Program Operation Specialist
Job Type

Organizational Overview

The mission of Onward We Learn is to prepare and inspire young people in Rhode Island to become the first in their families to attend and complete college. From the time they join through their early years of college, participants experience the steady, nurturing presence of caring adults and participate in programs that focus on academic enrichment, personal development, career exploration, and college preparation.

Onward We Learn encourages people from underrepresented backgrounds to apply, particularly Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC); those who are the first in their family to attend college; LGBTQIA+ community

Position Purpose  

The Program Operations Specialist is pivotal to operational excellence across a range of academic and enrichment programs, managing logistics, budgets, and schedules while improving process efficiencies. The Program Operations Specialist will collaborate closely with the Chief Program Officer (CPO), Program Directors, and various stakeholders to maintain program alignment with organizational objectives and compliance requirements. By fostering cross-departmental collaboration and engaging in continuous professional development, the Program Operations Specialist will contribute to a cohesive and effective program delivery environment.  


Operational Support and Efficiency:  

  • Maintain a comprehensive understanding of departmental program offerings, encompassing academic, enrichment, career awareness, and post-secondary preparation programs, including program schedules, budgets, and logistics. 
  • Monitor day-to-day operations, identify, and implement process improvements to enhance operational efficiency, and support effective program recruitment and delivery of programs.   
  • Coordinate internal departments and vendors, ensuring operations remain within scope, schedule, and budget.
  • Serve as a point of communication between departments, vendors, venues, and facilities contacts, as appropriate. 
  • Report risks and outcomes to appropriate staff and escalate issues according to project work plans.
  • Assist Program Directors, the CPO, and the Chief Financial and Administration Officer, in planning programs to ensure compliance with insurance, legal health, and safety obligations. 

Program and Data Quality Improvement:  

  • Collaborate with the program services team and the Director of Curriculum and Instruction to design and deliver high-quality educational programs throughout the year, including weekends and summers, focusing on college access and academic preparation. 
  • Support hiring efforts and facilitate comprehensive onboarding and technical assistance for High School Advisors and College Success Coaches, ensuring they adhere to program standard operating procedures.
  • Support the Program Directors with the developing, planning, and coordinating program activities and special initiatives and projects that enhance student services and program outcomes, such as FAFSA support sessions and technology integration efforts.   
  • Collaborate with staff organization-wide, including admissions, family engagement, MS programs, and learning and development to create a seamless programming experience for students and their families.   
  • Provide supervisory guidance and support to advisors when Program Directors are out of the office in collaboration with the Chief Program Officer.
  • Monitor Onward’s CRM, ensuring it effectively supports program delivery, advisor reporting, and student engagement tracking.  
  • Support the ongoing implementation and adoption of Onward’s CRM by training Advisors and Coaches.   

Team Collaboration and Professional Development:    

  • Participate actively in department and functional meetings to understand organization goals, support cross-functional collaboration, and provide updates as appropriate.
  • Regularly collaborate with other departments within Onward We Learn to ensure a unified approach to student development and program delivery.
  • Engage in regular professional development opportunities to stay current with educational trends, student counseling, youth mentorship, youth development best practices, and school safety and security best practices.


  • Bachelor’s degree in education, health services, or related field.
  • A minimum of three years of work experience in education, youth development, and/or program management.
  • Proficient in both Microsoft 365 and Google Suite and able to learn and effectively use the latest software and technology systems employed by Onward.   
  • Flexibility to work weekend and evening hours as needed for program support and special initiatives. 
  • Reliable transportation for travel to program sites and events. 
  • Efficiently allocates and utilizes time to achieve maximum productivity and effectiveness. Able to set goals, prioritize tasks, and create a structured schedule to complete essential activities within designated timeframes. 
  • Strong instructional and coaching skills, with the ability to train and support entry-level professionals. 
  • Excellent communication and collaboration skills, capable of working effectively within a department and cross-functionally. 
  • Demonstrated interest in process optimization and learning new technologies. 
  • Commitment to Onward We Learn's mission, values, and strategic objectives. 


  • Fluency in a second language (e.g., (Spanish, Portuguese, Cape Verdean Creole, Haitian Creole, Hmong, Cambodian) relevant to Onward We Learn's student population. 
  • Experience with CRM systems, data analysis, and reporting in an educational or non-profit setting  
Salary Description
$54,000 - $75,000