Program Specialist, Economic Growth

Creative Associates International
Chevy Chase, Maryland
Closing date
Oct 24, 2021

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Position Type
Economic Anthropology
Organization Type

Creative Associates International is a dynamic, fast-growing global development firm that specializes in education, economic growth, governance and post-crisis stabilization. Based in Chevy Chase, Creative has a field presence in more than 25 countries with a strong client portfolio that includes the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department, among others. Since its founding in 1977, Creative has earned a solid reputation among its clients and is well-regarded by competitors and partners alike.

Position Summary:

Creative seeks a Program Specialist for the Economic Growth Division. The Program Specialist (PS) will provide day-to-day backstopping support to the Trade, Investment, and Private Sector Engagement Practice Area in the Economic Growth Division (EGD). This position is expected to provide day-to-day support to the Project Director and Project Manager for a USAID-funded rural livelihoods project in East Asia, in addition to other projects as appropriate. The PS works under regular supervision performing responsible assignments within their program area, including providing project backstopping support, traveling internationally for field project and reconnaissance activities, supporting small grants programs, and conducting procurements for goods and services. Work also involves developing and managing budgets. This position supports Project Manager(s) and field team members, handles operational activities, implements project-related decisions, and participates in proposal and business development activities, provides general support to technical teams, as needed. The position is based in Chevy Chase.

Reporting & Supervision:

Program Specialists report to the Project Manager and/or the Project Director.

NOTE: Different projects require different levels of project management skills based on their strategic importance, project profile and complexity, specificity, scope, and geographic location. Creative formally sanctions, and reserves the right to modify, the skill and position level(s) needed for each project.

Expected Outcomes:

Project Management

PSs provide consistent and timely support to project teams during project ramp-ups, implementation and closedowns of assigned projects, working closely with field and HQ teams to help meet contractual obligations and fiscal targets. PSs work helps to ensure program compliance with client and Creative's administrative, reporting, financial, procurement and operational procedures. PSs keep senior project leadership abreast of significant threats, project implementation deficiencies and opportunities.

Financial Management

PSs help meet project performance targets and revenue projections based on hands-on project and financial management skills, including tracking and monitoring functions for procurement of materials and services, and reviewing/processing invoices and payment documentation. PSs may also assist with active management of vacancies, non-billables, and foregone revenue. Projects requiring important course corrections or corporate support are elevated to senior management.

Staff Management

Program Specialists help ensure project field staff are tangibly supported technically and professionally; their professional objectives and personal needs are well understood, as are those of key staff in the field. Contributions to meaningful, constructive and timely performance reviews may be requested. PSs help identify opportunities to enhance HQ and field coordination and communication.

New Business Development

PSs assist with proposal development and business development efforts, as needed. It is estimated that PSs will spend 25-40% of their times on business development efforts, depending on the actual needs. Creative projects demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit and seize opportunities in the local marketplace and pave the way for the realization of new business opportunities. PSs help Creative's visibility before stakeholders.

Learning & Adaptation

PSs assist in incorporating defined learning agendas as well as M&E plans into project strategy and program/project implementation from concept to closure as well as helps document and catalog project interventions and innovations. Pause-and-Reflect events capture salient programmatic aspects with potential for replication or scale up. Salient activities are celebrated and promoted through Creative's Communications Department.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Backstops field projects on technical, financial, and administrative tasks or other assigned projects;
  • Reviews and processes project documentation, including invoices; ensures transaction compliance; and monitors processes upon request;
  • Develops and monitors consultant agreements, coordinates travel, and facilitates timely payments;
  • Provides support on project deliverables, such as quarterly report and work plans, and technical program design and implementation;
  • Works on assigned business development and proposal activities, as needed;
  • Uses mastery of company's administrative processes, financial systems, and operating procedures-- including Creative's project management systems--in performing duties;
  • Works closely with support divisions in HQ including HR, Contracts, Procurement, Field Operations, Communications, and Finance, to support complex project needs as they arise;
  • Utilizes knowledge of contract requirements, deliverables and budgets to manage key aspects of project documentation;
  • Provides support to expatriate and third country national (TCN) personnel, particularly with their allowances, as needed;
  • Plans and participates in research and fact-finding trips in preparation for competing for new business opportunities; travels to project sites or for new business opportunities, if needed; and
  • Represents a practice area before other Creative teams, clients, and critical audiences.

Minimum Skills & Qualifications:

NOTE: Your job title is based on the role you perform, and you must meet the minimum qualifications for that job title. Greater (higher) education and experience than minimum qualifications do not automatically classify you into a higher-level job title/position.

Minimum Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor's Degree in a relevant field, such as international development, anthropology, economics, gender studies, etc., and one year of relevant experience, or a Master's degree and limited relevant experience;
  • Demonstrated interest in inclusive economic development, entrepreneurship, agribusiness, market systems strengthening, gender and social inclusion, or youth development;
  • Experience or demonstrated interest in East Asia;
  • Strong writing and editing skills;
  • Excellent communication and analytical skills;
  • Strong organizational and administrative skills;
  • Ability to work well in a team environment as well as independently;
  • Ability to multi-task under tight deadlines;
  • Highly motivated and intellectually curious;
  • Proactive problem-solver;
  • Team player with strong work ethic and empathy;
  • Comprehensive knowledge of Microsoft programs (Excel, PowerPoint, MS project, etc.); and
  • Ability to travel internationally on short notice.

Desired Skills and Qualifications

  • Professional proficiency in Spanish/French/Mandarin desired;
  • One short-term technical assignment in the field;
  • Experience volunteering or working with underserved communities in the U.S. or internationally;
  • Proven ability to work cross-culturally;
  • Knowledge of agricultural systems and markets, inclusive economic development, and/or value chain analysis;
  • Experience tracking budgets and program expenses;
  • Experience working with consultants and vendors;
  • Experience organizing and managing program/project knowledge/information;
  • Experience supporting small grants programs;
  • Experience developing and managing budgets;
  • Knowledge of U.S. government donor regulations; and
  • Returned Peace Corp Volunteers strongly encouraged to apply.

Only finalists will be contacted. No phone calls, please.

Creative Associates International Inc. is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer (gender/race/disability/veteran) and provides equal opportunity to all individuals regardless of their race, color, creed, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state, federal, or local law.

Please view Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Posters provided by OFCCP here.

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