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Bridge Instructor & Career Coach

Moving Forward Bridge Instructor & Career Coach

We are looking for an outstanding bridge curriculum trainer and employment coach with a heart for
those who need second chances to facilitate our contextualized academic bridge curriculum and guide
graduates through the process of successfully transitioning to a certificate or degree program, passing
the high school equivalency exam (HSE), if needed; and/or qualify for an entry level employment. We’re
looking for someone with an established record of success in the classroom; who has developed and
uses highly effective teaching strategies that meet students’ diverse needs and that promote the
acquisition and application of knowledge and the development of critical and creative thinking and
problem solving skills. In addition, we want someone who will engage in and model intellectual curiosity
and express passion for career development and personal transformation.

What you’ll do

  • Use NLEN’s Transportation, Distribution & Logistics (TDL) Bridge curriculum and materials as the basis for classroom lesson and activities.
  • Develop and shares class syllabus with students at the beginning of the course; ensure class
    expectations and objectives are understood.
  • Deliver instruction to improve students’ numeracy and literacy skills through lessons
    contextualized to TDL career related content. Incorporate career development and college
    readiness skills.
  • Employ a variety of student-centered teaching methods that stage classroom exploration of
    open questions that allow students to develop critical thinking and verbal communication skills.
  • Act as facilitator, using a combination of large and small-group activities to explore issues that
    are relevant to the student and their Focus Area of choice.
  • Apply technology skills to effectively use curriculum and on-line curriculum materials; assist
    students in developing basic computer skills and using Microsoft Office and email software.
  • Adapt teaching methods and instructional materials to meet the students’ varying needs,
    abilities, and interests.
  • Work to optimize student outcomes by monitoring student progress on an ongoing basis using
    oral and written assessments, standardized tests, and classroom observations.
  • Maintain accurate and complete student records including daily attendance.
  • Work collaboratively with Customized Skills Training staff to plan and coordinate effective
    instructional and transition strategies.
  • Screen clients during monthly Intake and Assessments to determine suitability for program and
    likelihood of successful placement in the TDL sector and other sectors
  • Conduct individual coaching sessions.
  • Prepare Individual Employment Plan (IEP) in order to discuss realistic short-and/or long term
    goal(s) with clients.
  • Maintain case notes of all activities in NLEN’s electronic database for all clients.
  • Maintain accurate client records and files with up-to-date information and supportive
  • Attend regular staff meetings with Business Development, Workforce Development, and
    Financial Opportunity Center staff to stay informed on program initiatives, policies, and
  • Assist with program recruitment and administration


Who you are

  • You have experience in providing contextualized instruction, as well as related coursework and
    professional development.
  • You have experience in career development, job development and/or job placement required.
  • You have a Bachelor’s degree in education, counseling, social services or equivalent experience.
  • You are available to facilitate day and evenings classes.
  • You are very comfortable and adept at using computer and mobile computing technology like
    WiFi, laptops, smart phones, Microsoft Office products, Google web based products, databases,
  • You have the ability to effectively transition between multiple work locations.
  • You are a strong facilitator and coach who flourishes with mentoring, developing and nurturing
    raw talent and individuals with limited work experience.
  • You are highly motivated and entrepreneurial and willing to thrive in a start-up atmosphere,
    with the ability to be flexible as we grow the program.
  • You think strategically and can act quickly on your feet.
  • You have great written and oral communication skills and are able to interact with any audience
    regardless of background.

Who we are

The North Lawndale Employment Network is a highly acclaimed urban workforce development non-
profit (501c3). We know the United States incarcerates more people than any other country in the
world. Today, 2.3 million people are living behind bars in the United States, and 90% of these men and
women will return to their neighborhoods and their families with a priority of seeking employment
driving the unemployment rate (19% unemployment in North Lawndale). We also know that TDL sector
is an Illinois Workforce Investment Board targeted sector, as it offers good jobs with advancement
opportunities, along with growth across the state.

To learn more, please visit and

What we offer

  • A competitive salary of $45k
  • PPO Medical Coverage Plan
  • Vision and Dental Options
  • 12 Paid Holidays
  • Paid Vacation, Sick, and PTO
  • 403b Plan with company match

To Apply

Please email a cover letter and resume to When emailing, please place ‘Bridge
Instructor and Career Coach’ on the subject line. The deadline to apply for this position is June 18, 2018.
The expected start date is July 16, 2018.


