Program Specialist- Immigration Team

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Early Career / Mid Career
  • Posted
    Sep 26

Position description

Program Specialist- Immigration Team, US Programs, New York, Deadline: 10/19/2018

The Open Society Foundations seeks a Program Specialist to work as part of its Immigration Team within U.S. Programs.

U.S. Programs works to build a vibrant society that invites all people to participate fully in civic, economic, and cultural life. It supports efforts to advance equality, fairness, and justice with a focus on the most vulnerable and marginalized communities and the most significant threats to open society in the United States. The Immigration Team is part of U.S. Program's Equality Team, which works to challenge public policies, institutional practices, and cultural representations that prevent the full economic, political, and social participation of immigrants and communities of color.

The Immigration Team in U.S. Programs embraces an integrity-based approach to its work, rooted in shared values of humility, liberty, equality, and justice, with a focus on what we each have in common. We work to improve the circumstances of the most vulnerable immigrant populations and support alliances that foster stronger, resilient, and open communities. We operationalize this strategic framework through focused grantmaking, advocacy, and partnerships furthering the following goals: dismantling discriminatory immigration practices, empowering impacted immigrant communities, and working with regional and thematic partners across the foundation's global network to take into account the push and pull factors impacting U.S. migration. This human rights approach recognizes the global impact of U.S. immigration policy and embraces immigration as a foreign policy tool. Our communities of concern for these efforts expand beyond those who presently reside in the U.S. to those seeking entry through the asylum and refugee process.

Job Profile

The Program Specialist is an early-career professional program role at Open Society, performing a wide range of responsibilities that materially advance both portfolio and other program strategies. Under the guidance and delegation of the Immigration Team Manager, the Program Specialist will contribute to the programmatic activities for the Immigration Team. While this position is primarily a support role, we may also delegate to the Program Specialist responsibility to lead on projects or issues - such as research initiatives, convenings, or advocacy efforts.

The role requires a working knowledge, not only of the relevant field(s), but also a familiarity with how to use the various tools available to the organization for accomplishing its objectives, including bringing about social change. This role functions as part of a team, usually of Program Administrative Specialists, Program Officers, managers, and administrative/operational staff, and assumes work by assignment from others. Responsibilities are carried out with a high degree of independence, although collegial problem-solving is a hallmark of Open Society work. Program Specialists may develop familiarity with all the tools used by OSF to bring about social change and play an essential and important role in the use of grant making. Their contributions include the identification of new partners, the assessment of organizations in the field, the design of grants, and the assessment of grants and portfolios. While primarily a grantmaking support role, Program Specialists may also take the lead on projects or issues - such as research initiatives, convenings, or advocacy efforts - as assigned.

The role may include any or all of the following and/or similar activities:
  • Supporting programmatic efforts by conducting a wide range of activities related to the grant making and grants management processes, and the monitoring of grantee progress, including regular grantee contact and responding to grantee inquiries
  • Conducting research and collecting data/information to be used in decision-making, strategy development, budget planning, and evaluation of the grants portfolio
  • Assist in the designing and carrying out relevant field scans and conducting ongoing field monitoring
  • Contributing to assessment of organizations, including primary responsibility for assessment of organizational finances and budgets
  • Analyzing grant proposals (including budgets), and assisting in the designing of grants and drafting of grant recommendations
  • Participation in meetings and site visits
  • Partnering closely with Grants Officers to ensure the efficient flow of grants processing and reporting
  • Developing and executing convenings, research initiatives, and advocacy efforts, and partnering closely with Program Administrative Specialists to ensure effective implementation
  • Provide administrative support, such as meeting scheduling, preparation and planning, and calendaring and team management support for the team director as needed
  • Perform range of administrative tasks or projects as needed and assigned, including developing tools and templates, coordinating event logistics, and assisting in the processing vendor contracts and consultancy agreements
  • Support the developing and maintaining a network of relationships with grantees and among key actors, including advocates, practitioners, academics, policymakers, funders, civic and business leaders, and the media


Candidate Profile

The successful candidate will have knowledge and understanding of the U.S. immigration system and policies. Prior experience is preferred in one or more of the following: advocacy at the local, state, and/or federal level; civic engagement and/or community organizing; organizational capacity building; leadership development. The Program Specialist must have demonstrated capacity to translate the Program's strategic plans into action and to assess impact. The successful candidate will also have the following qualifications:
  • 3-5 years of experience in position(s) relevant to the duties of this role
  • Highly skilled in researching and processing information and analyzing its importance in informing programs and strategies
  • Excellent written and spoken communication
  • Ability to work effectively in compliance with internal policies and external constraints
  • Willingness and ability to exercise sound professional judgment on issues of sensitivity
  • Demonstrated ability to respect others' opinions, listen and respond to colleagues with awareness and sensitivity to cultural communication differences
  • Capacity to learn, adapt to, and manage evolving systems and operations, including data management software programs
  • Diplomatic, discreet, and able to handle confidential matters with a high level of integrity;
  • Ability to adapt to work styles that may vary from colleague to colleague
  • Well-developed emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, self-management, and empathy
  • Organized, strong project management ability, self-directed on work initiatives, strong attention to detail, and ability to manage competing priorities and deadlines
  • Strong commitment to inclusion and respect for all colleagues
  • Strong commitment to open society values of rights, justice, accountable governance, human dignity, and democratic practice
  • Collaborative, collegial working style and sense of humor
  • We strongly encourage candidates with lived experiences in the criminal justice system to apply


Application instructions: Please include a cover letter and resume, and upload as one document when submitting an application.

Competitive rates of pay apply.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and are committed to providing reasonable adjustments so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfill the essential functions of the job.
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