Employment at the Garden

Community Education Manager, Windy City Harvest (Chicago, IL)

Job Status:
Requisition Number:
Windy City Harvest
Reports to:
Program Director, Windy City Harvest
North Lawndale Youth Farm Coordinator, Washington Park Youth Farm Coordinator, Green Youth Farm in Lake County Coordinator, Guest Instructors
The Community Education Manager oversees the community education and engagement work of Windy City Harvest (WCH), including (but not limited to) our Youth Farm program, sustainable agriculture workshops, and community-based events.
This Manager will oversee all aspects of programming and administration of Windy City Harvest Youth Farm program. For almost 20 years, Windy City Harvest Youth Farms have served as vital youth development programs for high school students at North Lawndale, Washington Park, and Lake County Youth Farms. Youth Farm exposes young people to various issues around local food systems and nurtures leadership and community engagement through paid employment at our farms. The Manager will oversee professional development plans for Youth Farm staff to support them maintaining best practices for youth development programming.
In addition to managing the performance of Youth Farm coordinators and the programs they run, the Manager is responsible for managing community education and events. The Community Education Manager handles all on-site public classes at the Farm on Ogden, community-based events and educational opportunities and tours. This person will also onboard and place volunteers at Windy City Harvest sites.
This position requires excellent organizational skills, flexibility, and clear communication with a variety of community members, Windy City Harvest participants and industry partners.
The ideal candidate for this position has deep connections to the communities we work in, experience leading youth and/or nature-based programming and enjoys working outdoors as part of a collaborative urban agriculture team.
Duties and Responsibilities:

In this role you will be responsible for the following: 

Youth Farm Program Administration (approx. 40% of role)

  • Coordinate and oversee the development, implementation, and ongoing evaluation of all Youth Farm programs
  • Oversee recruitment for all Youth Farm sites and program sessions
  • Create an annual program calendar for Youth Farm programming in coordination with Coordinators and program partners
  • Refine Youth Farm curriculum with clear educational and workforce development goals
  • Serve as a resource for Youth Farmer and staff management issues including but not limited to: referrals for services, conflict management, disciplinary issues.
  • Manage contracts for student stipend payment with partner organizations
  • Work collaboratively with the Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) Development and Accounting departments to report out on yearly budgets and grant deliverables.
    • Oversee the collection and tracking of program surveys and assessments. Prepare essential reports as it relates to programs
    • Ensure compliance of all relevant contracts and grants
    • Oversee budget and expense reports for each Youth Farm site and program as a whole

Staff and Volunteer Management (approx. 20% of role)

  • Oversee all ADP processes, ensuring all staff associated with Youth Farm are following payroll best practices
  • Manage performance of Youth Farm Coordinators including creation of production schedules, weekly check-ins, and annual performance review.
  • Oversee the hiring, orientation, and training for the Youth Farm team including Coordinators, interns, and program participants.
  • Oversee Windy City Harvest volunteers. Conduct yearly onboarding and placement at WCH sites. Work with CBG Volunteer Services to make sure WCH volunteers follow all appropriate procedures
  • Manage volunteer orientation, site assignments and hours reporting. Strategically recruit volunteers near Windy City Harvest sites for community building and engagement

Community Education and Engagement (approx. 30% of role)

  • Develop, promote, track, and evaluate all short courses in sustainable urban agriculture including one-day intensives and free community workshops.
  • Creatively utilize a variety of media platforms to tell compelling stories about Windy City Harvest education opportunities, community building initiatives and events that result in increased engagement and class enrollments.
  • Train and support Windy City Harvest staff, guest instructors and volunteers to facilitate short courses, workshops, and events.
  • Track and interpret class data to make strategic changes for upcoming seasons in the effort to increase accessibility, relevancy and attendance in short courses, workshops, and events.
  • Collaborate with Communications, Events and Marketing staff at Chicago Botanic Garden to promote classes and events through Chicago Botanic Garden channels.
  • Cultivate and steward community outreach opportunities for Windy City Harvest programs to support program development, innovation, and improvement
  • Act as a liaison in community action groups and neighborhood associations by attending appropriate community meetings and special events and ensuring participation by appropriate program staff
  • Implement a year-round plan for strategic community engagement that ensures a variety of classes and events for diverse audiences, and includes culturally appropriate, accessible and community centered programming.
  • Manage inquiries, booking and day-of logistics for space rentals and tours at the Farm on Ogden.
  • Schedules tours with new & existing community partners

