Assistant Commissioner of Workforce & Executive Director of the Rhode Island Higher Education & Industry Centers

Job description

The Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner seeks to hire an Assistant Commissioner of Workforce & Executive Director of the Rhode Island Higher Education & Industry Centers. The assistant commissioner is responsible for developing and overseeing Rhode Island’s system-wide postsecondary workforce strategy and policies. The assistant commissioner will also monitor campus-level progress on key state workforce goals and advance state-level work on aligning Rhode Island’s higher education system with the current and future workforce needs of the state and its citizens.

A key aspect of this role is the ability to work collaboratively with the academic and institutional leaders at Rhode Island’s public and private/independent institutions, and RI Department of Labor & Training, and RI Department of Commerce.

The assistant commissioner participates in meetings of the department’s senior staff and serves as staff to the Council on Postsecondary Education’s workforce committee. This position is also the primary point of contact on all workforce issues with the Governor’s Office, the legislature, and a key contact for OPC’s partners in other states and at local and national foundations, and as the liaison to chief workforce officers at the state’s institutions of higher education.

Specific duties

Develop and execute OPC’s workforce development strategy for higher education that coordinates short- and long-term plans for aligning higher education to the workforce needs of the state/region. This includes:

  • Serving as the workforce policy lead for OPC to advise the council, commissioner, staff and OPC stakeholders to advance workforce alignment across the state’s postsecondary system
  • Creating partnerships across business, education, government, and philanthropy to stimulate the development of innovative programs and delivery systems that close RI workforce gaps and increase attainment of postsecondary credentials of value
  • Assessing and communicating the workforce education needs of the state and region to Rhode Island institutions of higher education
  • Coordinating with institutions and education providers to align RI institutions of higher education degrees and credentials with the current and projected needs of the labor market

Provide leadership for the administrative and planning functions of the current OPC education centers in Providence, Westerly, and Woonsocket, and any future centers in the system to include:

  • Oversee a team that manages the day-to-day programs and services offered at each of the centers including but not limited to scheduling, finances, programs, services, and facilities and equipment
  • Establish and oversee the execution of policies and guidelines for efficient and sound management of the centers and their finances
  • Prepare and implement budget for the centers to ensure financial stability and growth as well as leveraging other funding sources where applicable
  • Oversee marketing, public relations and public information programs
  • Assist the commissioner to employ, evaluate and/or terminate center staff in accordance with state law and CPE policy
  • Develop and maintain a list of approved vendors for the centers

Seek grant and foundation funding to further postsecondary and employer-driven training programs that align postsecondary credentials to the region’s workforce. This includes developing funding proposals and determine the growth of the RI Higher Education and Industry Center, where the strategic growth should be within the state, and strategies to implement the plan.

Build and expand industry partnerships with OPC, its education centers, and IHEs to determine needs and link industry with postsecondary institutions to provide employer-driven training.
Represent OPC on boards and commissions related to workforce development.

Perform other duties and responsibilities as assigned by the commissioner.


Master’s degree, doctorate preferred


  • At least 5-10 years of substantial professional engagement in higher education, workforce, at the college, university, or system level, business, and government
  • Proven accomplishment in on-campus, government, or business leadership roles
  • Previous successful experience in the areas of workforce and economic development, project management, and fundraising
  • Demonstrated expertise in program and policy development and implementation
  • Successful pursuit of extra-mural, programmatic funding
  • Knowledge of current trends and issues in the global higher education community
  • System work in workforce development (strongly preferred)


  • Demonstrated ability to lead independently, meet deadlines and maintain high expectations
  • Excellent verbal, written, and quantitative communicator
  • Demonstrated familiarity with local business industries and job markets
  • Demonstrated familiarity with IHE academic and industry training offerings of both the state’s public colleges and universities, and the Department of Labor and Training
  • Effective people management abilities
  • Demonstrated experience with planning and budgeting of a complex organization
  • Demonstrated strong organizational skills
  • Strong social networker, with demonstrated success in inter-agency collaboration

This is a full-time, non-classified, non-union position offering competitive benefits. The assistant commissioner reports to the commissioner of postsecondary education, and the pay grade is 16. Submit a cover letter and resume by July 5, 2024 for consideration.


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All requirements are subject to possible modification to reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities. 

It is the belief and the policy of the State of Rhode Island that the race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, handicap/disability, age (subject to certain limitations established by law) or veteran status of an individual should neither serve as a barrier to his or her equal opportunity for employment nor be the basis of harassment in the workplace. The Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education fully endorses this basic policy of nondiscrimination.