STEM Program Manager

Employment Type

: Full-Time


: Miscellaneous

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Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is the third largest school district in the United States, serving over 360,000 students in 600+ schools and employing nearly 36,000 people, most of them teachers. CPS has set ambitious goals to ensure that every student, in every school and every neighborhood, has access to a world-class learning experience that prepares each for success in college, career and civic life. In order to fulfill this mission we make three commitments to our students, their families and all Chicagoans: academic progress, financial stability and integrity. Six core values are embedded within these commitments – student centered, whole child, equity, academic excellence, community partnership and continuous learning.

Early College STEM Model Description

Early College STEM High Schools aim to connect K-12, post-secondary, and industry partners to support students in gaining both the technical and readiness skills to succeed in STEM post-secondary education and careers. Through significant early college, STEM-focused academic pathways, enrichment opportunities, work-based learning, and STEM instruction in every classroom, students gain critical exposure to high demand careers of the future. 

School Description

Chicago Vocational Career Academy is one of CPS’s founding Early College STEM Schools, with the program beginning in 2012. The school offers school-wide STEM teaching along with significant career training through a number of CTE “majors” and early college options. The school works closely with Olive-Harvey College to give students the option to earn college credits and credentials while in high school. The school’s industry partners provide valuable enrichment opportunities, such as internships, mentoring, and other work-based learning experiences.

Role Description

The Early College STEM School Program Manager (ECSS PM) role for the CVCA provides a unique opportunity to create a new STEM program. The ECSS PM will build and manage the execution of key program elements of the ECSS program model, including but not limited to: dual enrollment at colleges/universities, internship programs, college visits, STEM-related enrichment opportunities, industry site visits, job shadows, and more. The ECSS PM is the primary 'STEM Champion' at their school site, serving as a STEM cultural ambassador to further the school-wide integration of STEM programs and practices. The PM will also be the face the STEM program in the community, interfacing with parents and community members to support enrollment in the school and program. 

The ECSS PM will cultivate and support crucial relationships with industry and college partners. The PM works in conjunction with the school administration, industry partners, teaching staff, and CPS central office staff to provide a robust set of experiences for students that result in students graduating high school with early college credits, an increased interest in STEM-related fields, and workplace skills for employability and success in a STEM career. The ECSS PM is a primary point of contact for many stakeholders, including industry partners, post-secondary partners, and other external organizations, and must ensure their continued high-level of collaboration and support as well as their continued integration into the life of the school.

The STEM Program Manager is based at the school and acts as a member of the school’s leadership team. This is a 52-week position, which will report to and be evaluated by the School principal and the Office of College and Career Success. 

Primary Roles and Responsibilities

Academic Support

  • Serve as primary point and lead for coordinating logistics of early college program with partner schools

  • Coordinate recruitment and engagement efforts for students in early college programs and supports

  • Facilitate the enrollment of students in strategically scheduled dual enrollment courses at CCC or dual credit courses offered by certified school faculty

  • Lead or participate in procurement and management of budgets for designated ECSS programs

  • Facilitate school and external stakeholder communication and collaboration as appropriate to execute effective early college program

  • Collaborate with administration and facilitate support to maximize student success in early college courses

  • Work with school staff to develop academic pathways in STEM fields that lead to college and career readiness

  • Create plans for students to earn college credits and career certifications

  • Work-based Learning Experiences (e.g. internships, mentoring, job shadows)

  • Collaborate with school leadership and industry partners to determine learning goals, projects, and select students for individual placements in work experiences

  • Work with industry partners to create project-based and work-based learning and training activities for teachers that support their continued education and exposure to technical innovation and deployment in local businesses

  • Serve as primary point of contact; conducting regular check-ins with students, teachers, and managers

  • Maintain a strong relationship with corporate partner and facilitate purposeful interactions and a high level of engagement

  • STEM Enrichment and Community Engagement

  • Engage existing partners and seek out new partners to provide robust set of STEM, career, and college learning opportunities for students

  • Support development and implementation of engaging STEM related enrichment; support student recruitment and work to increase interest and experience in STEM fields through enrichment

  • Promote STEM awareness and engagement through targeted partnerships and activities (e.g. STEM Exploration Family Nights, Future Cities Competition) that enhance academic achievement across the curriculum, specifically in literacy and math

  • Act as a school and STEM program ambassador during school visits and recruitment events

  • In order to be successful and achieve the above responsibilities, an Early College STEM Program Manager must possess the following qualifications:

    Education and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree and a minimum of three to five years of project/program management experience or associate degree and equivalent experience.

  • Advanced degrees and experience in urban school environment a plus

  • Experience with/understanding of STEM landscape a plus

  • Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Demonstrated ability to resolve issues and conflicts within the project team and manage project dependencies and critical paths

  • Ability to collaborate and communicate with school leadership, universities, partners, and other key stakeholders to facilitate successful implementation and execution of projects and initiatives

  • Ability to create and use robust data sets to inform planning, execution, and drive for results

  • Ability to prioritize, manage, and drive success on multiple projects simultaneously

  • Demonstrated ability and/or willingness to work collaboratively with a diverse school community to promote STEM awareness and engagement through targeted partnerships and activities 

  • Demonstrated technical skills: Microsoft Office (Excel) and data management / analysis tools

  • Demonstrated excellence in interpersonal skills which include both oral and written communication

  • Predisposition to be proactive and a self-starter; comfort with ambiguity and ability to troubleshoot and to devise targeted, ad hoc solutions

  • Willingness to complete additional tasks assigned by the principal 

  • Evident passion for and commitment to serving students; practical understanding of the urban district setting for school improvement; comfort with high school aged students

  • Availability for occasional evening and weekend commitments

  • Residency Requirement:

    As a condition of employment with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), employees are required to live within the geographic boundaries of the City of Chicago within six months of their CPS hire date and must maintain residency throughout their employment with the district.

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