Propel America, Chief Program Officer

Propel America - Remote - Full time


Our country's education and workforce systems are inequitable, failing to meet the needs of our country’s most marginalized citizens. Historically, workforce education has led to low-wage jobs disconnected from ongoing higher education, creating significant career advancement barriers. At the same time, traditional higher education has increasingly become unaffordable for Americans from lower-income backgrounds while lacking direct connection to the labor market. The consequences of these systemic failures are dire.

At Propel America, we believe a better system should and can exist. Propel America believes high school graduates shouldn’t have to choose between forestalling income and accruing significant debt while pursuing a traditional college degree or forestalling education and mobility for low-wage, entry-level work with few opportunities for advancement. Propel is building that better system – a Jobs-First Higher Education – that allows young adults from low-income backgrounds to access an affordable and efficient educational pathway to a good job that serves as a springboard to a choice-filled life.

By working backward from the needs of established employer partners, Propel America:

  • Supports young adults (18 to 24 years old), particularly those from low-income backgrounds, to prepare for living wage jobs
  • Partners with training and higher education organizations to offer in-demand credentials that allow students (or “fellows,” as we call them) to earn college credits
  • Provides wraparound coaching and professional skill development to ensure fellows have what they need to succeed in their job interview on the first day of work and a plan for ongoing education and career advancement.

To learn more about Propel America, please visit


Propel’s Chief Program Officer is responsible for leading the vision and strategy for the model as Propel aspires to have a more significant impact on supporting young adults in obtaining an upwardly-mobile first job. Through strategic partnerships with training providers and employers, Propel is refining and implementing a portfolio of blended, market-aligned, credential-to-bachelors programs that support fellows across the country in accessing postsecondary training and high-growth careers – and the Chief Program Officer will play a vital role in this effort as a leader, partner, and strategist.

Reporting to the President and serving as a critical member of the executive team, the CPO will enter Propel America at a pivotal moment of strategic-decision making and growth. This entrepreneurial leader will lead the optimization of the direct-service model to ensure increasingly greater impact with fellows and interoperability across partners, while also supporting the development and deployment of a longer-term strategy that scales and creates more favorable conditions to advance a Jobs-First Higher Education.

Propel America’s incoming Chief Program Officer will become part of a growing, committed, collaborative, fun, and values-driven team, with three Vice Presidents as direct reports. The successful candidate will partner with their leadership team to bolster efficacy in recruiting young adults to Propel’s fellowship, providing best-in-class career-aligned coaching, and designing a tech-enabled model that can rapidly scale. Propel’s Chief Program Officer will lead and motivate colleagues across the organization and external partners toward achieving Propel America’s ambitious goals of advancing a Jobs-First Higher Education with a focus on impact, innovation, growth, and sustainability.


The Chief Program Officer's responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

Operate As An Executive Leader Of Strategy, Impact, And Culture

  • Design and develop a best-in-class, competency-based, tech-enabled model to support young adults in getting and retaining family-sustaining jobs – inclusive of refining go-to-market strategy, deployment of coaching services, and management of curriculum design – all while ensuring Propel’s model remains grounded in the evolving macro context and relevant emerging patterns and needs.
  • Drive the development of a “blended” delivery model in partnership with a portfolio of higher education institutions that ultimately enable Propel’s intentions for scale.
  • Set the vision and programmatic requirements for the technology stack to support and enable a more significant impact on fellow support and decreased implementation costs.
  • In collaboration with Propel’s Executive Team, establish and drive short- and long-term strategies for scale and sustainability of the program within and outside existing geographies, and help shape Propel’s longer-term indirect strategy.
  • Partner with Propel’s Chief External Affairs Officer and Client Services leaders to further engage key leaders and stakeholders across higher education and employer partnerships.
  • Serve as an inspirational leader for staff; promote a culture of strong integrity, high performance, meaningful collaboration, and continuous improvement that values commitment to equity, learning, and impact.
  • Represent Propel America - the vision, mission, values, and work - and serve as an ambassador for the organization with our Board of Directors, and across a broad range of stakeholders at the national level.

Manage Performance, Talent, And Resources

  • Be accountable to Propel America’s top-line goals related to the fellow experience and coordinate the appropriate efforts to ensure they’re met.
  • With the President, establish annual programmatic priorities, aggressive but achievable objectives, and key results across the program, and guide the vision for how Propel achieves and strategically builds towards the optimal fellow experience.
  • Drive data-informed programming through oversight of research and evaluation, development of systems for analysis, and decisive decision-making to achieve a more sustainable, effective, and efficient program.
  • Evolve and strengthen a program staffing structure that drives cohesive execution of the programmatic vision; directly manage, coach, and develop three leadership team members to drive sustained impact through team/individual-level growth.
  • Manage a program team budget of $4M.

Build A Culture And Commitment To Learning And Innovation

  • Pursue opportunities that support Propel America in developing a programmatic model that deepens impact, decreases the costs associated with its design and deployment, and allows Propel to grow its market leadership in pioneering a Jobs-First Higher Education.
  • Partner with the Executive Team in the management of Propel’s Innovation Agenda and oversee its implementation (including running the innovation priorities/tests, codifying learning, and implementing that learning at scale).
  • Leverage fellow, higher ed, and employer insights, market research, and data to evolve the fellow experience and align programmatic offerings.
  • Partner with the program leadership team to maintain a culture of learning, commitment to remaining agile and flexible, and decisiveness in adjusting course as new information becomes available.


  • 10+ years of experience as a senior leader of a growing product, program, or design team, with extensive experience and knowledge in college and workforce access and success space.
  • Strong values-alignment and equity orientation to advancing a Job-First Higher Education approach for our fellows, and experience with and knowledge of the population we serve.
  • Strong track record in managing cross-functional teams, leading teams through periods of high growth and change, and guiding high-level, enterprise-wide initiatives
  • Deep experience in designing, developing, and implementing an organization-wide programmatic vision, with a strong track record of decisive prioritization and strategic thinking skills.
  • Influential leadership skills that support the cultivation and stewardship of deep relationships with a diverse set of constituents across multiple sectors (K-12, for-profit, higher education, and non-profit).
  • Entrepreneurial mindset and experience in navigating complex environments while leading and supporting others in achieving enterprise-wide priorities and goals
  • Deep curiosity about how technology and data can enhance program and product development.
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills.
  • Education credentials that support preparedness for this role are preferred, including but not limited to a bachelor’s degree.
  • Willingness to travel up to 25% of the time.


The salary for this position is between $200K-$240K annually. Propel America offers a competitive total rewards package including coverage of 90% of health insurance premiums, unlimited PTO, 401k contribution up to 5% of base salary, and a flexible work environment.


Please submit a resume online at

Propel America is an equal opportunity employer and an organization that values diversity. Recruiting staff to create an inclusive organization is a priority, and we encourage applicants from all backgrounds. Candidates are evaluated solely on their qualifications to perform the work required.

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C Level Executive Leadership

Experience Level

Senior Level

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