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Community Engagement Manager

Program – Chicago, Illinois
Department Program
Employment Type Full-Time
Minimum Experience Mid-level

Community Engagement Manager (Bilingual – English/Spanish preferred)


Founded in 2013, VOCEL is a non-profit organization that equips young children with the early foundation they need to be successful in school and thrive in life. Through innovative parent support and early learning services rooted in responsiveness, VOCEL jumpstarts young children’s brain growth and equips their first and best teachers – their parents. For more information, please visit www.vocel.org.



VOCEL has reached a critical juncture. Having established and tested an innovative parent-child early learning program to reach children and families unable to access traditional child care but hungry for quality early learning opportunities that equip parents as children’s first and best teachers, VOCEL is poised to accelerate the Child Parent Academy’s growth and expand programming across Chicago. To support these efforts, VOCEL is seeking a dynamic, entrepreneurial, and team-oriented Community Engagement Manager (CEM), reporting to the Director of Programs, to envision, lead and manage community engagement, partnership and recruitment efforts.



At the core of this role, the CEM will 1) build awareness of VOCEL’s programs leading to increased enrollment, and 2) support program evolution in response to community demand and preferences. The CEM will nurture existing relationships and partnerships, establish new relationships, and lead awareness building, engagement and recruitment activities either independently or alongside VOCEL team members and clients. With a special emphasis on increasing program enrollment, the CEM will elevate the profile of VOCEL through relationships and engagement with various stakeholders including participants, alumni, VOCEL partner sites, community members, community agencies, government officials, and other advocates of VOCEL.


Specific responsibilities include:

Community Engagement

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive community engagement and awareness strategy and communication campaign including short- and long-term focused efforts, purposefully targeted audiences, and varied communication methods to meet impact goals and support future program expansion (currently in year one of three-year growth plan)
  • Monitor progress of community engagement strategy implementation
  • Serve as the lead ambassador for VOCEL and a liaison for communities where VOCEL programs operate, representing VOCEL in conversations, meetings and at events
  • Create community maps to identify assets, power, and relationships in neighborhoods where VOCEL operates (and possible future locations)
  • Establish and nurture strong collaborative relationships with internal and external stakeholders, most especially school and community partners, community members and VOCEL family participants

Partnership, Recruitment & Enrollment

  • Research, collect new data and analyze existing data to develop outreach plans and marketing initiatives
  • Develop referral partnerships with strategically selected organizations to promote the Child Parent Academy
  • Promote VOCEL and enroll new families at community events at schools, churches, non-profits, health clinics community fairs, etc.
  • Build and maintain relationships with current partner schools and organizations; steward partner school/site liaisons to be champions of VOCEL’s programs
  • Establish relationships with partner site prospects; build investment from school and organization leaders to partner with VOCEL
  • Set vision for, recruit and manage VOCEL Ambassadors (including current or alumni VOCEL parents) to build awareness of VOCEL’s programs and recruit peers
  • Distribute VOCEL marketing materials in communities where VOCEL programs exist
  • Conduct outreach meetings and calls to build awareness of VOCEL’s work
  • Co-manage site enrollment data, and generate solutions to meet or exceed enrollment goals at each site
  • In conjunction with program team members, support new families with enrollment paperwork



  • Communicate VOCEL’s vision and program model via clear and compelling verbal, print and digital messaging
  • Provide regular avenues for parent and community feedback and voice (1-on-1 meetings, surveys, focus groups, town hall meetings)
  • Design and implement marketing campaigns to increase awareness about VOCEL’s mission and program
  • Strive to make all communication and engagement opportunities accessible to all stakeholders, considering language, literacy, physical ability, schedule, etc.


  • Consult with Director of Programs and other VOCEL staff regarding program growth and program evolution in response to community interests
  • Provide written updates on project progress to a variety of audiences including VOCEL staff, board of directors, funders, and others
  • Maintain a record of implementation and execution including notes on all relationships and partnerships
  • Submit weekly logs of meetings, calls and work completed including plans for follow-up and cultivation



Minimum requirements:

  • Minimum 2-3 years of experience working in community engagement, grassroots community organizing, program development or related field
  • Bilingual communication abilities required (English/Spanish)
  • Undergraduate degree required
  • Ability to travel locally to meetings, community events, etc.; personal vehicle & clean driving record required
  • Ability to maintain a flexible work schedule including evenings and weekends as needed
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office (i.e. Outlook, Word, Excel, and Power Point), online research and social media

The ideal candidate has:

  • Knowledge of communities where VOCEL operates and is connected to those communities
  • Experience in early childhood education, parent/family support, education (PreK-12), or non-profit work
  • Eagerness to help foster an inclusive environment at VOCEL; knowledge of and comfort discussing issues of race, gender and access equity
  • Kindness, humility and eagerness to learn from others; non-judgmental and strengths-based perspective, especially when working across lines of difference
  • Ability to build authentic and deep relationships
  • “Can do” attitude with creativity and tenacity to overcome bumps in the road
  • Strong interpersonal, written and verbal communication skills; comfort with conversations and verbal presentations with small and large groups of people
  • Orientation towards teamwork, willing and eager to pitch in to support all administrative, operational and educational activities as necessary; as an early-stage organization, we all wear many hats!
  • Exceptional organization skills and high level of efficiency to manage multi-faceted projects, prioritize among competing responsibilities, meet deadlines and follow through on commitments



VOCEL offers a competitive compensation package including: salary commensurate with experience, ample paid-time off, medical and dental insurance, IRA with employer matching, cell phone reimbursement, and mileage reimbursement.  In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to work alongside dedicated colleagues committed to providing high-quality, innovative educational options for families across Chicago.

This role offers the chance to travel the city, getting to know people in various communities, learning their stories and building authentic relationships and partnerships. Additionally, this role will bring ample growth and leadership opportunity, as it will require charting a new course – designing and implementing a community engagement strategy for VOCEL. This could be a great fit for someone who has learned a lot doing on-the-ground community engagement or organizing and wants to continue this face-to-face work, while also driving strategy and implementation of new initiatives in a growing organization!



VOCEL is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants and employees are considered for positions and are evaluated without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, national origin or ancestry, age, genetic information, marital status, pregnancy, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law.



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