WEHDC: Career Opportunity: Dunamis Synergy Initiative Director



Exempt Salaried Full Time

Background Information:

Dunamis” is a Greek word meaning power, might, strength, ability, and authority. “Synergy” is the combined power of a group that is greater than the sum of their parts. Dunamis Synergy is a collective impact initiative to support expectant and parenting teens, student parents and their children as they strive together to achieve their educational potential and establish a legacy of prosperity that passes from one generation to the next. Dunamis Synergy, via a comprehensive “two generation” service coordination model, works to complement and leverage existing efforts to address the needs of Rhode Island families and increase college access, persistence, and completion in the state.

Postsecondary credentials have become the threshold for access to the middle class and financial independence. Education is the gateway to opportunity, with well-educated, well-trained workers needed to fill most positions in the state's economy. Yet, in Rhode Island, only 27% of mothers who gave birth between the ages of 15 and 25 and enroll in post secondary institutions persist more than one semester, only 15% persist more than one year, and only 6% graduate. Only 1.8% of mothers who give birth during high school graduate with a credential from a post-secondary institution. These dismally low graduation rates significantly dim prospects for young parents and their children to build their futures.

We believe that post-secondary and early education, stable housing, economic supports, social capital development, and health and well-being are the core elements required to improve educational, health, and social outcomes and create an intergenerational cycle of opportunity among young families. Using a collective impact, 2 Generation approach, Dunamis Synergy seeks to braid together the resources and partners required to support parenting teens and young adults who are prepared to build their family's future through education.

West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation (WEHDC) and its partners, which include the RI Department of Human Services, the RI Department of Health, the RI Office of the Post-Secondary Commissioner, the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, Roger Williams University, the Nowell Leadership Academy and others, will work over the next 10 years at least triple the number of parenting students age 15-25 in Providence and statewide earning post-secondary degrees and credentials while ensuring that their children are healthy and prepared to learn.

The Initiative Director will be responsible for establishing and leading the day to day operations of the Dunamis Synergy initiative to serve expectant and parenting teens, students, and their families living in Providence and state-wide and for facilitating the larger Dunamis Synergy collaboration. The Initiative Director will have primary responsibility for working with partners to implement and regularly update the Dunamis Synergy work plan to achieve the goals of the initiative.


Parent Engagement and Advocacy

 Work with WEHDC community engagement staff to place student parents at the center of the initiative.

 Support strong participant voice in the ongoing design and implementation of the initiative.

 Maintain and grow the initiative's Parent Leadership team, utilizing parent leaders as both thought and implementation partners.

 With parent leaders and partner organizations regularly deliver a Parent Leadership Academy designed to create student parent advocates.

 Work with student parent advocates and partner organizations to develop a comprehensive systems change agenda designed to significantly increase the number of parents earning post-secondary credentials.

 Advocate alongside expectant and parenting teens and students and partners to secure needed systems changes and resources.

Program and Staff Development/Management

 Work with the Executive Director, consultants, and senior staff at WEHDC to establish, grow, and sustain all elements of the program.

 Work collaboratively with program partners to hire, manage, and supervise staff positions including a Family Coaching team.

 With staff and partners, serve a cohort of approximately 150 teen and student parents in community, secondary, and post-secondary settings.

 Coordinate training and ongoing professional development to ensure that staff are highly skilled at their jobs and support positive outcomes among participants.

Network Management

 Support the creation of a network of systems partners and student parents to advance the initiative.

 Convene and staff the Dunamis Synergy Steering Committee and initiative workgroups to implement the Dunamis Synergy work plan and to build trust and shared accountability.

 Serve as a strong, neutral, and skilled facilitator to guide staff, partners and parents towards consensus.

 Serve as the primary liaison between WEHDC and partners to ensure effective collaboration and program operations.


 Develop and implement effective communication strategies to support networks and to ensure stakeholders remain informed of the initiative's goals, objectives, progress, results, and successes.

 Track progress towards key results and report progress to partners, community members, funders, and other key stakeholders

 Represent the initiative and build support in the community.

Resource Development and Management

 Work with Dunamis Synergy partners and consultants to secure investments to help build and sustain the initiative and implement priority strategies and activities.

 Work with consultants and staff to document community-based resources available to participants.

 With support from Family Coaches and Dunamis Synergy partners, build off existing relationships and establish new partnerships to advance the initiative and better meet participant needs.

 Work with partners, participants, parent leaders and consultants to document and address program and system related challenges and barriers.

 Work with WEHDC staff to support grant related administration.

Data, Innovation and Learning

 Model the use of data to inform planning and decision-making, including the development of an initiative dashboard to monitor and measure progress.

 Ensure innovation and continuous quality improvement through the effective use of data and evaluation resources.

 Work with the initiative evaluator and others to generate high quality data and evidence required to sustain the effort.


 A Masters degree and a minimum of 5 years relevant work experience in one or more of the following areas: Education, social work, human services, healthcare/public health, public administration, or a related field, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

 Previous experience developing and managing complex programs, ideally involving service coordination across multiple partners.

 A history building consensus among diverse stakeholders working toward a common goal.

 Demonstrated project management skills

 Experience engaging in policy and systems change work.

 Previous experience with grant writing, management and resource development.

 Must be culturally competent and value diversity, equity, and cultural differences.

 Lived experience as a teen or young student parent is preferred.


Send your resume and a cover letter describing your qualifications via email to contact @westelmwood.org. Please include “Dunamis Synergy Initiative Director” in the e-mail subject line.

West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Prohibits Discrimination and Harassment of Any Kind. WEHDC is committed to the principle of equal employment opportunity for all employees and to providing employees with a work environment free of discrimination and harassment. All employment decisions are based on business needs, job requirements and individual qualifications, without regard to race, color, religion or belief, national, social or ethnic origin, sex (including pregnancy), age, physical, mental or sensory disability, HIV Status, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, marital, civil union or domestic partnership status, past or present military service, family medical history or genetic information, family or parental status, or any other status protected by the laws or regulations in Rhode Island

Courtesy of West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation

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