Chief Program Officer

Richmond, CA (or remote)

< Back to all roles
Apply for this role
Heads up: We have paused accepting new applications on 5/15/23. Please check back at a later time or email info@rivetschool.org for more information.

Who we are

Across the country, college completion rates are abysmal. In our home state of California, just over a quarter of the students that enroll at a state university (CSU) campus graduate within four years. Of students who do graduate from college, around four in 10 end up underemployed in a first job. Traditionally underserved populations — like working students, students of color, parent learners, and those who are first in their families to attend college — disproportionately suffer.

We think this status quo is unacceptable. Rivet School is college built for real life — a new type of college experience designed from the ground up to support traditionally underserved students. Rivet School students earn an accredited, affordable, job-relevant bachelor’s degree in as little as 2-3 years.

Rivet School is a fast-growing nonprofit currently supporting ~200 students across California, and aiming to grow to 800 students by 2026. We’re a tight-knit, supportive, and diverse team of 20. 

Why we need you

When we first launched our pilot program in 2018, we had one crystal clear objective: build a strong college experience to support our students to degree attainment. Nearly five years later, our College Program team is thriving, with six incredible College Coaches serving over 200 students. But we’ve always known that a college degree alone, while necessary, isn’t sufficient to unlock long-term economic opportunity. So, over the last two years, we’ve also invested in developing a Career Program to support our students and graduates to leverage their newly gained professional skills and college degree for a better job and pay. With over 50 BA graduates to date and a plan to scale enrollments to 800 in the next 2-3 years, we need a Chief Program Officer to steer continuous program improvement and envision the next stage of our organization’s evolution. The Chief Program Officer will work with our Executive Director and Leadership Team to build on our strong foundation and set course for program growth.

Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

  • Program leadership (45% of capacity). Steer the development, implementation, evolution and evaluation of college and career programs, ensuring cohesion and alignment to organizational strategy. Apply a rigorous lens to program efficacy, doggedly pursuing improvements to enhance quality, efficiency, and impact. Respond to emerging student and organizational needs by initiating new strategies and programming, including with the larger field of similar organizations across the country. 
  • Organizational leadership (20% of capacity). Partner with our Executive Director and Leadership Team to chart and execute on a strategic vision for the organization. Manage Rivet School’s College and Career Program teams, including annual/quarterly goal-setting, org-wide collaboration efforts, budgeting, and resource deployment. Track and analyze data for program improvement and refinement. 
  • Team management (20% of capacity). Oversee our growing program teams (12 team members), ensuring strong collaboration across teams and cohesion and alignment across our program strategy. Supervise up to 5 direct reports, including College & Career Program members on our Leadership Team, to ensure individual professional growth, strong role execution, and team wellness.
  • Stakeholder engagement (15% of capacity). Initiate and cultivate relationships with external stakeholders in service of organizational and student success. Support partnerships with school networks, universities, employers, external evaluators, and community-based organizations. 

Who you are & what you can do

Below we list some specific skills, experiences, and dispositions we think the right candidate is likely to have. If you don’t have all of the experiences and skills below, but think you’re the right person for the job, we encourage you to apply anyway:

  • Strategic thinking and planning: You’ve been instrumental in shaping organizational strategy in a past role. You excel at thinking “around the corner” — anticipating where a team or organization should go, and charting out a path to get there. You ask a lot of questions to uncover the nature of things. You’re fast with new concepts and ideas, and regularly reflect on what could be better — with society, with your organization, with your work. You approach high-impact decisions with confidence, contributing key information and effective analysis to arrive at sound proposals. You know things don’t always go as planned. You are comfortable with leading teams through ambiguity and leaning into a “startup” mindset. 
  • Program leadership and management: You likely have several years of experience building and/or leading a team (or teams) within a direct service nonprofit and/or education-based program. You are strong at project management, with the ability to supervise multiple complex projects simultaneously, while having an eye on team wellness. You sweat the small stuff, always follow through on your commitments, and are meticulous about documenting, communicating and organizing your work. You genuinely enjoy the “nitty gritty” work of building tools, trackers and processes, and supporting others to create equally strong work products. You’re an excellent writer and presenter. 
  • People and team management: You’ve likely managed a team (at a nonprofit or education-based program) to advance their personal and professional goals. When interacting with others, you listen first, then speak and you know how to “hold space” for your team. Emotional intelligence is one of your greatest assets. You know how to translate an individual’s needs into concrete next steps for their growth. You regularly provide actionable, high-quality feedback to others, and seek out feedback for your own personal growth. 
  • Organizational leadership: You are an authentic, low-ego leader who inspires individuals across an organization. You’ve planned for and led high-stakes meetings. You are deeply committed to the organization and team you serve and feel a high-level of ownership for the organization’s success.  
  • Antiracism and equity: You believe all students are whole people with complex lives, and you believe anyone can succeed with the right support and environment. You understand that our current education system discriminates against low-income people and people of color in systematic ways, and you are eager to lead a strategic vision for a program that can reimagine the post-secondary school experience.

