Employment at the Garden

Senior Manager, Workforce Development, WCH (Chicago, IL)

Job Status:
Requisition Number:
Windy City Harvest
Reports to:
Programs Director, Windy City Harvest
Harvest Corps Coordinator, Harvest Corps Crew Leaders, Harvest Corps Crew Members
The Chicago Botanic Garden's Windy City Harvest is looking for a senior manager of workforce development to lead our transitional jobs and workforce development programs. The workforce development manager will be part of the Windy City Harvest team. They will work closely with all members of our urban agriculture programs and operations team.

The workforce development manager employs 30 to 50 justice-involved individuals and veterans per year in closely mentored, full-time, paid transitional jobs. Our goal is to support our graduates in finding full-time, long-term employment. This job training program is based on the Department of Family and Support Services Community Development Block Grant Transitional Jobs Program. The workforce development manager will build relationships with employers and recruitment partners.

Windy City Harvest Corps training is on the farm training for 13 weeks, Monday through Friday, full time. Monday through Thursday are in the field and Fridays are focused on environmental literacy and job search activities.

The workforce development manager will assist with program evaluation and data collection, developing individual employment plans, career assessment and planning, and making evidence-based recommendations for all Windy City Harvest program activities. They will lead the recruiting, hiring, and onboarding of all Windy City Harvest Corps staff and participants.

The workforce development manager will lead job development classes and support participants in developing employability and transferrable skills (i.e. attendance, communication, teamwork, and workplace safety). They will also support participants with Individual Employment Plan goals and connect our work at Windy City Harvest to their future employment goals.

The ideal candidate for this position has experience working with individuals involved in the justice system and is motivated to find creative ways to empower Windy City Harvest Corps members to find meaningful and worthy employment.

For more information on the Windy City Harvest Corps program, please visit our website: chicagobotanic.org/urban_agriculture_windy_city_harvest_corps

Duties and Responsibilities:

In this role you will be responsible for the following:
Grant Administration
•     Define metrics and lead tracking, data collection, and evaluation for Windy City Harvest Corps, Youth Farm, and Apprenticeship graduates.
•     Follow the Department of Family and Support Services grant criteria and meet performance goals.
•     Administer, submit, and file all grant compliance paperwork in accordance with funder requirements.
•     Report out to Chicago Botanic Garden development department on WCH workforce tracking metrics.
•     Track participants' employment after they complete Windy City Harvest Corps for up to two years and complete employment verification paperwork at benchmark dates set by funders.

Staff Management
•     Train and manage the Windy City Harvest Corps coordinator and three to four seasonal Windy City Harvest Corps crew leaders and provide feedback and professional development opportunities.
•     Develop and foster referral partner relationships to recruit Windy City Harvest Corps participants.
•     Hire 30 to 50 Corps participants per year for three 13-week cohorts.
•     Ensure all Corps participants are held to the Windy City Harvest standards agreement and given consistent weekly feedback.
•     Complete regular check-in and support participants in meeting their employment goals.
•     Oversee implementation of job development curriculum across programs.
•     Support WCH program participants in moving between Youth Farm and Corps to the Apprenticeship.

Job Development
•     Develop and foster employment partner relationships for graduates of Corps, Apprenticeship, and Youth Farm.
•     Maintain consistent working relationship with employment partners including HR and supervisory staff in food-related industries.
•     Assist participants in gaining full-time employment.
•     Develop Individual Employment Plans for participants (IEP).
•     Maintain and grow relationships with Corps employment and referral partners.
•     Provide supportive follow-up services with participants after they have been placed in full-time jobs.
•     Oversee implementation of job development curriculum across all Windy City Harvest programs.
       o  Lead job development workshops in topics including writing resumes and cover letters, completing job applications, and preparing for interviews.
       o  Assist crew members in writing resumes and cover letters, applying for jobs, and preparing for interviews.
       o  Supervise crew leaders and volunteers providing one-to-one and small group mentoring during job development classes.
       o  Lead Roots of Success classes—an environmental literacy and job readiness curriculum. Train WCH staff to lead Roots of Success.

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.

Our ideal candidate will have the following:
•     Experience working with adults returning to or entering the workforce
•     Minimum two years of experience working with a transitional jobs program
•     Experience working with participants who have been involved with the justice system and veterans
•     Demonstrated experience building successful relationships with program participants, employment partners, and recruitment partners
•     Experience implementing performance-based job training grants and meeting placement goals
•     Supervisory experience is mandatory, providing feedback and executing standards to crew leaders
•     Job readiness training experience
•     Demonstrated understanding and commitment to transitional jobs
•     Experience giving constructive verbal and written feedback to staff and participants to prepare them for their next employment opportunities
•     Experience tracking programmatic data accurately
•     A valid driver’s license with a good driving record
•     Commitment to being a supportive resource for program participants, community residents, and project partners
•     Familiarity with creative methods of community organizing and engagement
•     A detail-oriented personality with the capacity to multi-task and problem solve
•     Experience working with Microsoft Office (i.e. Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and Google suite
•     Excellent communication skills: email, phone, and in person
•     Dependable and punctual
•     Able to work well under pressure and the capacity to stay organized and focused on employment placement for participants
•     Able to follow a production schedule to maintain relationships and follow up with participants, partners, and team

*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.*



Apply for Senior Manager Workforce Development, WCH (Chicago, IL) using the link below:

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Physical Demands:
This is an urban farm setting. Staff must be able to work on their feet all day in all weather conditions performing manual labor. This will involve frequent lifting, standing, walking, bending, farm tool usage, machinery operation, and speaking to public, staff, and program participants. Staff is also required to lift, push, and pull items up to 50 pounds. Staff are expected to work in multiple locations.
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, or 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.