Salary:  $30k

Job Summary:  Coaches are responsible for providing job coaching and case management support to participants and adhering to all READI Chicago implementation requirements. Coaches will be energetic, flexible, collaborative, and proactive team members who positively and productively support high-risk participants.



Manage a caseload of READI Chicago participants:

  • Conduct one-on-one coaching sessions with participants and facilitate the development of individual success plans
  • Review daily performance reports from Crew Chiefs and address any issues that emerge,
  • Develop and maintain referral relationships for a range of support services and connect participants to appropriate services as needed,
  • Become trained as a facilitator for cognitive-behavioral group work, and co-facilitate weekly cognitive-behavioral group sessions
  • Participate in trainings to learn the principles of trauma-informed care, motivational interviewing, conflict de-escalation, harm reduction, and other relevant concepts, and apply that knowledge in daily interactions with READI Chicago participants
  • When participants are ready to advance, work with participants to determine the advancement opportunities they want to pursue, and connect them with appropriate opportunities
  • Perform assessments for participant career interests and aptitudes in order to match them with subsidized employment tasks, unsubsidized employment opportunities, and appropriate training
  • Lead work-readiness and job search skills instruction, including “soft skills,” resume preparation, interviewing skills, job search techniques, and related topics
  • Act as an intermediary between workers and employers when issues arise in the workplace
  • Participate in case conferences with other READI Chicago staff to discuss service delivery plans for participants
  • Complete and submit all necessary paperwork, data entry, and reporting in a timely fashion
  • Work closely with other READI Chicago staff across the network to provide seamless support to program participants



  • Basic reading, writing, and math skills
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Time management skills
  • Some prior management experience preferred
  • Knowledge of building maintenance, landscaping, grounds keeping, and/or related trades
  • Motivated, energetic, and skilled at relationship building and team building
  • Exercises good judgement about when to notify manager about incidents, etc.
  • Individuals with criminal records and other lived experience are encouraged to apply

READI Crew Chief

Salary:  $30k

Job Summary:  Crew Chiefs are responsible for supervising, supporting, and inspiring transitional workers and adhering to all READI Chicago implementation requirements. Crew Chiefs will be energetic, flexible, collaborative, and proactive — team leaders who positively and productively support transitional workers.



  • Supervise a work crew of 5-10 transitional workers in the performance of a variety of tasks, primarily outdoor work such as landscaping, clearing vacant lots, and cleaning sidewalks and alleys
  • Set team goals and ensure that work crews complete tasks and objectives to a high standard and in a timely fashion
  • Set individual goals, assign specific tasks to individual workers, and set expectations for their completion
  • Manage the transportation, distribution, maintenance, and storage of all equipment and tools associated with crew tasks
  • Ensure worker safety by monitoring worksites for hazardous conditions and monitoring workers for appropriate use of tools and materials
  • Respond to safety incidents and other relevant incidents according to policies and procedures
  • Safely drive transitional workers to and from work sites in company vehicle



  • Basic reading, writing, and math skills
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Time management skills
  • Some prior management experience preferred
  • Knowledge of building maintenance, landscaping, grounds keeping, and/or related trades
  • Motivated, energetic, and skilled at relationship building and team building
  • Exercises good judgement about when to notify manager about incidents, etc.
  • Individuals with criminal records and other lived experience are encouraged to apply

READI Crew Manager

Salary:  $45k

Job Summary:  The Crew Manager is responsible for supervising and coaching Crew Chiefs, managing day-to-day crew site logistics and operations (e.g., assigning new members to a crew, responding to worker absences and weather, managing tools and vehicles), and adhering to all READI Chicago implementation requirements. Crew Managers will be energetic, flexible, collaborative, and proactive — team leaders who positively and productively support transitional workers.



