Job Details

Youth Officer

Mercy Corps, Portland, OR

Job - Non-Profit

Close Date: 09/09/2019

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.

Program / Department Summary

Mercy Corps Northwest (MCNW) is the assumed business name for the 501(C)3 non-profit, which is the domestic arm of Mercy Corps. The organization was established in 1998 as a local program of Mercy Corps, the Portland-based international relief and development agency that assists all low-income populations, including people of color, women, refugees and immigrants, incarcerated and previously incarcerated people in Oregon and Washington. MCNW helps underserved and underrepresented people increase their economic self-sufficiency and community integration through self-employment and small business development services. For more information about Mercy Corps Northwest, visit

General Position Summary

This is a new position to help MCNW reach, include, and support youth (defined in this case as 16-24 years old) through our existing programming with an emphasis on communities of color, immigrants, and refugees. The Youth Officer will be instrumental in creating and executing MCNW’s youth engagement strategy. Although MCNW already includes youth in some of its programming, we have never had an intentional focus on youth nor had implicit strategies to include youth in our menu of services in Oregon and Washington.

Through this position, MCNW will be: 1) better connected to and will work with organizations that serve youth, 2) have an improved understanding of the asset building, financial resilience, and small business needs of youth and be better equipped to integrate their needs into our programming, 3) be better positioned to serve the justice-involved youth with which we are already working, and 4) strengthen our connections to communities and families we serve through support provided for youth in those groups.

In sync with its overall mission, MCNW will focus on youth from underserved communities, which could include people of color, refugees and immigrants, youth who have been incarcerated (or from families in which a parent was incarcerated). MCNW’s goal is to create more resilient youth who understand and can manage their credit score, their personal finances including savings, and are more knowledgeable about the risks and opportunities of entrepreneurship as a part-time or full-time opportunity should they want to move to into this space. We also will connect youth with other organizations and companies that can offer youth with needed services or opportunities, including but not limited to: social services, internship/apprenticeships or opportunities to pursue specific industry opportunities.

Essential Job Responsibilities


Work with the Youth Officer’s supervisor to develop a youth engagement strategy that aligns with our current and planned core services in Oregon and Washington. This strategy will help us deepen our engagement with youth around small business development services, asset building, programming, and community resilience.
Lead partnership and resource mapping to identify and prioritize youth organizations with which MCNW wants to explore and collaborate to increase our offerings for youth. Leverage our AmeriCorps Vista program to deepen partnerships with youth organizations in which there is an AmeriCorps Vista housed in that organization.
Develop a youth engagement workplan that will help us execute against our strategy and partnership priorities.
Develop and organize activities to secure resources for programs and convince stakeholders to provide support.
Collaborate with existing Mercy Corps youth-based programming and initiatives to ensure consistency and strong organizational learning outcomes for local and international programming.
Work with the AmeriCorps Vista Supervisor and Coordinator to help support the MCNW-assigned AmeriCorps Vistas with their own professional development and career exposure.


Work with Program Managers to help them implement youth-related activities that are part of their programming. For instance, this could include recruiting youth to attend a MCNW Understanding Your Credit seminar or tracking progress for youth that are enrolled in our Individual Deposit Accounts (IDAs) at MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility.
Ensure that our programs are attractive to and reach out to youth and youth organizations.
Work with Program Managers to ensure our programs are responsive to youth needs and are consistent with Mercy Corps’ relevant program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards and strategic plan.
Develop partner MoUs with relevant youth organizations that will help us increase the numbers of youth we serve and deepen our offerings for youth. Leverage our AmeriCorps Vista partnership to work with youth organizations in which there is an AmeriCorps Vista volunteer housed there.
Work with Program Managers to develop youth outreach strategies for their programs including possible partners with which they should consider working.
Work with Program Managers to design new activities to explicitly include youth-based on program goals and objectives.
Work with MCNW leadership to draft proposals that include working with youth aligned to our strategy.
Create and maintain systems ensuring effective and transparent use of financial resources for timely and informative reporting in line with donor and Mercy Corps policies and procedures.
Fulfill Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards based on the organization-wide guide.


Ensure compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations.


Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with youth partners, donors, local governments and other stakeholders.
Communicate effectively to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.


As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.


Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our partners and to standards guiding our work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal participants in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Supervisory Responsibility



Reports Directly To: Education and Navigation Manager
Works Directly With: all MCNW team members—especially program-related team members—in Oregon and Washington.

Knowledge and Experiences:

BA/S or experience in education, community development, business administration, economics, marketing, education and/or a relevant field (or equivalent entrepreneurial experience).
2 years of experience supporting and delivering programs-preferably economic development, small business development, preparedness/resiliency work.
Some previous experience working with youth directly is required.
Strong computer skills and administrative experience in some or all of the following: Microsoft suite, Vista Share or other client tracking database, and WordPress.
Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to negotiate and build collaborative agreements with diverse groups of people, including clients, volunteers, governmental agencies, stakeholders, educators.
Superior written communication skills.
Strong ability to efficiently prioritize competing demands with attention to detail.
Cultural competency and lived experience with one or more communities currently served by Mercy Corps Northwest.
Ability to speak a second language such as Spanish is a plus.

Success Factors

We are looking for a self-starter for this new role. This should be someone who is experienced, passionate and committed to working with and empowering youth—particularly helping them to be more resilient. Must be able to communicate well, relate to and command the respect of youth ages 16-24 years old. We are looking for a strong team player who gets energy from working with and collaborating with other team members, youth and youth partners. This individual will need to be proactive and comfortable approaching and leading youth-related conversations with MCNW team members, youth and partners on their own. This individual should have proven planning and implementation skills. Lived experience and cultural competence with youth of color and underserved communities is critical to success in this role.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Portland, Oregon (and it requires up to 30 %) travel to other areas of Oregon and Washington. This position may require working on some evenings and weekends periodically.

Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision. Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.

Complete details: