The foundation’s U.S. Program (USP) works to expand access to life-changing opportunities. That’s why our primary focus in education is ensuring that all students – especially Black and Latino students, and students experiencing poverty – have an opportunity to earn a degree or certificate that prepares them for a successful career and fulfilling life. But often, education isn’t enough. Factors outside of schools and the classroom have an enormous impact on a student’s success. That’s why we’re also supporting efforts by public officials and community groups to better understand and advance economic mobility, leading to permanent ladders out of poverty for families and communities, such that race, ethnicity, and income are no longer predictors of outcomes.
Our US Education programs support young people along the PK-16 continuum, from Pre-Kindergarten through postsecondary. The Early Learning & Pathways team focuses across the critical transition points that are essential to supporting young people’s momentum along their education journey – early learning as the foundational platform for success in elementary school, and the latter half of high school into postsecondary, which is the launching pad for success in the workforce.
Our work in early learning is focused on increasing Kindergarten-readiness among Black, Latino and children experiencing poverty such that they meet third grade benchmarks that are predictive of academic and later-life success. We invest in innovative assessments, curricula and instructional supports, along with data infrastructure and tools that drive improvement in the quality of public Pre-Kindergarten programs.
Our work in Education Pathways focuses on ensuring that Black, Latino and students experiencing poverty access the learning opportunities and guidance and navigation supports needed to obtain credentials of value and gain professional skills, agency, and social capital needed to thrive in the workforce. We support high schools, postsecondary institutions, and employers to adopt and coordinate delivery of effective solutions, aligning K-12/PS programs of study with labor market demand that enable more students to be empowered and prepared to select and pursue postsecondary pathways of value.
Job Description Summary
The Program Officer, High School to Postsecondary Transitions reports to the Director, Early Learning & Pathways, and will work with the Pathways team to deepen our collective knowledge about the potential for improving the availability and adoption of effective student supports in the high school to postsecondary access space, with a focus on opportunities to use digital technologies to improve college and career advising and navigational supports. This role is responsible for managing a discrete grant portfolio and/or providing research and analysis work in support of grant-making, strategy development, coordination, communications and advocacy.
Our ideal colleague embodies a demonstrated dedication to improving post-secondary access and success as a powerful lever for advancing equity in opportunity and outcomes for Black, Latino and students experiencing poverty. You have worked in or with organizations that are developing new practices and models for addressing both the technical and adaptive challenges many schools face, that diminish opportunities for young people beyond high school. You bring both a deliberate, analytical approach and an urgent desire to make progress as fast as possible, so that K-12 systems, in collaboration with postsecondary institutions and community-based organizations, deliver stronger postsecondary readiness and transition outcomes for young people that have been underserved, particularly students of color and those experiencing poverty. You thrive on tackling complex, systemic and market-based problems and facilitating agile and collaborative design processes that create solutions that have the potential for transformative change. You bring substantial technical expertise in data integration, analytics, solutions development and prototyping, balanced with strong communication and collaboration skills. You are a problem solver, skilled in managing collaborative processes and able to balance rigor with practicality.
Support the Pathways team on technical research, development and commercialization projects intended to catalyze more rapid development of innovative models, platforms and tools that use a range of technologies and innovative practices to improve student outcomes in the high school to college transition.
Take a user-centered design approach to help understand incentives for and needs of end users, school/district decision makers, practitioners, developers, distributors, funders, and policy makers to inform solutions development investments.
Cultivate relationships with a range of nonprofit, government and private sector organizations and individuals in relevant technology communities; advise on the role of technology in the development of scalable and sustainable business models related to our priority solutions areas.
Develop initiatives to rapidly synthesize evidence and knowledge across a variety of projects, translate and make available for application among schools, community-based organizations, institutions of higher education, policymakers, and other actors supporting students.
Plan, manage and execute a wide range of activities in support of strategic planning, prospect and develop complex investment opportunities, grant management and external relationship management. Review letters of inquiry and grant proposals; provide clear, concise and insightful written analyses and recommendations for funding, including drafting and editing proposal summaries and progress reports for existing grants for review by leadership.
Manage internal approval and portfolio review processes, ensuring appropriate documentation, grant budgeting and reporting.
Consult with grantees to achieve desired impact of grants; conduct site visits when appropriate, provide technical guidance, convene meetings and apply and evaluate milestone-based performance objectives.
Prepare and write briefs and synthesize existing literature. Provide written analysis of key topics for foundation management.
Contribute to the design of new strategies, collaborations and implementation plans to ensure long-term sustainability and impact.
Represent the Foundation with a wide variety of partners in the field (school districts, vendors, policy makers), build understanding of the foundation’s strategic objectives and appropriate role. Ensure collaborative interactions and clear and consistent communications with grantees and partners.
Core Knowledge and Skills
Deep understanding and experience in interacting with education leaders, technology researchers, early stage developers and nonprofit organizational leaders. Demonstrated ability to develop relationships with a diverse set of partners in service of advancing a complex initiative.
Understanding of historical patterns of structural racism that contribute to access, resource, and opportunity gaps and how these patterns may interact with proposed solutions and initiatives.
Experience applying approaches that elevate the voices of and ensure access for marginalized populations.
Experience in leading technology based solution development, prototyping and validation projects. Extensive project contribution and management experience.
Understand markets and incentives; experience in both public and private sectors highly preferred, comfort with project requirements definition, costing analysis, product-market fit analysis
Deep understanding of programmatic challenges and related supports focused on improving high school to post secondary transition supports including college and career advising.
Strong analytical, writing and verbal skills for communicating with a broad and diverse audience.
Future orientation with ability to work/think in cross disciplinary ways: Able to see short, medium and long term strategies
Systems orientation: Strong synthesis and learning / triangulation skills, ability to do pattern & trend recognition,
Policy knowledge relevant to the design, adoption and implementation of high school to post secondary transition supports.
Data and outcome driven; ability to assess and see opportunities to advance an evidence base.
Education and Experience
Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field.
5+ years working in a variety of roles in both K-12 education and private sector
As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We’re committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. We also believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve—in race, gender, age, cultures and beliefs—and we support this diversity through all of our employment practices.
All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve the mission of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to: