Director of Special Initiatives
Detroit, MI Programs
Job Type

Reporting to the Chief Program and Services Officer, the primary responsibility of this position is to develop, implement and direct special initiatives that address the barriers faced by individuals who have backgrounds that may include incarceration, long-term disconnection from school and work, or a history of violent behavior. In collaboration with the Wayne County Jail, SEMCA, federal court officers, and a number of community-based organizations, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC) has launched a number of special initiatives that provide opportunity youth, justice-facing adults, and residents with multiple barriers to employment with occupational skills training, transitional work experiences, intensive job readiness training, career coaching and other supports as that work to improve the trajectory of their lives through securing jobs that help lead to economic independence. In coordination with partner organizations and direct service staff, the Director of Special Initiatives will lead the implementation and promote the expansion of those programs that are proven effective through participant success evidenced by credential attainment, secured employment, and long-term job retention. 

The Director of Special Initiatives will also utilize lessons learned to assist the Chief Program and Services Officer in the development, implementation and oversight of other special workforce development projects that address the needs of those most at-risk of becoming and remaining disconnected from access to workforce opportunities, ultimately contributing to decreased labor force participation. 



  •  Provide excellent customer service. 
  • Plan, coordinate, and administer activities of assigned projects including developing and, implementing related procedures, processes, services, and systems. 
  • Serve as DESC/Detroit at Work’s primary point of contact for DPSCD adult education staff, building productive working relationships between DPSCD staff and staff with Career Centers where adult education programs will be housed. 
  • Develop, identify, and enhance career exploration and planning elements of skilled learning programs. 
  • Assist Career Centers in identifying and enrolling eligible participants into designated programs.
  • Monitor and evaluate the program’s effectiveness, investigate trends, recommend, and implement modifications to improve program effectiveness. 
  • Coordinate and/or participate in public relations activities including preparing and supervising the production of brochures, bulletins, newsletters, and other promotional materials and/or publications, preparing press releases, designing ads and fliers, and responding to inquiries, developing plans and schedules for release of publicity materials.
  • Develop, plan, coordinate and implement activities including, but not limited to, seminars, conferences, workshops, public events, and other related programs; develop and coordinate new ideas and concepts for the project’s participants, materials, and resources to supplement, expand, or replace existing project’s components. 
  • Organize and manage project-specific tasks and activities. 
  • Exhibit professionalism, diplomacy, and ability to appropriately interact with Board members, staff, participants, and local stakeholders while maintaining working relationships in all aspects.
  • Compose and prepare correspondence involving interpretation of policies, procedures, contracts, and agreements. Prepare material that requires independent judgment and the ability to create, rearrange, expand, segregate or tabulate, and prepare complex forms.
  • Prepare program budgets; Monitor, verify, and reconcile expenditure of budgeted funds as appropriate.
  • Analyze qualitative and quantitative data. Prepare reports setting forth progress and appropriate recommendations or conclusions. 
  • Perform other related duties as required. 


  • Graduation from an accredited college or university with a bachelor’s degree in business, Education, Public Administration, Social Work, or another field related to program development, adult education, or service delivery. Master’s degree preferred. 
  • Five (5) years of relevant professional experience. 
  • An equivalent combination of professional work experience, training and education may be substituted for formal education requirements. 


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed are representative of the knowledge, skills, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodation will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions. Local area travel will be required. The following is a list of required and desired qualifications: 

  • Demonstrates sufficient understanding of effective adult education and career exploration & planning activities. Demonstrates sufficient understanding of workforce development services and programs. 
  • Previous experience with human-centered design and design thinking is highly desirable.
  • Highly organized and can manage multiple projects concurrently. Demonstrates project management skills to produce quality, timely, and complete work products.
  • Possess the ability to exhibit professionalism and work under pressure with the ability to re-prioritize to meet deadlines. 
  • Discrete and professional, particularly when handling confidential information.
  • Seeks growing responsibility and shows great capacity for work.
  • Exhibits outstanding written and verbal communication skills, and can prepare timely, accurate and complete reports and presentations.
  • Able to always maintain strict ethical legal adherence and confidentiality.


Valid State of Michigan Driver’s License – Position requires field work. 


Background check and drug screen required. 

The Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC) is an Equal Opportunity employer committed to enhancing equity, inclusion, and diversity within our organization. DESC actively seeks applications from women, persons of color, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups.