Community Contracting Program Manager

Position Details

Full-time (40 hours per week)
$67,000 to 72,000 per year
Annual leave including 7 paid holidays, 2 paid personal days, and 3 days of sick leave annually (which can be used for medical appointments, illness, or the illness of a family member). Full-time employees accrue paid vacation at a rate of one day per month for a total of 12 days per year; vacation can be used after 3 months of employment. GWDC also offers a flexible schedule and opportunities to conduct some work from home.
The position requires travel within Lake County and possible travel within the State of Illinois or United States. Must possess a valid driver’s license.
May require some occasional work at night and on the weekend; however, most work for this position will be conducted during regular business hours.
This position supervises one staff member, a part-time Disadvantaged Business Coordinator. It also is the primary liaison to the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (a contractor on the project), as well as the primary liaison to a contractor (to be determined) that will provide technical assistance to anchor institutions during the first year of the project.


The Program Manager will launch a new GWDC program titled the “Greater Waukegan Community Contracting Project.” This project will ensure that more contracts from large local institutions in Greater Waukegan go to local small businesses—especially those owned by women, minorities, and people with disabilities.


It will do this by:

  • Supporting local disadvantaged businesses that need help in preparing to bid contracts at anchor institutions. This project features a pilot of the Illinois Hispanic chamber of Commerce’s new Procurement Technical Academy, a 6-week program that will work with small businesses in the early stages of growth to help ready them for public and corporate procurement.
  • Providing technical assistance to large public institutions and corporations in the Greater Waukegan region, to help them shift their procurement practices to make it easier for small, local, disadvantaged businesses to bid.
  • Provide matchmaking services to help large public institutions and corporations build relationships with local disadvantaged businesses.


Why this project?

  • The Greater Waukegan region lags the state on most economic indicators. For example, median household income in the city of Waukegan is currently $49,803, 24% less than the Illinois median income of $65,886. Median income in the city of Zion is $51,702, 22% less than Illinois median income. And median income in the city of North Chicago is $43,094, 35% less than Illinois median income.
  • Within the next few years, Greater Waukegan stands to see over $1 billion in public and private initiatives (including public infrastructure improvements, transportation projects and the construction of the luxury American Place casino). However, unless local small businesses receive contracts to participate in this development, these dollars could easily all flow out to large corporations from outside the community.
  • Opening up contracting process to ensure more contracts go to local, diverse businesses is a powerful strategy to:
  • ensure local governments and corporations spend wisely and deliver the best service possible,
  • spur economic development in underserved communities, and
  • address longstanding systemic inequities that have locked women, minorities, and those with disabilities out of opportunities.
  • The most recent Lake County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy lists 18 actions Lake County can take to further the local economy. Among them is: “Ensure underrepresented businesses have the resources to seek and apply for government contracts.”


Where: Focus areas for the project include Waukegan, Zion, North Chicago, and portions of the Village of Beach Park and Park City.




  • Oversee the program and provide strategic direction as well as day-to-day management (including managing the budget and supervising all program staff).
  • Liaison to anchor institutions
  • Liaison to contractor providing TA support to anchor institutions
  • Liaison to IHCC
  • Convene advisory board of representatives from local disadvantaged businesses and local anchor institutions—as well as other key “ecosystem” players (nonprofits, philanthropy, Chambers of Commerce) to review the data and brainstorm community-based solutions.




  • College degree
  • Commitment to racial equity
  • 5-7 years of work experience in either the nonprofit, government or business space
  • 3-5 years program management experience (including 3-5 years of experience managing staff and budgets)
  • Prefer 1-2 years of experience with procurement, either as a vendor or as a purchaser
  • Prefer 1-2 years of experience working to change systems either at institutions or in communities
  • Prefer candidate with experience in, understanding of, and professional relationships in the Waukegan community.
  • Bilingual in English and Spanish a plus
  • Experience developing and growing a new program a plus





GWDC provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.


This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.


TO APPLY:  Please email a resume and cover letter explaining why you want to work for GWDC and your interest in the Program Director position to Shaquita Blanks at



The position is accepting rolling applications and will remain open until filled; 



We are more than happy to answer any questions that will help applicants better understand our organization or the position. If you have questions that we can help answer, please reach out to Shaquita Blanks, Executive Administrative Assistant at