Jobs / Job Details

Program Director - Downtown @ ASM

Organizational Summary:

After School Matters is a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that offers after-school and summer programs to up to 19,000 Chicago high school teens a year to explore and develop their talents while gaining critical skills that will set them up for success in college and beyond.

Founded in 1991, After School Matters has engaged more than 400,000 Chicago teens and is the nation’s largest and most successful provider of after-school and summer programs for high school teens. No other organization offers programs at the scale and quality that we do.

We offer paid apprenticeships led by professionals in the fields of arts, communications and leadership, sports, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Our nationally respected youth development model has been replicated in cities across the country and earned us the City Livability Award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Programs take place at community locations throughout the city, including three ASM buildings: downtown at Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, the Michael and Karyn Lutz Center in Belmont Cragin, and the Pullman community at Gately Park.

Currently, After School Matters' annual operating budget is approximately $35M and employs approximately 500 staff across the organization.

For more information, visit

Summary of Position:

The Downtown Program Director is a member of the Program Department Leadership Team. The Downtown Program Director provides leadership to a Senior Program Manager, Program Specialists and Instructors to ensure quality delivery and optimal enrollment/attendance of programs at Gallery 37 and in the surrounding area after school, during the day, on weekends and during school breaks. This includes curating a high-quality program portfolio that appeals to and benefits teens, developing and leading a strategic recruitment plan, engaging partners and the surrounding community, creating and maintaining a safe, respectful, teen centered environment and hosting donors. The Downtown Program Director manages all areas and issues regarding the Gallery 37 building. The Director creates, monitors and adjusts program budgets.

The Downtown Program Director will also liaise with intra and inter departmental staff related to developing and implementing strategic efforts to streamline processes and improve the instructor and teen program experience organization-wide.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

Program Leadership:

  • Oversee and ensure high quality of all programs at Gallery 37 and the surrounding area;
  • Collaborate with operations personnel to ensure the cleanliness, safety, and security of Gallery 37;
  • Working with the Chief Program Officer and Deputy Program Director, develop a vision for future programming;
  • Supervise, support and coach the downtown program team;
  • Develop and facilitate team meetings, as needed;
  • Identify the key needs of the team and where appropriate, provide professional development opportunities and/or ensure opportunities are made available:
  • Annually review program needs and recruit Instructors to meet those needs through the Request for Proposal Process and other mechanisms;
  • Work with the Program Leadership Team to develop programmatic strategic plans that include implementing quality standards, assessing needs, and developing systems
  • Serve as Program Team lead on intra and inter-departmental efforts as assigned
  • Working with the Chief Program Officer and the Development Team, effectively manage and support high level donor relationships/

Facility and Program Operations: Oversee and ensure a safe, respectful and teen-centered environment at Gallery 37. Certify that program budgets are responsible, conscious, and respectful of funding sources. Support efforts to increase operational efficiencies.

  • Co-lead facilities meetings and maintain regular communication with Facilities Management re: building cleanliness, building organization, building repairs, space reservations, building improvements, security, safety drills, food service, etc.
  • Establish, communicate, and uphold building expectations (entry/exit, food/drink expectations, no gum, appropriate attire, etc.)
  • Manage behavioral issues (counsel teens directly and support instructors)
  • Act as primary contact for emergencies that involve calling a parent/guardian and or transport to the emergency room
  • Develop, manage, and monitor program budgets in collaboration with the finance and operations division;
  • Compile monthly and ad hoc reports regarding programs, resources, needs, and relationships;
  • Actively participate in designated interdepartmental committees and project teams, providing leadership as needed;

Program Quality: The Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA) process is central to program evaluation and improvement and should drive hands-on coaching of instructors to improve, expand and to stay current. Programs should be in a state of improvement, innovation or excellence.

  • Analyze data (observations, evaluations, attendance) and make quality improvement recommendations to the Chief Program Officer and Deputy Program Director;
  • Ensure quality improvement plans are implemented, monitored and updated;
  • Responsible for program observations;
  • Oversee and analyze program site visits and completion of program observations, impact statements, career readiness scoring, instructor reports, instructor surveys and teen surveys and make appropriate adjustments based upon data;
  • On a quarterly basis, provide progress reports on efforts to develop, improve and foster quality

Program Strategy:

  • Working with the Chief Program Officer and Deputy Program Director, develop and vet strategies to implement streamlined and cohesive processes to improve the instructor and teen program experience.
  • Working with the Chief Impact Officer, develop and vet strategies to collect and share the most useful data for advancing program quality.

Development: Provide leadership to development projects from providing ideas, meeting with the funders, providing tours, and preparing regional staff, teens, and instructors for external visitors.

  • Act as a liaison to external partners and funding sources;
  • Working with the development team, identify and develop programs for funding opportunities;

Other duties as assigned.

Supervisory Responsibilities:

    • Senior Program Manager
    • Program Specialists (2-3)
    • Instructors (up to 75)

Physical Demands:

The physical demands here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Must be able to sit for long periods of time.

Work Environment:

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is not exposed to weather conditions.
  • The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Excellent interpersonal and collaborative skills
  • Skilled in developing and facilitating collaborative relationships
  • Demonstrated experience leading and developing teams
  • Excellent organizational, conceptual, analytical, written and oral communication skills
  • Strong process orientation, problem solving and trouble-shooting skills, and a firm commitment to quality
  • Excellent Microsoft Office Skills (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Ability to collect and maintain information as needed;
  • Demonstrated experience in project management
  • Ability to multi-task and meet deadlines
  • Ability to excel in a fast paced, high energy environment
  • Respect for all levels of the organization and outside partners
  • Strong orientation to customer service (i.e., ASM staff and teens, corporate executives, community and government leaders, etc.)
  • Experience with funders and teens is a plus.


  • Master’s degree required
  • 6+ years management experience, youth programming experience, and experience working with youth
  • Valid Driver’s License, insured transportation, and driving record that satisfies our Motor Vehicle Policy required[1]
  • Cook County residency required; Chicago residency is strongly preferred.
  • Evenings and weekends are required

Additional Requirements:

Staff are required to provide proof of COVID-19 Vaccination or have an approved medical or sincerely held religious beliefs exemption prior to starting employment. If a medical or sincerely held religious belief exemption is approved, weekly Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing is required part of any reasonable accommodation.

How to Apply:


After School Matters is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, protected veteran status, military discharge status, age, marital status, parental status, or source of income.