Program Manager

| September 30, 2020

Program Manager

There are few more pressing moral imperatives than improving the lives of the thousands of young children in our region. The Rockford region stands on the precipice of reinvention, with an opportunity to create tangible short-term and generational change for our youngest residents, their families, and the ecosystems that surround them.  Our community has embraced the Erikson Institute’s Early Development Instrument (EDI), which provides a data-driven, community-level understanding of child development and informs us where efforts and resources should be focused.  We seek a unique individual that will guide our community through the implementation of this game-changing program and ensure all children in our community are Ready to Learn when they start school.


The Program Manager organizes and manages the implementation of the Ready to Learn Project in the Rockford region using the Erikson Institute’s Early Development Instrument (EDI). The Program Manager will provide ongoing support by guiding the initiative’s vision and strategies, supporting aligned activities, establishing shared measurement practices, building public will, advancing policy, and mobilizing resources.  They will coordinate planning and interventions to make both short-term and generational improvements in education readiness, quality of life, and human flourishing.


  1. Develop the framework of the Ready to Learn collaborative as a backbone support organization to effectively coordinate and support a strategic work plan across organizations in the region.
  2. Communicate with all partners to ensure project is on-track and is being implemented smoothly.
  3. Liaise with participating Champions & Pilot team members on a bi-weekly to monthly basis.
  4. Support Ready to Learn Pilot team & community partners with resources and materials.  Assist with building the capacity of organizations with regards to community planning, data literacy and communications.
  5. Support the gathering of data sets and demographic information from communities.
  6. Collaborate with other team members to ensure message consistency.
  7. Assist in organizing and maintaining program documentation, resources, and tools to improve efficiency and standardize processes.
  8. Use identified EDI data to create audience-specific communication materials aimed at enhancing understanding and the use of research evidence in program design and delivery.
  9. Support team members on research and special projects, as needed.
  10. Coordinate the implementation of data analysis and systematic evidence and policy reviews.
  11. Promote application of research findings in decision-making processes at national, regional, and international levels.
  12. Deploy and facilitate a multi-faceted approach to ensure progress over the next 3yrs.
  13. Assist in growing content in the following areas:
    • Coordinate the development of a common agenda where all participants share a vision for change that includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving the problem through agreed-upon actions.
    • Drive a shared measurement by ensuring all participating organizations reach consensus on the way to success
    • Reinforce activities across a diverse set of stakeholders, typically across sectors, coordinating a set of differentiated activities through action plans.
    • Provide continuous communication to build trust, increase engagement, and reinforce shared motivation.
    • Engage work streams to promote the betterment of all children and families.
    • Facilitate monthly large group committee meetings and bi-monthly team meetings that will design action plans over the course of 3yrs (developing accountability measures and sustainability plans).
  1. Directly connect with schools, community champions, and work in collaboration with the Erikson project team.
  2. Suggest and implement new features to develop Ready to Learn awareness within the community.
  3. Perform other duties as assigned.


  1. Receive direction and supervision from: the Executive Director of Alignment Rockford
  2. Work in collaboration with: the RPS 205 Executive Director of Early Childhood and the Erikson Institute Associate Director of the Early Development Instrument
  3. Support: Healthy Starts A-Teams: Ready to Learn, Alignment Rockford Operating Board, Team Leads


The Program Manager will have a high-level responsibility for communication with internal and external participants and will need to have exceptional verbal and written communication skills.  All communications with school officials, community members, and elected officials must recognize these individuals as the experts in the lives of the children. The Program Manager will need to possess and be willing to enhance their skills in establishing a collaborative and welcoming atmosphere representing diversity across race, class, religion, ability, gender and sexual orientation identification, and proactively crafting efforts to reduce barriers to equal project participation that these and other groups may face.


  1. A bachelor’s degree in a social science or related field (e.g., child development, education, psychology, public health) OR related work-equivalent experience required.  Master’s degree a plus.
  2. Demonstrated experience managing a project from planning through implementation.
  3. Strong organizational skills.
  4. At least 5-7 years of experience in a role of progressive responsibility.
  5. Excellent writing and speaking skills required.
  6. Proven experience with spreadsheets and databases is required.
  7. Candidates must have their own transportation and be available to attend meetings scheduled outside the normal 9AM-5PM Alignment Rockford workday.
  8. Bilingual Spanish/English a plus.


            Microsoft Suite


The EDI approach provides a community-level understanding in child development that informs where efforts and resources should be focused.  It compels stakeholders to look back and assess how our community can better support early childhood development and prepare children for school as well as look forward to inform how to address the needs of the current cohort of kindergarten children as they progress through school. Proactively identifying and addressing needs through the EDI allows us to focus on increasing the chances of children reaching their greatest potential.  This precise data will aid in understanding trends and patterns in a child’s early development for the purpose of better community planning around holistic supports and services as they continue to grow in our neighborhoods.

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