Windy City Harvest Management Team (approx. 10% of role)

  • Work as part of the WCH leadership team to ensure all aspects of WCH programming and production are running as efficiently as possible
  • Work with the Operations team to ensure that all production goals and deadlines are being met for Youth Farm sites
  • Assist with yearly staff onboarding and training
  • Act as part of a team of managers to support Windy City Harvest initiatives
  • Support and represent WCH and CBG within coalitions at the local, state and national level.

Key Garden competencies/behaviors desired:

  • Communicates in a manner that gains the trust and support of others at all levels.
  • Works effectively with others despite differences of opinion and style; builds alliances.
  • Has a tolerance for opposing points of view.
  • Strives for collaboration. Works cooperatively, as a positive contributor to the team.
  • Demonstrates a positive attitude and shows kindness in all workplace interactions.
  • Makes decisions appropriate for level of responsibility.
  • Can effectively adapt to change; can shift gears comfortably; is flexible, and embraces change with a “can-do” attitude.
  • Is self-aware; knows personal strengths and weaknesses; seeks feedback and is open to negative feedback as an opportunity for improvement.
  • Is cool under pressure; can be counted on to hold things together during tough times; can handle stress; is not knocked off balance by the unexpected; is a settling influence during a crisis.
  • Recognizes problems, constructively identifies and articulates solutions.
  • Picks up garbage when it is seen regardless of position.
  • Follows safety guidelines to ensure a safe working environment and consistently demonstrates safe work behaviors.
  • Is welcoming of new hires.
  • Manages crisis and unexpected events with steadiness and professionalism
  • Effectively supervises and oversees the responsibilities of others.
  • Communicates in a manner that gains trust, support, and cooperation of others at all levels.
  • Practices with cultural sensitivity to accept and respond to differing needs, opinions, and styles and support a respectful workplace environment for all.

Our ideal candidate will have the following:

  • Demonstrated ability developing and leading community programming
  • Two or more years of supervisory experience
  • Demonstrated experience building and sustaining positive and collaborative partnerships with diverse constituents
  • Experience budgeting, tracking, and reporting on grants in a non-profit setting
  • Experience implementing creative methods of community organizing and engagement
  • Knowledge of sustainable urban farming practices
  • Project management skills: ability to multitask, problem-solve, prioritize, and to create systems and processes on a timely basis.
  • Comfortable working independently and taking initiative.
  • Experience tracking data accurately with excel and/or other technology
  • Commitment to being a supportive resource for program participants, community residents & project partners
  • Commitment to the mission of Windy City Harvest
  • A strong interest in working with youth development and transitional jobs
  • A valid driver’s license with good driving record
  • This position requires occasional evening and weekend availability
  • Excellent communication skills: email, phone, person, etc.

*The Chicago Botanic Garden requires all existing employees to be fully COVID-19 vaccinated by October 15, 2021; hires after this date must be fully vaccinated upon hire or may request a medical/religious exemption after an offer is extended.*

Physical Demands:
Office and farm setting. Frequent sitting, standing, walking, bending, listening, speaking, and keyboarding. Use of office equipment including computers, telephones, copiers, scanners, and fax machines. Some requirements for lifting, pushing, or pulling items less than 30 pounds. Ability to work outside in all weather conditions.
Why Apply?:

Come work in a setting that is like no other as you support our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Take the first step toward being one of the employees who make the Garden one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply today. Please note that applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.

Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is a M/F, Disabled, and Vet EEO/AA Employer.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, and basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX coordinator should you have questions or concerns.