Employment Program Officer

Chicago, IL
Full Time
Mid Level

A cover letter is not required to apply for this role. Instead, all candidates will provide written answers to the application questions. Your responses will be shared with the hiring managers as well as the hiring committee for this search, so please put forth your best effort.  Up to 3 paragraphs maximum per response, please.

Location: Chicago. The Fry Foundation’s office is located in Chicago’s Loop. 
Reports to: President,  Unmi Song
Application deadline: July 31, 2024

Desired start date: Summer 2024

About Lloyd A. Fry Foundation

The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of the people of Chicago faced with challenges rooted in the systems of inequity. We partner with effective nonprofit organizations that share our commitment to building a community in which all individuals and families have the opportunity to thrive. Each year, we award $8 million in grants across three main program areas: Arts Learning, Education, and Employment. Across all of our funding areas, our focus is on helping organizations: Build capacity to enhance the quality of services and better assess the impact of programs; Develop successful program innovations that other organizations in the field can learn from or adopt; and Share knowledge so that information which can help low-income communities and individuals is widely and readily available.

About the Role

The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation seeks an Employment Program Officer to develop and lead the Foundation’s Employment grantmaking. We support comprehensive job training programs that help individuals access living-wage jobs and careers.The employment programs funded by the Foundation serve Chicago residents who are most impacted by unemployment, poverty, and bias. These programs are designed to address inequity by providing more equitable access to employment opportunities that offer the potential for career advancement and moving out of poverty.  

We accomplish our employment goals through four focus areas:

  • Vocational training programs that help low-income job seekers acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to compete for jobs in industries that are important to the region’s economy. 
  • Pre-employment training programs that help job seekers with significant barriers to employment (e.g., history of homelessness, incarceration or justice system involvement) gain employment in living wage entry-level jobs.  In this category, the Foundation funds a limited number of highly effective organizations which offer lessons and innovations for the field.
  • Policy advocacy efforts that lend a collective voice to the concerns of job seekers, workers, and the organizations that serve them.
  • Special opportunities programs that support grantee partner collaborations or advance the knowledge of our grantee partners and the broader workforce development field.

The Employment Program Officer’s work is primarily focused on the management and execution of four annual grant cycles, with the remaining time focused on knowledge development (e.g, learning more about the latest workforce development research or findings related to the Foundation’s priority areas and identifying new grantees and opportunities to pursue), and participating in opportunities (e.g., conferences, collaboratives) that can help our Foundation make an impact in the field.

A breakdown of the Employment Program Officer’s responsibilities are provided below:

  • Oversee the Employment grant portfolio, work with colleagues and the board of directors to identify programmatic goals and strategies and manage and plan the program grant budget ($1.66M).
  • Proactively identify challenges that can be addressed through the Foundation’s grantmaking and opportunities that have the potential to advance program goals.
  • Solicit and review proposals and letters of inquiry, arrange and manage site visits, prepare proposals for board review, and present written and verbal recommendations to the board of directors. Prepare decline letters and work to communicate clearly with grantee partners as well as with organizations that do not receive support from the Fry Foundation.
  • In the form of memos and white papers, synthesize complex issues and concepts related to workforce development models, policies, and systems for internal and external audiences.
  • Partner with grantees to support collaborative work; help organizations advance knowledge and practice in the field; and provide guidance and assistance on program strategy, assessments, and other aspects of building capacity and program development.
  • Cultivate and maintain new and existing relationships with workforce development leaders and organizations in order to stay abreast of policy and programmatic developments, generate new ideas and resources and foster partnerships.

Qualifications & Experiences

The Foundation supports innovative approaches and strategies that advance practice in the field of workforce development. To achieve this, we seek a leader who is able to: identify trends and common challenges among grantee organizations; investigate new topics quickly; synthesize a wide range of information; and apply ideas across new contexts. 

The ideal candidate should have: 

  • A minimum of five years of professional experience in workforce development.
  • Bachelor’s degree is required; Advanced degree is preferred.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills along with strong analytic and research abilities.
  • Strong aptitude and interest in writing; program officers are expected to write analytical reports and memos that synthesize complex issues for lay and experienced audiences.
  • An aptitude to actively contribute to intellectual give and take, to ask thoughtful questions, be open-minded, and be comfortable challenging ideas and being challenged.
  • Superior organizational skills; program officers manage all of their own logistics (e.g., site visits, reporting deadlines, and follow-up reporting).
  • Nonprofit experience is preferred.

Work Environment 

The Foundation embraces a culture of collaboration and professional curiosity. Located in Chicago, Illinois, our work is performed in a hybrid work environment (a combination of in-office and remote). The Employment Program Officer is expected to travel regularly to conduct local site visits with grantees and community partners. This position will report directly to the Foundation’s President. 

Compensation and Benefits 

The salary range is $115,000 - $145,000, commensurate with experience and qualifications. Excellent employee benefits include three weeks of vacation, one-week paid office closure during winter holidays, paid sick days, employer-paid health insurance (85% of the premium), and after one-year of employment, contributions to a 403(b)-retirement plan.   

Application Process

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Following the pre-screening, well-qualified candidates will be invited to participate in a two-round interview process. Candidates may be asked to submit a writing sample and references. If you have any questions, please contact [email protected]

The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer.


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