Adult Learning Specialist

Job Summary:

The Learning and Evaluation Department is responsible for driving cross-functional learning, evaluation and innovation throughout the YMCA of Metro Chicago. The Office’s leading goal is to cement the Y as the region’s leading nonprofit provider of effective early childhood, youth, teen and family programs and services. The Learning and Evaluation team members work closely with other departments to develop a portfolio of high quality, evidence-based and measurable programs that are uniform and consistent across all of our 23 sites, camps and off site locations. The team is also responsible for identifying training expertise and modules at all levels within the Y in order to create a shared culture, understanding and common language for effective program services.

The Adult Learning Specialist position will report to the Director of Quality and Training and is responsible for assessing training needs and providing assistance in the development, delivery and evaluation of competency based training content and learning experiences to increase staff effectiveness within their role. The Adult Learning Specialist will work closely with Learning & Evaluation Advisors to develop the necessary supports to pilot and sustain high quality childhood, youth and family programs that promote “holistic learning”. The Adult Learning Specialist will assist in the design of an interdisciplinary coaching structure and provide coordination and consultation expertise to program operational leadership on adult learning theories and best practices.

Support the mission of the Y by executing training and supports that align to the strategic goals

  • Promote integration, coordination and collaboration in support of the Y’s mission and strategic goals to ensure school readiness and educational achievement for all Y program participants.
  • Support and collaborate with Learning and Evaluation Advisors to design training modules that promote Signature Programming ‘core features’ and developmentally-appropriate activities, program quality and fidelity.
  • In collaboration with Learning and Evaluation Advisors research and, when needed, create instructor-led training materials and self-paced learning content appropriate for YMCA staff members

Design formal and informal adult learning opportunities to support culture of continuous improvement

  • In collaboration with the Learning and Evaluation team, design a learning community infrastructure that promotes interdisciplinary working groups, peer coaching case study review, and formal opportunities for programmatic planning and reflection.
  • Research innovative strategies to foster learning culture (horizontally as well as vertically) throughout the Association
  • Collaborate with Human Resources team to create interactive multimedia training applications and learning programs.

Assess staff development needs and establish growth plans to achieve higher levels of quality and impactful programming

  • Serve as a subject matter expert in adult learning strategies in order to implement impactful youth programs
  • Conduct internal assessment of staff training and learning needs in order to align learning community outcomes to the Y’s strategic vision; map targeted learning community benchmarks based on initial assessment and long term goals.
  • Collaborate with field staff, program department staff and Learning and Evaluation team to ensure training content addresses necessary skill development of supervisors and direct service staff to maximize the quality and effectiveness outcome oriented services. Participate in work groups, project teams, networks and learning groups as needed.
  • Utilize existing, or design new, training assessment tools to monitor the outcomes and effectiveness of all training and learning events.
  • In partnership with the Learning and Evaluation Trainer, create, administer, analyze and report on participants’ progress; recommend and integrate training improvement strategies based on findings.

Support implementation of Signature Programming

  • Support all aspects of the Signature programming design process, including: defining, developing, implementing and evaluate the training materials.
  • Review and test new and revised Signature Program offerings from other team members, providing feedback and suggestions for improvement; contribute to new curriculum or program ideas.
  • As needed, provide and/or facilitate implementation assistance, including joint problem-solving with program staff and targeted resources, trainings and content as appropriate to the individual program site.
  • Facilitate peer learning activities in order to capture and share best practices that support the provision and expansion of high quality early education, youth, teen and family programming.

Perform other duties as necessary

  • Represent the Y at conferences and events, as requested/approved by supervisor.
  • Provide general support to the Learning and Evaluation team as necessary.


  • Masters degree in Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Instructional Design, Youth and Adolescent Development, Social Work, Human Services, or related field.
  • Significant knowledge and experience developing and implementing competency based training content utilizing adult learning, instructional design, technology-mediated learning and adult learning theory.
  • Ability to develop adult learning curricula and measureable learning objectives.
  • Experience working with e-learning, web based training and blended learning programs.
  • Experience working with adult learners from various backgrounds and levels of youth development expertise preferred.
  • Minimum of 5 years experience in management/leadership positions, involving supervision, staff development and training, program development administration.
  • Extensive knowledge of current trends and issues in youth and adolescent development and in parent and family support services.
  • Working knowledge of program development and design, consultation, training and adult learning methods.
  • Working knowledge of the use of research and evaluation in program development, ongoing program improvement, and planning for schools, children and families.
  • Proficiency with Internet usage and computer applications, including a thorough understanding of Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and Power Point), use of databases, and the ability to learn and master other computer technology /software programs as needed.
Chicago, Illinois
YMCA of Metro Chicago

801 North Dearborn, Chicago, IL, 60610, US