Public Program Specialist I

Classification: Part-time 

Department: Museum and Education

Work Location: Programs may occur at all district sites; Office located at Museum of the Grand Prairie (Mahomet, IL) 

FSLA: Non-exempt 

IMRF: Eligible 

Hours: ½ time (1,040 annually); Varied hours Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 5:00, unless otherwise scheduled. Due to program needs, frequent Saturdays, Sundays, evenings, and an occasional holiday will be required.

Pay Range: $16.83/hourly


The Public Program Specialist I is responsible for developing and implementing public programs, activities, and events that relate to cultural and natural history for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds served by the Champaign County Forest Preserve District.

Supervisory Relationships

The Public Programs Specialist I reports to the Museum and Education Department’s Public Programs Manager.


Essential Functions

• Coordinate within the Museum and Education Department and all departments throughout the Champaign County Forest Preserve District (“District”) to maintain sound knowledge of our mission, activities and strategic objectives for the development of public programs.

• Develop, plan, execute, and evaluate public programs that serve the public interest and further the District’s mission and the Museum and Education Department’s mission according to its interpretive plan, exhibits, and collections, and connects with audiences of all backgrounds and abilities. 

• Assist the Public Programs Manager and Public Programs Specialist – Full-Time at programs and events when requested. 

• Establish and manage strategic partnerships with local and national organizations to develop programming/content and to facilitate public engagement with the Department’s mission and programs.

• Collaborate with department staff to develop, plan, execute, and evaluate interdisciplinary programs and other interpretive opportunities.

• Develop, maintain, and monitor the spending of budgets for public programs. Make annual budget recommendations to the Public Programs Manager as requested.

• Recruit, train, maintain, and evaluate volunteers, working closely with the District Volunteer Coordinator.

• Collaborate with Department and District staff (e.g. Marketing Manager, Site Superintendents, etc.) on the development of public programs.

• Enforce District rules of conduct and inform appropriate authority if patrons or employees are in danger. Respond promptly and accurately to safety issues, accidents, or concerns of the public.

• Perform all job tasks in compliance with the District’s Safety Manual and the department training manual.

Secondary Duties

• Collaborate with the Collections & Exhibits team to ensure proper care, use, and management of the Department’s Education Collection.

• Serve as backup staffing for the Museum of the Grand Prairie (MGP) & Homer Lake Interpretive Center (HLIC) front-desks when requested to ensure a positive guest experience, including customer service, visitor safety, care of facilities & exhibits, and building security.

• Collaborate with the Youth Programs Team in the presentation of youth programs as requested.

• Regularly participate in professional development, including attending and/or leading workshops, seminars, conferences, and other educational programs.

• Develop, plan, and facilitate public engagement with the Museum and Education Department’s mission and programs through presentations and participation in various groups and organizations.

• Assist with interpretive materials and exhibits when requested.

• Perform other duties as assigned.


Minimum Education and Experience

• Bachelor’s Degree preferred. Degree in history, museum studies, natural history, environmental studies, biology, education, or related field preferred.  The District will also consider candidates who hold a high school, trade, or associate’s degree combined with multiple years of relevant life or work experience in lieu of a Bachelor’s degree.

• Minimum of 2 years of relevant experience (in either a formal or non-formal setting) preferred in the planning, development, and implementation of educational and/or outreach programming. Experience in developing public engagement programs accessible to a wide audience is preferred.

Skills and Abilities

• Excellent time management and prioritization skills; ability to work proactively and independently.

• Excellent written and oral communication skills; communicates clearly and concisely, especially in a team environment.

• Actively involves others in planning and problem solving.

• Successfully communicate the District’s mission and vision to others. 

• Successfully interacts with audiences of all backgrounds and abilities.

• Creative problem-solving skills; flexibility and excellent judgment; professional attitude.

• Strong project management skills, especially as it relates to designing a multi-part, complex program.

• Valid driver’s license is required.

• Microsoft Office experience required. 

• CPR/AED and First Aid certification, or the ability to become certified within 12 months of employment


Work is primarily performed in a shared office suite. While performing this job, the employee regularly utilizes standard office equipment, including a computer. Some work will be performed outdoors in various weather conditions, including heat, cold, rain, snow, or ice. Employee may be exposed to hazardous flora and fauna (e.g. poison ivy, wild parsnip, biting/stinging insects, ticks) and chemicals (e.g. cleaning supplies or herbicides/pesticides). 

The employee will have frequent interaction with co-workers as well as program participants and patrons. Ability to talk and hear or otherwise effectively communicate is required. Prolonged standing, walking, or hiking on unpaved/uneven terrain may be required during programs. Duties may also include climbing, stooping, twisting, balancing, kneeling, crouching, and crawling. The employee may regularly handle, grasp, or feel objects; reach, push, or pull to reposition items; and will occasionally lift up to 25 pounds to shoulder height or above and up to 50 pounds to carrying height.

Use of personal protective equipment will be required based on job specific tasks. This may include, but is not limited to, the following items:

• Closed toed shoes

• Protective gloves

• Safety goggles or glasses

• Earplugs or ear covers

• Reflective vest or hi-vis shirt

• Respirators or masks

The work environment characteristics and physical demands described above are representative of those an employee must meet to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Please Note: Studies have shown that people from various racial and ethnic backgrounds, women and other excluded or historically excluded people are less likely to apply for jobs unless they believe that they meet every one of the qualifications as stated in the job description. The Champaign County Forest Preserve District is interested in finding the best candidate for the job, and that candidate may be one who comes from a less traditional background. If you are interested in applying, we encourage you to think broadly about your background and qualifications for the role. 

EOE Statement

The Champaign County Forest Preserve District is an Equal Opportunity Employer and as such does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, parental status, military service, or any other non-merit factor.