Supervise and support crew chiefs:

  • Provide guidance for managing challenges
  • Conduct performance reviews and guide performance improvement
  • Coach crew chiefs on their role in providing constructive supervision that facilitates skill development
  • Recruit, hire, and train qualified crew chiefs

When necessary, perform all duties performed by crew chiefs:

  • Supervise work crews at worksites and ensure work is adequately performed
  • Transport work crews and equipment to and from worksites
  • Provide guidance and feedback to workers regarding successful workplace behavior
  • Ensure worksite safety and security

Manage work crew logistics and operations:

  • Create and execute daily schedule for work crew locations and tasks
  • Assign transitional workers to work crews daily in order to ensure worksite coverage
  • Monitor and evaluate work crew performance and quality of work
  • Monitor transitional worker hours in order to avoid overages



  • 1-2 years’ managerial experience directly supervising staff
  • Bachelor’s degree preferred
  • Business and project management experience preferred, especially in the fields of maintenance and landscaping
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Knowledge of workforce development and employment services for chronically unemployed individuals or individuals experiencing poverty
  • Willingness to be trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and trauma-informed care and applying those principles in daily work
  • Commitment to the mission and values of READI Chicago, as demonstrated by a professional approach that is strength-based, trauma-informed, inclusive, and grounded in human rights
  • Individuals with criminal records and other lived experience are encouraged to apply

Debate Class – 2nd Session

We learned a lot in our second week of debate class. I learned about the potential we’re unlocking in our clients, and things that we’re doing that are maybe stifling that potential. The clients learned about how the topics we’re debating have deeper meaning, and how important it is to “seek first to understand, then to be understood”.

Each cohort that goes through U-Turn Permitted has a Class President. This is someone who has the final say on group decisions and can generally shape the focus and direction of the class. Each cohort also typically has one very outspoken individual. We currently have a few, but one in particular comes to my mind. This individual speaks the most during class, has opinions about everything and, as distracting as it is, can gain everybody’s attention easily. Our second session is when I realized that I had buy-in from both the Class President and, as I call him, the Speaker of the Cohort.

With each moment I spend in Debate class, I realize more and more that the support of these two individuals is essential to achieving our goals. They help shape the mentality of the class. They can get everyone to focus when attention spans wear thin. They can rally participation in an activity when at first it seems childish or embarrassing. I know now that I cannot take their support for granted.

Another very important lesson I’ve learned is that I need to have a rock-solid explanation of the relationships between Claims, Warrants, and Evidence on day one, and review that definition on a consistent basis throughout the entirety of the class. The biggest conflict between clients came not from any particularly charged topic, but from a disagreement about the definition of a warrant. This needs to be explained and reaffirmed as often as possible.

Week two is when we really began to dive into actual debate topics. At first I was nervous about some of the more consequential topics – the government shutdown, mandatory minimums, universal healthcare, etc. I quickly learned not to be. Our clients don’t want to be protected from these conversations, they want a seat at the table. No one flew off the handle. They calmly expressed their beliefs and their reasoning for those beliefs. They were articulate and informed, and sometimes quite passionate, but never unruly.

The most satisfying moments have come when a client changes their minds in regards to a topic we’re discussing. On day two, we were discussing congressional term limits during an exercise. It goes like this – one group gives two claims and warrants in favor of term limits, the other two groups work to refute those claims and warrants. I hadn’t told them to use any evidence. The instructions were simply to come up with the opposing warrants.

I started to get frustrated in the middle of the exercise when I saw that an entire team had their phones out. I was prepared to ‘call them out’ when I went over and saw why they had all turned their heads down to their screens – they had pulled up scholarly articles about the constitutionality of term limits! Without being directed, they had taken it upon themselves to verify their warrants with evidence and research. I was thrilled! After their evidence-backed discussion, several of them were excited to say that they had changed their minds on whether they support or don’t support congressional term limits. When I explained to them that our discussion wasn’t just about those term limits, and that it was more broadly about the responsibilities of government and the responsibilities of voters, they were engaged and focused. It turns out that learning is universally exciting.

The class is now deep into the preparation stage for our own debates – we’ll be doing them Lincoln-Douglas style. Our clients have learned the best way to research a topic, what an authoritative source of evidence is, how to mark up a text, and although I wish we had more time on it, how to research our opponent’s side so we can best refute it – seeking first to understand. The next blog will cover research day and the actual debates, with the addition of a wrap-up for our first cohort. For now, I am happy to say that progress is consistent and positive, and I’m still sure of the importance of what we’re doing.