Program Specialist (Downtown)

Job Type

Full Time



Start Date


Application Deadline



United States


After School Matters provides Chicago high school teens with high quality, out-of-school time opportunities to explore and develop their talents while gaining critical skills for work, college and beyond. Since 1991, more than 200,000 teens have participated in our hands-on, project-based after-school and summer programs in the arts, communications and leadership, STEM and sports. Programs take place at locations throughout the city including Chicago public high schools, Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Library locations, community-based organizations, The Michael and Karyn Lutz Center for After School Matters in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood and Gallery 37 Center for the Arts downtown.

Summary of Position:

The Program Specialist’s primary responsibility is to facilitate and monitor the day to day logistics of After School Matters programs within an assigned region. The Program Specialist will conduct site visits, observations and provide recommendations regarding program quality, safety, compliance, instruction, program attendance, enrollment and retention and other critical issues. Acting as the liaison between After School Matters and the program providers and community partners, the Program Specialist will communicate requirements, policy changes and other relevant information to ensure successful implementation of the program, payment to teens and instructors. Based upon observations, site visits and other relevant data, the Program Specialist will provide coaching to ensure improvement in areas identified.

This Program Specialist will support the Downtown program branch. The specific community area in this Program Specialist's portfolio is: The Loop. 

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Act as a day-to-day contact person with instructors and school staff for programs;
  • Develop and maintain relationships with program partners and instructors;
  • In partnership with the regional team, recruit and select Instructors and program providers;
  • Conduct regular program site visits of each program in their portfolio and assigned Youth Program Quality Assessments;
  • Provide coaching, and where, appropriate request professional development opportunities for instructors and liaisons;
  • Act as a trouble shooter in the areas of program implementation, logistics, and data collection;
  • Enter data into Cityspan;
  • Plan, schedule and organize all assigned school and community meetings, etc.;
  • Assist in developing, and implementing, effective teen recruitment and retention strategies for regional programs;
  • Write monthly programmatic reports, impact statements and other documents to share concerns, recommended solutions and program highlights;
  • Identify program needs, considering budgetary constraints and make recommendations and submit to Program Manager for approval;
  • Secure the appropriate tools and supplies for each program and work with the warehouse department to ensure delivery;
  • Act as a liaison between Program Operations and program providers;
  • Trouble shoot teen application and other systems errors;
  • Ensure that all required data, i.e. attendance, enrollment, program verifications, surveys, etc. are entered into the database system;
  • Provide direction to the liaison and ensure compliance with program requirements;
  • Work with the Program Quality team, Program Operations and Contracting, to ensure that all assigned programs are in compliance with After School Matters policies and procedures;
  • Attend program closings and demonstrations of learning;
  • Working with the regional teams, identify public media opportunities and share with the Regional Director and the Communications department;
  • Working with the Program Manager, approve instructor and liaison timesheets and trouble shoot systems errors with instructors and liaisons;
  • Conduct one on one meetings with partners, instructors and liaisons when needed;
  • Assist in the hiring and management of Liaisons and Instructors;
  • Other duties as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibilities:

  • Independent instructors and program providers

Physical Demands:

The physical demands here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Must be able to lift up to 50 pounds occasionally.
  • Must be able to sit for long periods of time.

Work Environment:

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is not exposed to weather conditions.
  • The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Skilled in developing and facilitating collaborative relationships
  • Demonstrated experience leading and developing teams
  • Excellent organizational skills and problem solving abilities
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Excellent Microsoft Office skills; ability to collect and maintain information as needed
  • Demonstrated experience in project management
  • Ability to multi-task and meet deadlines
  • Ability to work in a fast paced, high energy environment
  • Respect for all levels of the organization and outside partners
  • Energetic team player who works well in collaborative situations
  • Strong orientation to customer service


  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Valid Illinois Driver’s License and insured transportation required[1]
  • Cook County residency required
  • Experience in using Cityspan database a plus
  • Evenings and weekends required

How to Apply:

Submit a cover letter and resume at


After School Matters is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, protected veteran status, military discharge status, age, marital status, parental status, or source of income.

[1] After School Matters will provide reasonable accommodation to a person who does not have a driver’s license because of a disability.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

4-year degree