Job Announcement: College and Career Counselor, Earn and Learn

*PLEASE NOTE: To apply for this position, please submit your application at under posting IREC IRC8126. The deadline to submit applications is Oct. 18, 2015 at 11:59 pm CT.

The Cowen Institute: The mission of the Cowen Institute is to advance public education and youth success in New Orleans and beyond. Launched in 2007, we inform relevant stakeholders, decision makers, and the public at large on issues related to K-12 public education, disconnected youth, and college and career readiness. We promote the practical application of data and analysis to improve education and career pathways for youth. We also proactively develop, incubate, and operate innovative initiatives that support students and young adults. Based at Tulane University, a national research and regional anchor institution, we strive to positively impact our community and strengthen the local and regional economy.

Opportunity Youth: At least one in six young adults in the United States is disconnected from school and work. Given the lifetime cost of these disconnected young people—approximately $260,000 in lost tax revenues and increased social spending—innovative solutions to this socioeconomic crisis are not only overdue but also promise tremendous returns on investment. Nationally, 5.5 million youth are considered opportunity youth. As of August 2013, just 45% of youth aged 16 to 24 in the nation were employed. Currently, more than 25,000 opportunity youth live in the Greater New Orleans area. Of the 50 largest metros in the country, New Orleans has the third highest rate of opportunity youth. The total lifetime taxpayer costs of all of the opportunity youth in the New Orleans metro area is estimated to be between $3.1 and $4.1 billion.

The Earn and Learn Career Pathways Program: In the fall of 2014, the Cowen Institute launched the Earn and Learn Career Pathways program. Enrolled opportunity youth work for and are paid by Tulane over the course of a year, while also receiving intensive career-focused technical and academic skills training through the Accelerated Career Education program at Delgado Community College. Participants in the Earn and Learn program focus on one of two high-growth sectors: Skilled Crafts/Advanced Manufacturing or Creative Digital Media/IT. Upon completing the program, participants will receive an industry-based credential and program staff will help them to connect to employment and further educational opportunities. The Earn and Learn program is modeled on a market-driven approach: by providing youth with employment opportunities and professional development support, Tulane will prepare them for jobs in high-growth industries that pay a livable wage. By establishing an intensive workforce-training program, Tulane seeks to strengthen New Orleans’ human capital pipeline as well as foster prosperity in local youth’s lives.

Youth enrolled in the program are 18-24 years old and either have, or are working towards, a high school credential. They spend approximately 40 hours a week in the program: 20 hours a week working for Tulane and 20 hours in the classroom engaged in academic and vocational training. Participants work in apprenticeships in various departments across the university. Program curriculum includes an extensive focus on soft-skills development, including knowing how to interact with co-workers, being on time for work and meetings, and how to dress appropriately in the workplace. Finally, recognizing that opportunity youth generally require a number of support services in order to thrive in the workplace, the Cowen Institute has also partnered with Tulane’s School of Social Work to provide case management and clinical interventions for program participants.


The College and Career Counselor for the Cowen Institute’s Earn and Learn Program is responsible for the design, implementation and oversight of personalized postsecondary and career readiness plans for each at-risk youth and young adult program participants (16 to 24 years old). The counseling framework shall focus on providing program participants with postsecondary and career readiness, education, social emotional skills development, and/or other supportive services resources. The Earn and Learn program is a workplace learning opportunity for New Orleans Opportunity Youth—16-24 year olds disconnected from school and work. This position serves as the primary counselor for all program participants, oversees the supportive services referral and tracking system, and serves as a liaison to the Opportunity Youth Data Sharing Council. Like other members of the Earn and Learn team, the College and Career Counselor is also responsible for enhancing the program’s mission and specific goals and success metrics. This position is funded in part through a Social Innovation Fund grant through Jobs for the Future’s Opportunity Works program. As such, this position is responsible for participating in the Program Navigator Learning Community, bringing emerging/promising practices to this group, and achieving standards set in the grant. The College and Career Counselor, Earn and Learn reports to the Senior Manager, Earn and Learn.


Bachelor’s degree and 5 years’ postsecondary or career counseling experience working with at-risk youth OR high school diploma/equivalent and 11 years’ postsecondary or career counseling experience working with at-risk youth.


Highly proficient counseling, motivational interviewing, advising, and case management skills.
Strong relationship skills and orientation.
Ability to effectively relate to young adults, recognize their potential for growth, and support them in their efforts to succeed.
Effective program and project management skills.
Self-directed and results oriented, with the ability to thrive in an evolving workplace.
Well organized and detail oriented.
Effective conflict resolution and restorative justice skills.
Belief in the ability of all youth, regardless of background, to succeed.
Excellent verbal and written communication skills.


Master’s degree in Social Work, Counseling, Education, or a comparable field of study
Track record of achieving results with youth facing adversity.
Familiarity with New Orleans educational system in general and Cowen Institute’s work.


Life coaching design, Typical % Allocation: 30%

Oversee all aspects of “life coaching,” including designing frameworks, coaching staff members on counseling best practices, ensuring that life coaching standards are met, and developing individual assessments and interventions for program participants.
Develop an Individualized Success Plan (ISP) for each Earn and Learn participant.
Manage social work interns who will be assisting students in the program.
Design a strong referral system that works in concert with the Opportunity Youth Data Sharing Council and its data platform.
Counseling, Typical % Allocation: 30%

Maintain a caseload of 20-25 participants. Provide supportive services to participants working towards their ISP.
Design and facilitate group sessions with participants who need support in a common area.

Data collection and review, Typical % Allocation: 20%

Conduct weekly team meetings to review “early warning” indicators and identify participants who need additional support. Develop intervention plans accordingly.
Serve as the primary liaison to the Opportunity Youth Data Sharing Council, a data-sharing consortium among direct service providers in the New Orleans area who use a common data entry platform and set standards of practice and success for the field.

Social Innovation Fund Learning Community, Typical % Allocation: 10%

Ensure that life coaching standards are met according to the grant.
Participate in local Program Navigator Learning Community.
Participate in Jobs for the Future Opportunity Works trainings and events as necessary.
Performs other duties as requested or required, whether or not specifically mentioned in this job description. Typical % Allocation: 10%

*PLEASE NOTE: To apply for this position, please submit your application at under posting IREC IRC8126. The deadline to submit applications is Oct. 11, 2015 at 11:59 pm CT.

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