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First Program Specialist

Salary: 25.62-$31.28 hourly / $4,457-$5,441 monthly / Range: 5836

DEFINITION: Under direction, develops, implements, coordinates, and supervises a Countywide program for educational and related services for young children and their families; provides professional-level support to the Executive Director and to the First 5 Children and Families Commission in its mission to promote, support, and improve the early development of children from the prenatal stage to five years of age; and performs related duties as required.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: This class is distinguished from First 5 managers and the First 5 Executive Director in that incumbents are responsible for developing, overseeing, and supervising one or more specific programs under the auspices of the First 5 Commission, whereas the managers, and Executive Director are responsible for determining the division's direction, goals, objectives, and standards of success, under the strategic direction of the First 5 Children and Families Commission.

Types of First 5 Program Specialists include:

* Preschool for All Specialist directed to lead and support efforts to plan and prepare for a universal preschool system in Santa Barbara County
* Program Quality Improvement Specialist directed to improving the quality of early care and education programs, including workforce development and program quality improvement
* Technical Assistance and Program Specialist directed to developing, implementing, coordinating and monitoring First 5 contracts and annual technical assistance plans for contract providers and others who provide services to young children and their caretakers.

This description provides an overview of primary duties and requirements of all Specialist positions within First 5 Santa Barbara County.


Preschool for All Specialist: Supports a Countywide taskforce; continues regional planning efforts; engages new partners and new regions; creates toolkits, reports and other documents to support planning efforts; provides technical assistance to potential universal preschool programs; represents the local efforts at the state level; informs key stakeholders and the community about universal preschool and advocate for supportive programs and funding.

Program Quality Improvement Specialist: Plans, organizes and coordinates a countywide program quality improvement project including Stipend for Training and Retention (CARES) and AB 212 , Santa Barbara County Accreditation Facilitation Project and other locally designed program quality improvement projects; establishes funding procedures and oversees monetary awards; develops policy and procedures for Program Quality Improvement programs; ensures compliance in accordance with grant guidelines and requirements, collaborates with other entities on workforce development and higher education efforts; provides technical assistance, site visits and professional growth advisement to clients of the program quality improvement project; advocates for high quality early care and education programs, represents the local effort at federal, state and local levels; develops and oversees Program Quality Improvement budgets; plans, coordinates and facilitates quality improvement trainings in response to community and grant requirements.

Technical Assistance and Program Specialist: Develop annual Technical Assistance Plans for training and support of contracted agency; develops and oversees budget for TA; Facilitate all logistics for training events including individual event budget, speakers, materials, communication and evaluation; Coordinates with state-wide and regional Technical Assistance programs; serves as an Initiative Liaison to two or more Commission directed Initiatives; performs site visits, supports evaluation of results and facilitates contract compliance of funded agencies. Works with developing programs to assist in capacity-building, community development and systems integration.

Duties for all Specialist positions:

1. Plans, organizes, and coordinates one or more Countywide program(s) according to the goals and outcomes articulated in the program plan or grant application.
2. Drafts and implements project guidelines and procedures for, but not limited to, the assigned program; gathers input regarding project plans and operations and incorporates as appropriate.
3. Ensures proper evaluation of assigned program; oversees program compliance with First 5 and/or grant guidelines; tracks effectiveness of the program and makes appropriate modifications within the limits of the specialist's authority.
4. Represents and advocates for assigned program, communicating the progress, successes, and challenges of the program to the Commission, its management and staff, funders, and the community.
5. Plans and conducts complex technical studies and analyses that includes research, collection, tabulation and evaluation of information; develops reports and recommendations for action based on research and analysis; prepares written documentation, reports, and studies, including narrative and statistical/graphical information.
6. Interviews, selects, and trains staff; establishes performance standards, evaluates performance, and recommends disciplinary action.
7. Develops program budgets; monitors revenues and expenditures; researches and writes grant applications and grant reports, and solicits in-kind donations.
8. Reviews, analyzes, and interprets proposed and/or pending legislation to assess its impact on the assigned program area.
9. Attends appropriate meetings, trainings, workshops, or conferences to stay abreast of current issues and trends related to assigned program.
10. Provides technical assistance and coaching to service providers; facilitates collaboration of efforts by contractors and stakeholders; assists agencies with program development, implementation, and evaluation; develops materials and coordinates training of community partners.
11. Maintains cooperative relationships with community organizations, service providers, municipalities, and others; prepares and makes presentations to the public and associated agencies to communicate program objectives and activities.
12. Interacts with media; prepares and distributes informational program materials and press packets to media; serves as program spokesperson; organizes media events regarding program.


Possession of a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Development, AND,

1. two years of program administration experience in a public agency or non-profit organization, preferably involving the provision of services to children and families; must meet the qualification requirements for Program Director as set forth in the Child Development Permit Matrix, California Child Development Training Consortium (www.childdevelopment.org); or,
2. a combination of training, education, and experience equivalent to the above employment standard that provides the required knowledge and abilities.


Possession of a Bachelors degree from an accredited institution with a major in Communications, Education, Public Relations, Social Work, Early Childhood Development, Health Sciences, Public Administration, Business Administration, or a closely related field; AND,


Two years of relevant professional experience working in a public agency or non-profit corporation, preferably involving the provision of services to children and families and program evaluation. One of those years must be in a supervisory capacity; or,
2. a combination of training, education, and experience equivalent to the above employment standard that provides the required knowledge and abilities.


Additional Qualifications: Evening and weekend work and independent travel are required. Possession of a valid California Class C Driver's license is required at time of appointment.

Knowledge of: California Children and Families Act of 1998 (Proposition 10) and implementing legislation; relevant program standards, practical knowledge related to programming, theories and best practices; effective assessment and program evaluation techniques; analytical and research techniques; statistical methodology and analysis; cultural and linguistic diversity; principles and practices of budget, grant, and contract development and administration; technical and business writing; standard computer applications.

Ability to: establish and maintain collaborative professional relationships; establish and implement work plans; research, compile, and analyze data, identify creative and practical solutions, project consequences of proposed actions, and make and implement recommendations; communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing; speak effectively before small and large groups; prepare narrative and statistical reports and program materials; develop and manage program budgets; establish, balance, and adjust priorities; work independently; supervise, train, and evaluate staff, contractors, and volunteers; establish and maintain effective working relationships with diverse populations, such as public and private agencies, directors, teachers, school administrators, and contracted and other service providers; maintain confidentiality of information; and operate a personal computer.

Desirable Qualifications: Excellent writing skills, including experience in grant and report writing and contract administration; competence in public speaking; excellent interpersonal skills; group facilitation experience.

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