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Senior Director, Careers and Opportunities

American Forests

Job Description


Urban Fore stry
Reports to:
Vice President, Urban Forestry
FLSA Category:

Post Date: January 29, 2024

Close Date: February 12, 2024



American Forests is a national non-profit organization committed to creating healthy and resilient forests from cities to wilderness, that deliver essential benefits for climate, people, water and wildlife. We advance our mission through forestry innovation, place-based partnerships to plant and restore forests, and movement building. We envision a world in which the significant environmental, societal and economic benefits of forests are fully realized and equitably available to all people. Established in 1875, American Forests is the oldest national non-profit conservation organization in the U.S. working to restoring urban forests and forested landscapes for nearly 150 years.

American Forests is proud to be a diverse, equitable, inclusive and accessible workplace. These are our shared values. We welcome individuals who bring a variety of backgrounds and experiences to be a part of our team to help make a difference individually and collectively as we work toward achieving our mission. We are committed to fostering an environment that is welcoming and respectful and provides opportunities for advancement and professional growth for every team member.

In support of our Tree Equity (“TE”) Initiative, the Senior Director of Careers and Opportunities will lead the refinement, development and scaling of American Forests’ Careers and Opportunities vertical in our Urban Forestry department. The Senior Director of Careers and Opportunities will have strategic and operational responsibility over AF’s efforts to engage youth and underserved and underemployed communities to participate and find success in the urban forestry and tree care fields. With the strategic goal enabling the employment of 10,000 people by 2030 in the urban forestry workforce, the Careers and Opportunities vertical integrates AF’s education (Career Exploration) and workforce development (Career Pathways) programs.

More specifically, our Career Exploration educational program supports Black, Latino/a/e, and other underrepresented high school and college students and emerging professionals in leadership careers in urban forestry. The Senior Director of Careers and Opportunities will work to help fund and amplify our emerging educational program opportunities, including STEAM curriculum deployment, Tree Equity Scholars program, US Forest Service youth summits, and the emerging leaders program. Additionally, our Career Pathways program is designed to provide careers in urban forestry for socio-economically disadvantaged groups through pre-employment training, job placement, apprenticeship, and job retention practices, including employer training and certification. The Senior Director will help complete the development of our systems-level Career Pathways approach and better embed and deploy workforce development programs in municipalities and communities. Our goal for Career Pathways includes hiring and retaining 50 people from under-resourced communities and supporting preemployment training of hundreds more across 50 cities through our Tree Equity Workforce Network.

Responsibilities will include but are not limited to:

Strategy and implementation (30%)
  • Build a high performing, high impact Careers and Opportunities team with a clear strategic direction and performance-based metrics and accountability.
  • Ensure ongoing programmatic excellence of programs including Career Exploration (education) and Career Pathways (workforce) initiatives and their academic, employer and employee engagement strategies and trainings.
  • Ensure that the delivery of the Careers and Opportunities is grounded in sound science and has clear and consistent impact job placement and educational attainment metrics designed to scale the program to greater future impact.
  • Foster an effective and cooperative relationship with peers leading the following verticals within the UF department (1) the Science & Innovation Lab and its underlying research, tool creation, and tree production programs; (2) the TE Catalyst Initiative and Fund and its related outreach and grantmaking strategies, (3) and the Field Delivery team and its place-based operations and coaching networks.
  • Maintain a positive, collaborative environment for the team, ensuring team cohesion, communication, and coordination, including facilitating well-organized, regularly scheduled check-ins, coordination meetings, and summits among UF staff and across departments, as necessary.
  • Attract, develop, coach, and retain high-performance team members, empowering them to elevate their level of responsibility and performance.

Team oversight and management (30%)
  • Alongside Vice President, Urban Forestry, help develop and ensure accountability to program strategies and underlying workplans and commitments made by UF staff in advancement of each UF vertical; ensure work plans are closely aligned with true cost budgeting and fundraising strategies and capacity needs for the team.
  • To achieve cohesion and measurable impacts on Tree Equity nationally, the Senior Director of Careers and Opportunities will provide hands-on leadership and insights into the strategies and workplans around Career Exploration (educational program) including STEAM curriculum deployment, Tree Equity Scholars program, US Forest Service youth summits, and the emerging leaders program and Career Pathways (workforce program): including direct placement, apprenticeship, employer training and certification.
  • As a critical leader in the Urban Forestry team, the Senior Director offers mentorship and other opportunities for growth among their staff.
  • As a key thought-partner to the VP of Urban Forestry, and AF’s Executive Team, the Senior Director will coordinate within their team, and across teams within the Urban Forestry department, and ensure clear information sharing and accountability with regards to their program delivery.

Communications, Fundraising (20%)
  • Alongside VP of Urban Forestry, serve as an internal and external spokesperson related to AF’s Tree Equity efforts around youth and workforce development at both internal and external events.
  • As needed, support the preparation of public communications and collateral on our educational and workforce efforts and Tree Equity issues, and present or support other principals’ appearances at conferences, meetings, and events.
  • Alongside UF Vice President, collaborate with the Philanthropy department in creating fundraising plans, developing proposals and/or donor communications and reports to advance the Careers and Opportunities team’s and fundraising needs.
  • Support the Marketing and Communications Department in highlighting work by writing articles and blog posts, conducting interviews, and assisting with social media and video content.
  • Promote the Careers and Opportunities work to primary audiences, write articles, participate in interviews, and present at conferences or other events.
  • Ensure the Careers and Opportunities team are trained and effective at communicating their work to the public, funders and key stakeholders.

Administration (20%)
  • Work closely with the Vice President of Urban Forestry in managing department and program budgets, and in ensuring quality and rigorous grants administration, financial reporting, and budgeting among their team and among
  • UF staff (including delegating duties to appropriate staff). Lead the Careers and Opportunities team in activity plans, work plans, and program planning efforts.
  • Support organization-wide budget and operational tools and processes, including standardized meetings, coordination opportunities, and transparent internal communications within the Careers and Opportunities team, the UF department, and among departments, as needed.

While we do not expect any one candidate to possess all of these qualifications, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal skills and qualities:
  • Minimum of 8 years of relevant experience, including: (1) Working with and knowledge of the mission, policies, and priorities of the U.S. Department of Labor and other federal and state agencies that administer workforce development activities, (2) Leading, developing and managing staff and consultants towards specific goals and ensuring such staff are meeting such goals, and (3) Experience in writing and managing complicated budgets and grants
  • Partnership track record and relationship roster of municipal, state, or regional government leaders desired, as is a relationship roster with universities and/or workforce development related programs and stakeholders nationally
  • A well-rounded interpersonal skill set with the capacity to build relationships with clients, funders, and education leaders, and to work effectively in a team environment
  • Ability to take a high-level vision and then lead the work autonomously toward that vision, with measurable impacts, and the ability to adapt as needed
  • Commitment to justice, health, and equity for communities of all ages, cultures, neighborhoods, income levels, demographics, and lived experiences
  • High level of emotional intelligence, political instinct, and ability to be flexible in a fast-paced environment

This is a remote position.

Subject to applicable laws, American Forests requires all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. We will consider requests for accommodation to this vaccination requirement during the recruiting process. Any requested accommodation(s) must be reviewed and approved (if applicable) in advance of your start date.

Up to 25% of travel may be required as funding permits.

This position has three direct reports: Director, Career Exploration & Development and two Senior Managers, Career Pathways.

American Forests is an equal opportunity employer
 and is committed to diversity in the workplace . All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or other characteristics protected by law.

Reasonable accommodations may be made to provide access to all individuals along the continuum of human ability and experience.


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