College Coach and Program Strategist

Richmond, CA

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Who we are

Across the country, college completion rates are abysmal. Here in California, for instance, just over a quarter of students enrolled at a California 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, 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, job-relevant bachelor’s degree in as little as 2-3 years, and for around $10,000 total. We’re part of a network of hybrid colleges, and we’re leading the way with many of our innovative program models.

​​Rivet School is a fast-growing nonprofit currently supporting ~200 students across California, and aiming to grow to 1,000 students by 2025. We’re a tight-knit, supportive, and diverse team of 18. 

Why we need you 

Since our launch in 2018, we’ve built from scratch many core elements that comprise our students’ college experience, including a 6-week academic onboarding program, an emergency fund, and community partnerships for mental health, technology access and financial support. We’ve learned a lot about what works and doesn’t work for our students, and now we’re ready to expand the services and support we provide. 

As a College Coach and Program Strategist, you’ll work directly with Shilpa Bhongir, our Director of College Programs. 

Your mission will be two-fold, with a focus on program operations and implementation: 

Coach 10-15 students toward earning a BA (25%)

  • Through 1:1 coaching sessions (both virtual and, during non-pandemic times, in-person), phone calls, video chats, and texts, you might play any number of roles, including academic tutor, problem-solver, confidante, goal-setter, consultant, and motivational speaker. You will also monitor student progress outside of these sessions, proactively supporting your students as unexpected challenges arise.
  • To do this work well, you’ll need to balance helping students make progress with efficiency, empathy with high expectations, and patience with pace.

Strengthen and implement our program design, services and support (75%) 

  • Program implementation (35%): You’ll play an essential role in implementing support services, from planning weekly study sessions and yearly graduations, to coordinating community resources, such as mental health support and our emergency fund.  
  • Program operations (30%): To make sure any services you design are replicable and sustainable, you’ll establish efficient processes, document those processes in handbooks and trackers, and develop student-facing communications that outline what supports we offer. 
  • Program strategy (10%): Based on knowledge you gain about our students’ needs, you’ll work with our Director of College Programs to shape our program strategy—designing and experimenting to improve academic support, student communication, community partnerships, and more. 

Who you are 

Characteristics & qualities

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 want to be part of changing outcomes.

You jump at the chance to solve problems collaboratively. You ask a lot of questions to uncover the nature of things. When interacting with others, you listen first, then speak. You don’t assume that you have all the answers, and you are always open to new knowledge, even if it destabilizes your assumptions. You propose ideas after reflecting on multiple approaches and weighing the best outcome. You regularly reflect on what could be better — with society, with your organization, with your work. 

You’re hungry to build tools, processes and resources that can make people’s lives easier. You sweat the small stuff, and are meticulous about documenting, communicating and organizing your work, particularly through technology. You love distilling and simplifying complex information. When you create things, you always keep real people and real needs at the forefront of your work. When your approach doesn’t work, you pivot. 

You care deeply about achieving excellence, but never at the expense of yourself or others. You’d rather face the truth than dwell in the comfort zone. You don’t wait for others to hand you directions or tasks; you chart your own path. You aren’t afraid to experiment with something new — or maybe you are, but you’re going to try it anyway. 

Work experience and background 

You have experience mentoring, coaching, or teaching people from diverse backgrounds. 

You have a history of creating flawless deliverables, whether in school, at work, or in your personal life. These could include presentations, email communications, reports, event itineraries & logistics, and/or spreadsheet trackers.

You’re comfortable turning ideas into reality. You’ve planned events, workshops, or programs that required you to meet multiple deadlines and collaborate with others. You have experience interpreting data (both qualitative and quantitative) to inform your strategy.

You are a keen communicator, writer, and presenter. You know how to adapt to different audiences and environments, whether it’s a 1:1 meeting with a student or a group workshop.

In general, we define “work experience” broadly, and we care as much about work experience as we do your character, potential, and belief in our mission of building a better college experience for low-income and working students.

We do not absolutely require a Bachelor’s degree, but we do view it as an asset. Rivet School also supports staff members without a BA on their pathway to earning a college degree. We also are particularly enthusiastic about candidates who share proximity to our learners — candidates who worked while attending college, attended a community college en route to a BA, were an adult or parent learner, or in some other way deviated from the so-called “traditional” pathway.

Why you should apply 

As a College Coach and Program Strategist, you’ll have the unique opportunity to both work directly with students, as well as translate your insights into improving our program. You’ll use your critical thinking, exacting attention to detail, and emotional intelligence to increase access to higher education and, more broadly, to economic opportunity.

Here’s what a few current students have to say about their Coach and Rivet School’s programs:

The support I get from my Coach has been life-changing.
The way the program is built makes it easier to balance work, life, and school without feeling overwhelmed while allowing you to move as quickly or slowly as needed.
The commitment of my Coach is beyond me, and it makes me so grateful that even when I feel like giving up, I have my Coach to give me those pep talks and put plans into action.
This program is a great resource and I hope it’s around for years to come. Without it I wouldn’t be able to go back to school and get a degree. 

We’re committed to helping you achieve your professional and learning goals, so expect to grow. This will be really hard…but also (based on our first-hand experience) really fun.

The nitty gritty

  • Target start date: Monday, 11/7/22
  • This is a full-time role with flexible hours and location. You’ll have a lot of flexibility in the hours you work, but because many of our students work during the day, coaching often happens in the late afternoon or evening. Ideally, you’ll be comfortable working shifted hours (for instance, 11am - 7pm) up to 3 days per week.
  • Our office is in Richmond, CA, but our students live and work all around the greater Bay Area and California. Based on current local COVID-19 case counts, our team is fully remote and will continue working remotely until conditions improve. At that point, you’ll be expected to work in our Richmond office at least 1 day per week to attend team meetings. Periodically, you may need to travel to SF / South Bay for coaching, but outside of that, you’re free to work where you like.
  • We do mandate proof of vaccination and boosters against COVID-19 for employment, to be submitted at the time of offer acceptance. 
  • We offer health benefits (medical, dental, and vision), 15 days of PTO per year, 17 recognized holiday days off, 1 personal day, and 10 days of Wellness Time (formerly known as sick time).
  • 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 associated salary range for these levels is $70,000 - $80,000 / year.

Rivet School works to upend historically entrenched inequities by reimagining the post-secondary school experience, especially for first-generation and non-traditional students. We commit to living our mission and values by hiring a diverse team, and especially welcome candidates who reflect the identities and experiences of the students we serve—who are majority parents, Black and Latinx, and low to middle-income—to apply.

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.

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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.