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Associate Director of Adult Education

Req ID: 6844
Location: Chicago - North Side
# of Openings: 1
FT/PT: Full time
Employment Type: Regular
Salary Schedule: 7
Job Notes:


Summary:  The Associate Director of Adult Education Services oversees adult education and college and career pathways programs for diverse populations including refugees and immigrants, individuals transitioning from homelessness and individuals impacted by poverty and overcoming barriers to employment and educational opportunity. The Associate Director will manage the successful program operations of the Vocational and English Language Training programs by increasing program resources with grant writing and other activities, ensuring contract compliance, providing financial management, supervising and leading team members, managing timely and accurate reporting to internal and external audiences including funders, managing internal and external partnerships, and strategic planning.  Leadership will focus on enhancing the effectiveness of program models, aligning existing and new programming with research and best practices, developing innovative program models ensuring alignment with Heartland Alliance’s mission, articulating innovative programming to external stakeholders, seeking and procuring strategic growth opportunities, developing educational and youth development programs and curricula, incorporating career pathways into employment and education programming, cultivating and maintaining strategic employer partnerships, and strengthening connections for programs within Heartland Alliance, both internally and with external partners, to leverage strengths and resources.    

 Individual accountabilities and work volume will be established through the development of annual Success Objectives within the framework outlined below.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Leads the Vocational English Language team to provide excellence in adult education and college and career pathways programming
  • Works with staff to ensure that participants are able to meet their goals to access economic opportunities
  • Hires, trains, supervises and evaluates program staff, in conjunction with Director
  • Tracks certifications or training needed, and ensures quality services, following Heartland Alliance’s Philosophy of Care, policies and procedures,  and culturally competent practices;
  • Stays fully aware of contractual goals and committed program outcomes related to Vocational English Language Training (VELT) and overlapping service areas (such as , Employment, Case Management, Youth and Family Services etc)
  • Ensures the accuracy and timely availability or data for funder reporting related but not limited to Youth and Adjustment Services; meets CARF-accreditation or other applicable standards
  • Supervises key VELT staff and provides leadership to all VELT team members
  • Works with teams across HHCS to manage the implementation of new programs and initiatives, ensuring the utilization of best practices
  • Works with program supervisors to ensure that existing programming is aligned with best practices in the fields of adult education, career pathways and workforce development,  providing resources and leadership to enhance impact
  • Cultivates and maintains strategic employer partnerships, offering new opportunities to participants facing multiple barriers to employment
  • Researches and pursues strategic growth opportunities in education and workforce development, in collaboration with the Director
  • Seeks out and evaluates funding opportunities; prepares and submits grant proposals
  • Develops effective means of communicating HHCS’ programs’ impact and use of innovative and best practices and articulates to external stakeholders, strengthening organizational positioning; presents our best practices at conferences, seminars and trainings for other professionals in the field.
  • Oversees the development and implementation of curricula designed to meet the adult literacy needs of unique communities
  • Develops and maintains professional relationships with appropriate groups and organizations and represents HHCS and Heartland Alliance program, policy, and fundraising efforts;
  • Stays current within the fields of adult education, workforce development and youth development and maintains contact with participants and their needs through regular (quarterly) connections with programs.
  • Monitors and tracks contractual goals and committed program outcomes related to ESL, family literacy, vocational training and contextualized literacy services and ensures that program is meeting and exceeding contractual goals
  • Ensures the accuracy and timely submission of funder reporting related to but not limited to ESL, family literacy, Vocational Training and contextualized literacy services.
  • Creates and manages the ESL and contextualized literacy services budgets, in cooperation with Director
  • Generates monthly, quarterly, and annual reports and performance measurements both internally and to meet grant requirements
  • Serves as primary contact for all RICS literacy, Contextualized Literacy and ESL audits and reports
  • Provides timely and accurate information to current and prospective funders regarding agency services.
  • Participates on internal committees (such as: RICS Management; new employee orientation, quality management, or others)
  • Initiates requests for supervision and interim evaluation/goal setting.
  • May support youth education and career exploration and high school equivalency initiatives
  • Perform other job-related duties as assigned


Leadership Competencies – In order to perform the job successfully, and individual should demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Strategic Agility - Sets a vision and creates strategies in the midst of a complex, uncertain, and changing environment; Thinks big picture to make long-term decisions; Thinks innovatively to improve processes and services; Inspires innovative thinking and helps the organization adapt to change and face adversity.


  • Communication - Delivers honest, clear, persuasive, and timely information; Collects (i.e., actively listens) and synthesizes information; Communicates in an inclusive and respectful way; Communicates appropriately and effectively in written and verbal form to various stakeholders (e.g. participants, staff, partners, funders); Represents HA externally with the power to inspire and influence others.


  • Teamwork & Collaboration - Delivers honest, clear, persuasive, and timely information; Collects (i.e., actively listens) and synthesizes information; Communicates in an inclusive and respectful way; Communicates appropriately and effectively in written and verbal form to various stakeholders (e.g. participants, staff, partners, funders); Represents HA externally with the power to inspire and influence others.


  • Managerial Courage - Challenges group-think and creates an environment welcoming diverse perspectives; Identifies, diffuses, and rectifies unethical, unsafe, or uncomfortable situations; Engages in courageous communication and critical thinking to balance differing views across teams and the organization; Manages challenging situations and conflicts in a professional manner even if it requires an unpopular stance.


  • Talent Development - Builds capacity of future leaders and empower teams; Leverages unique backgrounds, experiences and strengths to develop a cohesive team and create an inclusive environment; Manages employees with understanding and empathy (i.e. displays emotional intelligence); Supports employees’ well-being by understanding and working to address work stress and vicarious trauma; Provides timely feedback that is authentic, direct, and actionable.


Qualifications:  To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Education and/or Experience: Bachelor’s degree and at least five years of relevant experience in grant writing, development, data management, budget development and management, and report writing for ESL services, immigrant/refugee vocational development, or related areas.  Experience leading a team preferred. May give credit towards years of experience if attained a degree higher than a Bachelor’s Degree. 
  • Other Skills and Qualifications: Ability to communicate effectively in written and spoken English.  Some supervisory experience preferred.  Proficiency in a second language is an asset but not required.
  • Computer Skills: Proficiency in Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Outlook/Exchange; Windows operating systems; and other software routinely used by Heartland Alliance.

Physical Demands

  • Frequently required to sit, stand, and walk.
  • The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 10 pounds.


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.

  • The noise in the work environment is moderate.

  • As a refugee center offering multiple services, human traffic or clamor for services is routine and can be distracting during parts of the day.

    Heartland Alliance makes all hiring and employment decisions without regard to race, creed, color, age, gender, marital or parental status, religion, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, immigrant status, political affiliation or belief, ex-offender status (depending on the offense and position to be filled), unfavorable military discharge, membership in an organization whose primary purpose is the protection of civil rights or improvement of living conditions and human relations, or HIV injection, in accord with the Organization's AIDS Policy Statement of September, 1987.


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