Job Details

Part-Time Instructor - Lifelong Information for Entrepreneurs (LIFE) Program

Mercy Corps, Portland, OR

Job - Non-Profit

Close Date: 08/16/2019

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, Mercy Enterprise Corporation. The organization was established in 1998 as a program of Mercy Corps, the Portland-based international relief and development agency. MCNW is a Community Development Financial Institution that assists all low-income populations, including people of color, women, refugees and immigrants, incarcerated and previously incarcerated people in Oregon and Washington states by increasing their economic self-sufficiency and community integration through self-employment. For more information about Mercy Corps Northwest, visit

LIFE Inside is an 80-hour accredited business and life skills curriculum currently taught at two institutions in the Portland area, Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (CCCF) in Wilsonville, OR and Columbia River Correctional Facility in Portland, OR. Accredited by Portland Community College, the individual in this role qualifies as an adjunct faculty member and is supported by an additional wage provided for that position. LIFE works to build participants’ resiliency though entrepreneurial and life skills training. Twenty-five to thirty incarcerated individuals engage in a cohort over the course of 24-32 weeks.

The curriculum includes small business development topics such as profit and loss projections, legal organization, break-even analysis and marketing. In addition to learning the elements of small business ownership, participants gain skills in communication, conflict management, goal planning and time management. Two to three people who have participated in previous classes mentor and assist in teaching.

General Position Summary

The position involves teaching small business, marketing and life skills such as budgeting, legal organization, break-even analysis, healthy communication, conflict management, goal planning and negotiation leadership, and profit and loss to incarcerated individuals with the help of skilled volunteers. In addition to the weekly classroom instruction, this position coordinates volunteers and all administrative processes required to hold the course at each institution. Furthermore, this position will be supporting the development and packaging of the LIFE Inside curriculum for sale across the country. Additional responsibilities can be tailored for qualified and interested candidates.

This position is also required to attend team meetings with the Prison & Reentry Services Program Manager and other members of the Prison & Reentry Services team.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Act as lead instructor of 32-week LIFE Inside curriculum in Coffee Creek Correctional Facility and at Columbia River Correctional Facility with the assistance of skilled volunteer instructors using facilitator guide and knowledge of classroom management.
Prepare amply for each LIFE Inside class, including reviewing the upcoming lesson plan, printing all required materials for class, and coordinating with volunteer instructors.
Adhere to the established format and process of the class.

Participate in the interview and selection process of students for future classes.
Mentor, coach and engage with the students in each LIFE Session.

Support in the development and packaging of the LIFE Inside curriculum, including participating in building “train the trainer” curriculum and a webinar for buyers.
Support MCNW Prison & Reentry Services program manager by cross-training on key administrative processes (i.e. data reporting) to ensure program continues to support the evidence-based impact/outcomes defined by Portland Community College, Mercy Corps Northwest, Oregon Department of Corrections, and any other identified parties.
Communicate with rotating list of volunteers to inform them and receive feedback on the plan for classroom implementation for the week.
Facilitate and participate in the hiring of a support instructor.
Communicate with Portland Community College on a regular basis to ensure student registration, student communication, and completion of each required course.
Maintain and improve LIFE curriculum and class materials on an ongoing basis.
Be main point of contact with Oregon Department of Corrections on all aspects of LIFE Inside course at both institutions.
Meet weekly with Prison & Reentry Services Program Manager.

Additional duties can be tailored for qualified and interested Contribute as needed to the success, evolution and growth of the LIFE Program.

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.
Required for this role: Participation in 29 hours of in-person Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training with a community partner; a 4-hour in-person introductory trauma informed care training; and a secondary in-person training addressing trauma secondary stress and the impact and solutions to vicarious traumatization in the workforce.

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

Supervisory Responsibility

Reports Directly To: Prison & Reentry Services Program Manager
Works Directly With: Mercy Corps Northwest team, clients, and volunteers.

Knowledge and Experience

Experience teaching or training in a classroom setting, developing educational materials, and training trainers or volunteer instructors.
BA/S or equivalent in business, finance, banking, community development, economics and/or other relevant field or entrepreneurial experience, strongly preferred.
Keen understanding of power dynamics and experience leading classrooms through a social justice centered framework.
Experience in a small business and/or small business support role, preferred.
Experience with strengths-based, trauma-informed case management.
Knowledge of the lived experience of incarcerated individuals.
Knowledge of working with diverse populations such as (but not limited to) individuals suffering from depression, substance abuse, or anxiety.
Strong computer skills and administrative experience.
Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to negotiate and build collaborative agreements with diverse groups of people.
Ability to prioritize competing demands with attention to detail and efficiency.
Ability to speak a second language, such as, Spanish, or other languages is a plus. .

Success Factors

A successful candidate will be a self-starter with ability to work both independently and in collaboration with a team, be able to coordinate multiple projects simultaneously, and manage a variety of diverse details. The candidate must be able to work collaboratively with low-income and multicultural populations on issues relating to community development and education. They must have the ability to travel to CCCF and CRCI and have the ability to pass a background screening for entry into local prisons.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Portland, Oregon and it requires travel throughout the Portland Metro Area, primarily to CCCF and CRCI.

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.

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