Heartland Fund is seeking a Program Lead for Economic & Workforce Development to support the new Resource Rural program. The position requires a strategic leader who is committed to enabling rural and tribal communities to leverage available federal resources under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and other federal legislation to create quality local jobs and strengthen the economic vitality of their region. They will drive the creation of resources, tools, and support to advance the work of place-based partners focused on economic and workforce development goals.

The Program Lead will play a key role in helping place-based partners and grantees track, understand, and apply for the various federal funding opportunities. They will also help our partners design and implement workforce and jobs strategies tied to federal investment that enable the creation of quality jobs for local people, including those that face barriers to employment. This may include assisting local partners with the development and implementation of Community Benefits Agreements, Project Labor Agreements, and local hire requirements. The Program Lead will document and facilitate learning concerning how to create quality jobs tied to federal investment in a rural context.

We are looking for a collaborative team player with a track record of supporting economic and workforce development in underserved communities, a commitment to equitable rural prosperity, and a passion for promoting quality jobs in rural communities. The successful candidate will be a service-oriented project manager and a resourceful and strategic leader.

This is an exciting and dynamic position with opportunities for leadership and rewarding collaborations with local rural and tribal leaders. You will have an opportunity to help develop and implement a brand new initiative with a diverse range of partners. We are building a small but mighty team to enable historic, equitable investment in rural America.

Applications will be accepted now, but not reviewed until after the holidays beginning in early January. Applications will then be considered on a rolling basis, with interviews anticipated to start in mid-January 2024. The desired start date is March 2024.

This is a remote position with a salary range of $90,000 to $110,000 and includes a generous benefits package.

About the Organization 

Heartland Fund is a funding collaborative built to support and connect local leaders and organizations working for progress across diverse communities in rural areas, towns and small cities. Heartland’s grantmaking supports rural people working to transform their lives and communities to advance shared prosperity and democracy. We invest in issue advocacy, community organizing infrastructure, civic engagement, and sustainable urban-rural coalitions, and we prioritize racial equity in all aspects of our work. In addition to grantmaking, Heartland also supports rural leaders and organizations through convening, research, and communications.

Heartland Fund is launching Resource Rural (RR), a new program which focuses on effective federal funding implementation to ensure historic climate and infrastructure investments land for maximum impact in rural communities. Heartland is also home to the Rural Climate Partnership (RCP), which supports hometowns across America to accelerate climate solutions and build healthy local economies. Our RR and RCP programs help remove barriers to federal funding for rural communities – through place-based technical assistance, local organizing, and a large-scale communications and narrative effort – to make a tangible difference in rural people’s lives and advance climate mitigation and resilience.

Why Resource Rural?

As unprecedented levels of federal infrastructure, economic development, and climate-focused resources begin to flow, we have a generational opportunity to make sure this funding lands where it is most needed and can have the biggest impact. Without targeted action, this influx of resources is likely to reinforce, rather than interrupt, entrenched patterns of geographic, racial, and economic inequity because communities with resources are fully prepared to take advantage of the opportunities, while rural communities—especially communities of color and low-wealth communities—are not. Helping underserved rural communities land these resources can dramatically improve quality of life for rural residents, advance climate solutions, and send a powerful message about the importance of federal investment to creating strong local communities and a healthy multi-racial democracy.

The Resource Rural Program

Resource Rural is an ambitious five-year program designed to build engagement, capacity and expertise, and a rural voice at the table in the national conversation about climate progress, workforce development, and equitable community and economic development. The program is built on four key strategies:

Resource Rural National Hub and Resource Partners: To address the capacity gaps that prevent rural communities and organizations from accessing federal dollars, Resource Rural will collaborate with local and regional partners to launch a national Resource Rural hub that supports place-based implementation. Place-based resource partners will provide support directly to rural communities, including grant funding, coordination, and technical assistance, while national hub staff will integrate resources and facilitate learning and rapid sharing of models across the network.
High-Leverage Climate Opportunities: To stimulate a virtuous cycle within which rural residents appreciate the benefits of interrelated economic and climate outcomes, Resource Rural will support high leverage efforts to unlock powerful climate resources (e.g., grants, incentives, rebates, tax credits) in key federal programs to benefit diverse constituencies and tackle barriers to clean energy implementation.
Resource Rural Communications Action Center: To shift rural narratives around federal investment and climate action, Resource Rural will invest in strategic communications and a coordinated narrative that finds and amplifies local success stories and centers how rural people have benefitted their communities and made progress on clean energy opportunities, infrastructure gaps, and economic development using federal investments.
Organizing and Advocacy Support: To make sure these resources truly benefit rural people, especially those most in need, Resource Rural will support organizing and advocacy in key places at the state and local levels focused on federal implementation participation, rule-making, and spending.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities 

The Program Lead, Economic & Workforce Development will report to the Resource Rural Director and will hold the following responsibilities:

Place-Based Partner Support

Serves as primary liaison for designated Resource Rural place-based partners seeking to access and/or implement federal funding for community and economic development, infrastructure, and jobs/workforce efforts;
Tracks and understands high value federal funding opportunities for rural and tribal communities that align with these areas;
Creates tools, templates, communication materials related to federal funding opportunities;
Supports place-based partners’ efforts to create quality local jobs by providing guidance and resources related to Community Benefits Agreements, Project Labor Agreements, local hire requirements and rural workforce strategies;
Develops relationships with key federal staff and intermediaries providing technical assistance and support, shares relevant information with Resource Rural place-based partners, and facilitates partnerships that can accelerate their work;

