Program Manager, Human Capital and Workforce Development

07 Jul, 2021


Program Manager, Human Capital and Workforce Development

Heartland Forward
Bentonville, AR

Heartland Forward is seeking a skilled policy, government affairs, policy and/or economic development professional with experience in collaborating with multiple stakeholders to advance program advocacy and public policy activities. 

About the Position:

The Program Manager, Human Capital and Workforce Development, will lead Heartland Forward’s work for its program advocacy and public policy activities in one of four program areas 1) Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 2) Human Capital and Workforce Development, 3) Health and Wellness and 4) Regional Competitiveness. The Program Manager will report to the Chief Program Officer and will work closely with the Heartland Forward team to establish the agenda for policy engagement and advocacy in innovative approaches in workforce and human capital development. 

We desire to transfer our applied research into policy actions at the state, regional and local levels. This position will be a key point of contact with the “do” part of the “think and do” tank, responsible for developing a strategic plan with the goal to support Heartland Forward research, helping develop creative content and new partnerships, as it relates to human capital and workforce development.

This position will play an integral role in helping turn our research into action by increasing brand awareness, creating new partnerships, positioning Heartland Forward as a leader on policy solutions and a resource to help strengthen Heartland communities. Much of the initial program effort will need to be directed toward state-level initiatives to support policy in human capital and workforce development, with the goal to improve stakeholder and university engagement. The Program Manager will assist Heartland Forward and its leadership team to engage leaders, policymakers, investors, education institutions and our broader Heartland network.

The Program Manager must be extremely effective in developing, communicating and pitching a strategy that creates opportunities for Heartland Forward to recommend and be a resource for communities on public policies and practices consistent with our research findings and mission/vision. 



Design a program specific strategy that develops and promotes human capital and workforce development by generating and sharing insights, recommending policy solutions with a simplified/accelerated approach and serving as a resource to strengthen communities – all while engaging leaders, policymakers and our broader Heartland network.

Research best practices on ways to transform high school programs to provide career pathways and apprenticeship programs for students. Establish training partnerships between the private sector and community colleges that can better align workforce skills with requirements of employers. 

Help establish and meet goals by which we measure program and policy impact.

In coordination with the communications and research teams – develop and manage presentations, one-pagers/white papers, collateral and written/digital communication to support program focus area.

Identify speaking engagements for Heartland Forward and its leadership that align with the specific program area.

Support leadership team to build and maintain relationships with elected officials at a local, state, and national level and with other key stakeholders.

Coordinate with broader programs team to develop community toolkits and resources to gain the participation of policymakers and stakeholder groups – providing a resource to advocate and adopt Heartland Forward recommendations.

Ensure cohesive coordination/collaboration between program workstreams and the broader ecosystem.

Effectively communicate with leadership and Heartland team by providing ongoing updates and relevant content to ensure full alignment with overall team.

Who we are looking for: 

Basic qualifications required for the role:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 5-7 years of experience in policy, government affairs and/or economic development related field.
  • Entrepreneurial and/or start-up research experience.
  • Understanding of regional economic and demographic data.
  • Demonstrated policy experience in a “think tank”, corporate, consulting or government setting.
  • Experience in developing PowerPoint presentations and managing complex data with Excel spreadsheets.
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills. Must be able to translate complex economic and planning issues for an educated audience

Additional preferred qualifications and helpful experience includes:

  • Master’s degree in related field.
  • Experience working in small to medium sized companies or a start-up environment. 
  • Demonstrated record of working and implementing initiatives by running a successful political, issue advocacy, electoral and legislative campaign.


Characteristics that support success:

  • Unquestionable ethics and integrity. Demonstrated ability to protect privacy and maintain discretion in dealing with highly confidential information.
  • Very strong interpersonal skills, professional demeanor, and ability to maintain grace under pressure when adapting to a rapidly changing environment, including reprioritization or reassignment of responsibilities.
  • Must be a self-starter who takes initiative.
  • Ability to meet deadlines, prioritize assignments, and juggle multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Resourceful team-player, solution-oriented, intellectual agility and the ability to analyze and think critically.
  • Effective independently and in a semi-remote environment.
  • Remain accessible and responsive beyond business hours.

 To Apply:

Please email your resume to Jessica Sporleder,

About Heartland Forward

Heartland Forward is a 501 (c) (3) nonpartisan, nonprofit “think and do tank.” Heartland Forward’s mission is to improve economic performance in the center of the United States by advocating for fact-based solutions to foster job creation, knowledge-based and inclusive growth and improved health outcomes. We conduct independent, data-driven research to facilitate action-oriented discussion and impactful policy recommendations.

Heartland Forward is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to building and maintaining a culturally diverse workplace. We encourage women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status of protected veteran, or status as a qualified individual with a disability.

Job posted: 2021-07-07