Position Open:
Community Engagement Specialist

Currently accepting applications

About Us
Degree Forward is an education nonprofit passionately pursuing higher college completion rates for working professionals. Degree Forward achieves this mission by partnering with Southern New Hampshire University to provide an accelerated, affordable, and achievable path to degree completion. We pair personalized coaching, a student center, childcare, and career services with a high-quality, online, project-based degree program. We’re equally committed to securing career advancement and higher wages for our students as we are to their degree completion. Joining Degree Forward is a great opportunity to pursue your educational passions while being on the ground floor of a new start-up organization. We’re an innovative and best-practice approach for those seeking to finally achieve their goals of degree attainment.

About The Role
The primary purpose of this role will be supporting the Executive Director with the successful implementation of a strong and lasting organizational and programmatic presence in the Southwest community of Detroit. The primary functions of this role include community outreach and engagement, recruiting and enrolling students and event management. You will be responsible for working with community organizations and leaders to keep them informed and engaged with Degree Forward’s mission and purpose. You will also need to assist applicants with the personalized, 1:1 support they need to complete their college degree as quickly and affordably as possible. This often includes sharing details of the program, application submission support, FAFSA completion assistance, academic support, motivation, and accountability, problem-solving, and referrals to other resources. Degree Forward anticipates 70+ students in its first year of operation.

About You
The ideal candidate for this role has experience working in a start-up environment, building initiatives from the ground up, committing to supporting and uplifting the community in which you live, and taking ideas from thoughts to implementation. 


Community Engagement & Outreach (40%)

  • Collaborate with the Executive Director to ensure the Southwest Detroit community engagement strategy is fully executed and with fidelity
  • Build strong relationships with nonprofits, leaders, corporations and community organizers in Southwest Detroit
  • Establish a strong presence at the Southwest hub - located at Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation. Build a natural pipeline and referral system with DHDC staff. Collaborate on events to ensure Degree Forward is represented
  • Plan and execute community outreach events
  • Ensure students have the proper wrap-around supports to successfully complete their degree such as: access to technology, childcare, transportation and other needs as they arise

Student Recruitment & Enrollment (40%)

  • Effectively communicate the benefits of the program to prospective students
  • Walk students through the application and enrollment process
  • Use data systems to inform outreach and follow-up to prospective students
  • Provide extensive support to students to ensure they experience as few barriers to program entry as possible
  • Manage administrative tasks related to student enrollment including, but not limited to: checking daily financial aid report to update student status, outreach to students about necessary next steps in the financial aid and application process, helping students obtain necessary documents for FAFSA, tracking application status/updates, updating/auditing student records in our database
  • Outreach to prospective and current students to schedule next steps including information sessions, financial aid and enrollment meetings, and orientation meetings and tracking these contacts until a student is successful in attending
  • Liaise with the necessary departments at Southern New Hampshire University to request information about students’ financial aid or enrollment processes

Logistics and Operations (10%)

  • Run day-to-day operations for mini-center/study space at DHDC and in Southwest Detroit 
  • Assist with ensuring technological support and equipment is available for students in need

Other (10%)

  • Degree Forward is an entrepreneurial start-up organization so there will be many opportunities to take on diverse responsibilities as needed



  • Experience managing multiple projects under pressure and deadlines
  • Data management experience a plus
  • Experience supporting students with the FAFSA application process
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience


  • Proven entrepreneurial abilities, creativity, initiative, and energy to build new programs
  • Well-developed data analysis, customer service, and organizational skills, with the ability to quickly assess the profile and needs of various prospective students and tailor our message and process to them as appropriate 
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with the ability to organize and express ideas in a clear, succinct, accurate, and compelling manner 
  • Proven outcomes-focused problem solver and strategic thinker
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced team environment

Salary Range
$45,000 – 50,000 annually depending on experience and qualifications
Competitive health, dental and life benefits are included with full-time employment

Qualified applicants should send their resume and cover letter to:

Applications are still open until the position is filled.

Degree Forward is an equal opportunity employer and we will not tolerate discrimination based on race, religion, sex, pregnancy, disability, or gender identity.