Program Manager

Job Type

Full Time



Application Deadline



United States


Summary Statement of Primary Duties and Responsibilities

The Partnership for College Completion (PCC) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2016 to catalyze and champion policies, systems, and practices that ensure all students in and around Chicago and across the state of Illinois particularly low-income and first generation college students – graduate from college and achieve their career aspirations. PCC has set an ambitious goal to eliminate institutional achievement gaps in college degree completion for low-income and first generation students in the region, establishing northeastern Illinois as a national leader in equity in attainment. Despite improvements in the high school graduation rates and college matriculation rates for students, degree completion rates have remained flat and achievement gaps between groups have persisted or widened. Read our 2017 report - Unequal Opportunity in Illinois: A Look at Who Graduates College & Why It Matters - to learn more about these issues.

With its vision for system-level reform and institutional change, the PCC deploys a three-part strategy in pursuit of its goals:

  • Supporting colleges directly in their change efforts (technical support)
  • Advocating for effective local, state, and national legislation & policy (public policy)
  • Increasing public dialogue on college outcomes (public awareness)

The Partnership is currently in the process of launching our major technical support initiative – the Illinois Equity in Attainment (ILEA) Initiative – and seeks two Program Managers who will be an integral part of the team working to support two-year and four-year partner colleges across the state in order to eliminate racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps on their campuses. Each Program Manager will be a critical part of a lean and output-oriented team and growing organization. These individuals will be seasoned, thorough, analytical, creative, capable of effectively managing multiple competing priorities for internal and external stakeholders, and both highly autonomous and productive in a team setting.

Key Responsibilities:

1. Provide support and serve as primary organizational interface between the Partnership and a group of colleges and universities and their senior leadership teams that are working to aggressively eliminate graduation disparities on their campuses.

2. Conduct research and provide information and tools to support colleges and universities in their change efforts.

3. Support the planning, coordination, and execution of medium and large-scale trainings, summits and events, campus-based meetings, webinars, and conference calls.

4. Document and provide analysis on all interactions with colleges and their leadership teams.

5. Manage and coordinate supports and services from external partners for ILEA colleges.

6. Lead and support other technical support or practice initiatives as assigned.

7. Lead internal research, data analysis, and reporting related to his/her portfolio of PCC programs and initiatives; collaborate with college administrators within institutional research departments for ongoing coordination of college supports and progress monitoring/reporting.

8. Lead and collaborate on the preparation of various reports, policy and practice briefs, projects, presentations, and program and training materials.

9. Coordinate and report on grant-funded activities as assigned.

10. Support the public policy, public awareness, and operational activities of the Partnership in support of the overall mission of the organization.

11. Represent the Partnership publicly.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

1. Passion for PCC’s mission

2. Lived or learned knowledge of the challenges confronting first generation, low-income college students and students of color; understanding of systemic barriers to completion faced by students in pursuit of college degrees

3. Deep understanding of colleges and universities and their systems, structures, and equity minded reform efforts

4. Familiarity with national higher education reform efforts and how colleges and universities have shifted policy and practice in small and large ways to eliminate achievement gaps, decrease time to degree, and increase graduation rates

5. Thrive in a high volume, fast-paced, mission-driven work environment

6. Highly developed verbal and written communication skills and the ability to present effectively to large and small groups

7. Superior research, writing and editing skills, with the ability to tailor writing for a variety of audiences

8. Ability to engage with diverse communities and constituencies at all levels

9. Willingness to learn and adapt amid new and shifting priorities with a ‘can-do,’ solutions oriented approach to problem solving

10. Development-oriented mindset; reflective, self-aware, open and responsive to feedback and driven to learn from setbacks

11. Possess a track record of success as demonstrated by superior academic and professional achievement; ability to translate big ideas into successful action

12. Ability to travel regularly within the region and occasionally beyond



• Belief in PCC core values:

  1. All students can succeed when given the right opportunities, tools, and supports
  2. Equity in higher education is an urgent civil rights challenge
  3. Solutions and resources exist to close the equity gap in higher education
  4. Racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps in college degree attainment are unacceptable
  5. and should be eliminated

• Bachelor’s degree

• Six or more years of related full-time professional experience, with at least 4 years experience working in the college access and success field or in higher education

• Experience driving complex projects requiring significant cross-functional collaboration

• Ability to lead meetings and presentations with a diverse set of stakeholders, including college presidents, faculty and staff; elected officials; non-profit and private sector leaders; researchers; colleagues across the education spectrum

• Knowledge of higher education, higher education reform, and college access and success efforts (nationally/locally)

• Valid driver’s license and regular access to a vehicle for regional and statewide travel


• Experience in working in a college or university

• Master’s degree in a relevant field (policy, education, social sciences, business, economics, etc.)

• Experience leading teams and managing staff

• Experience conducting basic (descriptive) data analysis or more sophisticated analyses using educational datasets

• Familiarity with colleges in and around Chicago and across the state of Illinois

Please send resume, cover letter, and writing sample with the subject line Program Manager to Resumes will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis through September 18, 2018.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

4-year degree

How To Apply

For your application to be considered complete - Please send resume(1), cover letter(2), and writing sample(3) with the subject line Program Manager to Resumes will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis through September 18, 2018.