field of Employment Training OR equivalent combination of professional work experience, training, and education.
  • Progressively responsible professional experience, preferably in consulting, project management, government management, non-profit management, public administration, public policy, or social services experience is preferred.
  • A strong understanding of workforce development strategies, including career pathway development, place-based strategies, population-focused strategies, sector-based initiatives, and equitable economic development.
  • Ability to travel throughout the region, state and nationally, if necessary.


Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Other Characteristics:

Ability to work in a racially diverse environment in which working towards racial equity in workforce or economic development, or social service sectors is key.

Strong strategic thinking skills.

Ability to build and maintain effective relationships with multiple internal and external stakeholders from grantors to participants, employers, and partner organizations.

Ability to manage multiple work streams and stakeholders simultaneously.

Ability to produce concise and effective communications.

Flexible and self-directed.

Ability to analyze substantial amounts of quantitative and qualitative data and draw insightful conclusions for reporting purposes

Excellent verbal and written communication skills.

Ability to facilitate effective meetings that include senior level officials, executives, and other stakeholders.

Strong time-management and multiple-priority management skills.

Ability to author reports, business correspondence and procedural manuals.

Ability to work in a fast-paced, deadline driven, results-oriented environment.

Excellent organization/time management skills.

Ability to implement and supervise programmatic changes.

Ability to institute problem solving techniques in diverse and sometimes emotional situations.

Ability to identify errors, irregularities and illegal acts and take appropriate action.

Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel

The duties listed are not set forth for purposes of limiting the assignment of work. They are not to be construed as a complete list of the many duties normally to be performed under a job title or those to be performed temporarily outside an employee’s normal line of work.