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With permission from Cristo Rey Network

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Executive Director, Orleans Parish Career Center

The New Orleans College and Career Education Center


The New Orleans College and Career Education Center (the Center) will provide high school students with career and technical education training and academic courses that enable them to earn industry-based credentials (IBCs) for employment in high-wage, high-demand industry sectors. In partnership with local government, nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions, and industry partners, the Center will offer training and credentialing opportunities aligned with many of the most dynamic, fastest growing industry sectors in Greater New Orleans.

The Center will multiply the opportunities for New Orleans students to more fully explore their career and college interests, and will serve as a key component of New Orleans’ commitment to ensuring public school graduates are poised for success in college and career. Specifically, leaders in New Orleans have committed to ensuring 20% of any given graduating high school class earn high-value IBCs annually; the Center will be critical to achieving this goal.     

The Role

The Executive Director will design, launch, and manage the operations of the Center. This is a rare opportunity for the right leader to play a critical role in helping New Orleans become a city in which every high school student has access to the training needed for a high-wage, high-growth career pathway of their choice.

To inform his/her strategic decisions and stay highly attuned to the needs of students in the city, the Executive Director will collaborate closely with community and industry stakeholders, including Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB), the Recovery School District (RSD), and the citywide YouthForce NOLA collaborative. S/he will also collaborate with relevant staff at the City of New Orleans, the Louisiana Department of Education (LDE), and other city and state agencies.

Key Responsibilities

Launch the Center

  • Develop and execute a plan for temporary and permanent facilities, including coordination with the RSD and OPSB regarding funding, renovations, and maintenance;
  • Coordinate with LDE, RSD, OPSB, and YouthForce NOLA staff to secure funding against a three-year startup financial model;
  • In partnership with governmental, industry, and school partners, finalize the set of training pathways to be provided at the Center, with clear partners identified as appropriate and a year-by-year roll-out plan;
  • Develop a comprehensive start up plan for operations, educational programming, and student support services; and
  • Work closely with school leaders and governmental partners to develop a plan for coordinated transportation of participating youth.

Center management, partner engagement, and quality assurance

  • Work with key partners to annually validate priority credentials and pathways program needs to ensure ongoing alignment with regional industry and workforce opportunities;
  • Recruit and manage independent, third-party training providers - including higher education and nonprofit providers - to deliver training at the Career Center:
    • Manage third-party training provider selection process and lease negotiation;
    • Manage third-party training provider quality assurance, including goal-setting and results tracking of key indicators (e.g., credentials earned, employer validation, graduate outcomes); and
    • Manage lease extension or termination decision-making processes;
  • Recruit, develop, and retain exceptional instructors as needed; and
  • Develop and execute a plan for ensuring that all relevant stakeholders - including families and community members - have an ongoing voice in shaping the focus and future of the Center.

Strategy, planning, and fundraising

  • Coordinate with LDE, RSD, OPSB, and YouthForce NOLA staff to develop a sustainable long-term funding model and raise the funding necessary to supplement governmental dollars on an ongoing basis; and
  • On an ongoing basis, work with governmental, industry, and school partners to ensure that the Center’s training pathways are responsive to the local economy and preparing all youth for success in New Orleans.

Required Qualifications

The Executive Director will have the following beliefs, knowledge, and skills:

  • an unwavering belief that all young people have the potential to achieve academic, professional, and personal success, and will channel that belief to build a center that will be positively life-altering for many students in New Orleans;
  • a track record of getting things done;
  • a strong understanding of local, state, and national context regarding policy and programming best practices for workforce development and career and technical education;
  • the ability to identify, build, and sustain authentic relationships with stakeholders who are critical to achieving an organization’s mission;
  • the ability to develop effective strategies and execute them successfully;
  • the ability to coordinate, prioritize, and manage a variety of diverse and challenging tasks and systems while maintaining a high level of attention to detail; and
  • exceptional communication skills.

Additional Desired Qualifications

The Executive Director will have the following experiences, knowledge, and skills:

  • a background in building career preparation and training programs for high school students, and the ability to use that background as a launch pad for creating a premier career preparation program for students in New Orleans;
  • knowledge of, and existing relationships within, the political, philanthropic, and public education landscape in New Orleans;
  • credibility within K-12 education, higher education, and high-wage, high-demand industries in Louisiana.

Next, the successful candidate will have experience in a number of the following professional settings:

  • at least five years of professional experience as a leader or as part of a leadership team in a school, government agency, or nonprofit organization that has worked to improve the lives of children;
  • experience building, leading, managing, and inspiring a high-performing staff toward results;
  • demonstrated fundraising success – with both philanthropic and public funding – to create a sustainable nonprofit organization;
  • experience in urban education;
  • 1-5 years experience in private sector, ideally in manufacturing, health care, or the information technology industry;
  • experience working in the start-up phase of an organization; and
  • experience building and collaborating with boards of directors.

Finally, the successful candidate will possess the following personal attributes:

  • demonstrated commitment to the mission of the organization, including a deep commitment to improving outcomes for students in New Orleans;
  • flexibility to adapt the Center’s programming to be responsive to industry;
  • value the New Orleans autonomous and decentralized system;
  • a self-driven, entrepreneurial work ethic and a productive and engaged leadership style;
  • an interest in the challenges and opportunities associated with starting an organization;
  • authenticity; and
  • humility.

Reporting Relationships

The Executive Director reports directly to Mary Garton from OPSB and Dana Peterson from the RSD. S/he will have the opportunity to build a small team over the next few years.


New Orleans, LA


The Executive Director will earn a competitive salary, commensurate with experience.

To Apply

Inquiries and applications, comprising a resume and letter of interest, should be sent to: