Jul 06, 2020

Chief Program Officer

  • Promise54
  • geo-flex
Full-time Curriculum Executive Leadership Product and Program Management

Job Description


The Organization:


Our country's education and workforce systems have been failing to support low-income Americans, and it is hurting our young people, employers, and our economy alike. Despite progress in national high school graduation and college enrollment rates, college dropout rates are tragically high, with the average dropout burdened by significant debt. At the same time, many employers struggle to find and sustain entry-level talent, especially in middle-skill jobs requiring a postsecondary credential.


Propel believes a better system can exist—one that seamlessly connects education and employment. We do this by bringing together high schools, community colleges, and employers in a unified system of skill-building, job placement, and ongoing planning for young adults. The model includes a “core course” in or directly after high school, in which students determine their job pathway and begin to prepare for it. Propel then covers the cost of job training, pays a modest stipend, provides mentorship and support, and guarantees a job interview for any “Propel fellow” who successfully completes their training. This process empowers recent high school graduates with the skills, credentials, experiences, and social networks to attain a well-paying job within one year, with opportunities for advancement and higher education.


Propel is currently operating in Louisiana, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, leveraging extensive relationships and credibility with key government, industry, and education leaders. Our current pathways span healthcare, technology and engineering, automotive and manufacturing. Propel is also in the process of piloting a new blended model that leverages both online and in-person supports and shifting the long-term strategy to a blended model of credentialing, student support and job placement. 


The Opportunity:


We are seeking a Chief Program Officer (CPO) to support the development of a best-in-class model to support young people in obtaining an upwardly mobile first job. The CPO will help to drive the development of a blended credential-first post-secondary program that can scale rapidly and oversee the implementation of the current program. This individual will be a critical part of the Propel executive team and a key carrier of organizational culture. They will hold the vision of what our program will look like, think through a strategy for scale, assess program impact, build and execute a technology platform strategy, and partner with Propel’s CEO and COO to create a plan for Propel’s sustainability and growth over time. Responsibilities will include:


  • Build a best-in-class model
    • Design and develop a best-in-class-model to support young people in getting and retaining family-sustaining jobs
    • Drive the development of a “blended” delivery model in partnership with an institution of higher education
  • Manage implementation and scaling the program
    • Design and build a national program staffing structure
    • Manage a national program team in collaboration with Propel regional staff
    • Ensure delivery of a cohesive programmatic model for Core and Specialization content
    • Develop feedback looks through which teams can continually improve and update curriculum and content
    • Manage the national training and support strategy for Propel staff, teachers, coaches and facilitators
  • Strategy
    • Establish goals and management systems to support broader organizational strategy
    • In collaboration with Propel central and regional teams, form and drive strategy to scale the program within and outside of existing regions
    • Work alongside the CEO and COO to establish a long-term strategy for sustainability and scale
  • Innovation/Research
    • Be able to name what excellence looks like for Propel, and then ensure that excellence persists. Make sure all aspects of Propel’s programs have maximum impact, and track that impact through Propel’s program success measures
    • emain innovative with Propel’s programmatic model, constantly working to make it stronger and more scalable
    • Build and implement pilots to innovate on the model
    • Develop a vision for Propel’s research agenda and oversee its implementation (including running the innovation strategies, codifying learning, and implementing that learning at scale)
  • Technology
    • Lead the design of the transition of Propel content and training to an online platform
    • Oversee the development of a technology platform that will support and enable better student support functions





  • Deep experience in designing, developing and implementing an organization-wide programmatic vision across multiple locations 
  • Entrepreneurial mindset and willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done
  • Outstanding leadership skills and an ability and desire to develop and maintain deep relationships with a variety of diverse constituents across multiple sectors (K-12, for-profit, higher education, and non-profit)
  • Excellent strategic thinking skills to understand and lead in a complex environment
  • Strong communication skills and willingness to listen
  • Possess a thorough knowledge of current educational principles, best practices and theory related to high school and workforce training, including deep knowledge of research-based instructional strategies that promote post-secondary readiness
  • Preferred: experience with and knowledge of workforce development and professional skills training content


Preferred Qualifications:


  • Seven to ten years experience in K-12 or other non-profit programmatic leadership
  • Education credentials highly valued by industry are preferred, including but not limited to a bachelor’s degree
  • Willingness to travel 25-40% of the time



Propel offers a competitive total rewards package. We cover 90% of premiums, unlimited vacation and a flexible work environment. The salary range for this position is $170K-$231K. Location: Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey or Rhode Island preferred.


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