Learning & Research Support

Designs and facilitates the Resource Rural community of practice and learning groups focused on specific topics identified through consultation with and guidance from place-based partners;
Leverages the community of practice to identify tools, templates, research, and support that can advance place-based partners work to secure federal funding and create quality local jobs;
Develops and manages data collection, management, and reporting in a way that minimizes the burden on local partners and supports learning, reporting, and research;
Contributes to the development of our learning and research agenda and works with partners to execute the learning and research agenda;
Distills and shares learning with funders and stakeholders in a compelling manner.

Grantmaking & Grant Management

Coordinates identification of potential grantees (place-based partners),  and conducts due diligence and oversight on grants and contracts;
Participates in application and proposal reviews. Presents grant and contract recommendations as needed to the leadership teams;
Coordinates with grants and operations staff on grant agreements and monitors grantees and contractors regularly and provides updates on grantee/contractor performance, activities, needs, and opportunities;

Communications & Policy

Helps elevate stories for the Resource Rural Communications Action Center and identifies communications opportunities and needs;
Provides program related updates and new content for communications platforms and development materials;
Helps capture insights to drive policy discussions with state and federal agencies;
Identifies policy and advocacy opportunities and works with the Resource Rural Advocacy and Organizing Director to connect advocacy resources to state partners to advance implementation goals.

Organizational Development & Support

Works collaboratively with team members to establish effective and efficient work processes, plan meetings, and contribute to organizational learning;
Facilitates project management and partnership, maintaining files, documents and shared communications systems;
Provides fundraising support to the Resource Rural Director, such as proposal writing, grant reports, and preparation of promotional materials; and
Fulfills other duties as requested by the Director.

We realize that some great candidates may not have every single thing on this list – that’s OK!  If this job posting piques your interest, we encourage you to apply.

Minimum Qualifications

Minimum of 5-7 years of experience in non-profit or public program strategy development and management.
Knowledge of major federal programs and the agencies and organizations that are actively working to implement federally-funded projects and initiatives related to community and economic development, infrastructure, and workforce.
Experience with workforce development, economic development, or job creation strategies and familiarity with key actors in this space (e.g., employers, unions, higher ed  institutions, nonprofits), preferably in a rural or tribal context.
Strong lived or professional experience with rural issues and communities.
Excellent oral presentation, writing, and interpersonal skills.
Excellent customer service skills, including responsiveness and strong ability to understand and anticipate a partner’s needs and find ways to advance their goals and objectives.
Strong commitment to racial justice and fluency with equity and anti-racist practices.
Demonstrated ability to listen deeply, hold space for different perspectives, and work with people from a variety of political, cultural, and social backgrounds.
Working knowledge of a range of communications and technology platforms, such as Monday, Slack, AirTable, Excel, basic data visualization tools, and Google Apps.
Willingness to travel occasionally across regions in the US (e.g., once or twice a quarter, for site visits, conferences, or in-person team meetings).

Highly Desired Qualifications

Experience successfully navigating federal grant processes (i.e. grantseeking, post-award compliance and management).
Demonstrated ability to independently own, manage, and drive complex projects, involving a high degree of cross-org collaboration.
Excellent tech acumen and ability to creatively use digital tools (e.g., data visualization tools, ChatGPT, Otter.Ai, etc.) to increase efficiency and advance learning, communication, and program goals.

Compensation & Job Design

This is a permanent, full time exempt staff position with occasional travel. The organization is virtual, and the position may work remotely from their home within the United States. Expected compensation will be based on skills and experience, with an approximate salary range of $90,000 to $110,000. Comprehensive benefits package includes 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance for employees (and their families). Employees are able to enroll in 401k retirement plan and are eligible for a 3% automatic contribution and up to a 3% employer match on 401k contributions. Employees are also eligible for pre-tax transportation benefits. Employees will receive 120 hours of vacation time, 80 hours of health leave, up to 2 days of casual leave, and 20 hours of volunteer leave annually. Employees will also receive 13 paid holidays throughout the calendar year. Employees are eligible for 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave after 90 days of employment. All employees of Windward are required to complete timesheets.

Resource Rural is a program of the Heartland Fund. Heartland Fund is fiscally sponsored by the Windward Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. Windward is committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and enables each of us to realize our potential. Windward’s work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and all other classifications protected by law in the locality and/or state in which you are working.

Windward participates in E-Verify and will provide the federal government with employees’ Form I-9 information to confirm authorization to work in the United States. Job candidates and employees with the right to work may not be discriminated against on the basis of national origin or citizenship status.

To Apply 

Applications will be reviewed and considered on a rolling basis starting in January 2024 with interviews anticipated to start in mid-January 2024. Desired start date February or March 2024. Apply by submitting a cover letter and resume to: https://cloversearchworks.hire.trakstar.com/jobs/fk0vu6m

The Heartland Fund is partnering with Clover Search Works on this search. Questions regarding this opportunity are welcomed and can be directed to Sumi Bhat-Kincaid at sumi@cloversearchworks.com.