We particularly encourage applications from candidates who share proximity to our students — for instance, who worked while attending college, attended a community college en route to a bachelor’s degree, who were adult or parent learners, or who were the first in their family to graduate from college. 

Why you should apply

As a key member of our Leadership Team, you’ll play a crucial role in taking Rivet School to the next level. Your work will directly impact the lives of our growing student body and will help increase equitable access to quality higher education and life-sustaining careers. 

You’ll also join a committed, high-performing, thoughtful, and very fun (if we do say so ourselves) team. Here’s what a few team members say about working at Rivet School:

I've never worked in a more supportive organization. The team fosters a culture of collaboration and openness that makes me feel comfortable bringing my whole self to work every day.
It’s hard to imagine a better workplace. Team members are genuine, empathetic, open to feedback, and competent.
I appreciate our open discussions on race, equity, and inclusion and how each of us takes responsibility to use this lens in our work. There’s a genuine commitment to antiracism and equity work, both at the team and organizational levels.

Learn more about the Rivet School team on our website here or on Glassdoor. Check out this document to learn more about our team culture and approach to antiracism and equity. 

The nitty gritty

  • We are looking to fill this position before July 2023. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Check this job posting for updates. 
  • This is a full-time role based in the San Francisco Bay Area with flexible hours and location. For this role, we have a preference for candidates based in the greater Bay Area, but we’re open to considering remote candidates. If not remote, our team is expected to travel to our office in Richmond, CA at least 1x/week. This policy is flexible and responsive to individual team member needs. Our hybrid work environment also enables team members to take extended periods of remote work. 
  • We do mandate proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for employment, to be submitted at the time of offer acceptance. 
  • We offer comprehensive health benefits (medical, dental, and vision), including 50% premium support for spouses and dependents.
  • We offer 32 days of PTO per year (15 days of PTO and 17 recognized holidays), plus 10 wellness days and generous leave policies (parental leave, bereavement, etc.).
  • To ensure equity in our hiring process, we assess candidates using pre-set questions and evaluate each step in the hiring process against a pre-set rubric. The steps in this hiring process are as follows: Initial application form (below), two phone screens (30 minutes each), role specific interview (60 minutes), performance task (90 minutes), final-round interview (3 hours), and reference checks. While we reserve the right to adjust this process, we’re committed to holding all candidates to the same process and sharing updates as soon as possible. 
  • At Rivet School, we use a competency-based hiring and leveling framework to ensure equity and fairness in promotions and compensation. For this position, we are open to candidates with a wider variety of experience levels. The typical salary range for these levels is $125,000 - $146,500/year — with the possibility of a higher salary offer beyond this range for those who demonstrate mastery of the majority of our desired skills and have significant relevant experience.

As an equal opportunity employer, Rivet School is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified individuals and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, marital status, veteran status, pregnancy, parental status, genetic information or characteristics, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.

Apply for this role

Why Rivet School

Rivet School isn’t just a great place for students.

Just as we pour our energy into making Rivet School an amazing place for students, we invest just as much in making Rivet School a great place for our team. While we’re serious about our work — and about pushing ourselves to grow — we’re also serious about having fun, showing up for each other, and taking time to pause when we need it.


Here’s what our team members say about working here:

“I’ve never worked in a more supportive organization.”

“It’s hard to imagine a better workplace. Team members are genuine, empathetic, open to feedback, and competent.”
“There’s high-quality work produced across the team. Things are systematized, well-documented, organized, and clear.”

If this environment speaks to you, speak to us! We look forward to getting to know you.