Competitive Innovations is seeking a Program Specialist to support the State Department's Office of International Religious Freedom (J/IRF and The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), Office of Global Programs. The Office of International Religious Freedom (J/IRF) has the mission of promoting religious freedom as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy. J/IRF monitors religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, recommends and implements policies in respective regions or countries, and develops programs to promote religious freedom. The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), Office of Global Programs (DRL/GP) provides professional oversight on grants that are awarded to non-profit organizations and other agencies that help secure the peace, deter aggression, promote the rule of law, combat crime and corruption, strengthen democracies, and promote human rights globally. Both offices collaborate on a regular basis to improve programing through program administration and grantee communication.
The Program Specialist III will be responsible for assisting the program analysts and the grants officers in ensuring effective execution of program requirements: establishing systematic methods of program execution, evaluation, and/or advocacy; assessing activities to determine funding requirements and to determine whether funding is warranted and available; analyzing program and budget proposals and assisting in presenting them to the State Department panels; preparing justification or recommendation memoranda for review and approval by appropriate officials; and providing follow-up problem-solving assistance, guideline interpretations, and technical consultations as required to applicants. They may assist with Departmental briefings to congressional staffers on these programs.
The Program Specialist III will assists and communicates program objectives and policies to other State Department and U.S government offices involved in programming Democracy Fund and Human Rights and Democracy Funds (HRDF) and other transfer funding to include but not limited to regional bureaus, policy offices, Office of Acquisitions Management, office of the legal advisor, congressional liaison office, office of management and budget, and USAID offices. They liaise and assist with program administration, financial planning and acquisition of programming funds. They will assist with Congressional requests for information regarding programs and program objectives, and also provide information to the NGO community and other implementing organizations regarding the USG and DRL grants processes.
The Program Specialist III maintains, updates, and develops as necessary systems for the efficient and accessible retrieval of documents regarding the allocation, notification, transfer and implementation of HRDF, transfer funding, and special Congressionally mandated funds. They will track the award of grants, maintain lists of current grants and GORs, and collect and records narrative and financial reports. They will be responsible for maintaining the DRL program and organizational files.
The Program Specialist III applies internal control measures to protect organizational integrity and prevent unauthorized use or misappropriation of sensitive and classified material; reports instances of security violations/problems to the appropriate supervisory/management official; assumes full responsibility for safeguarding all classified and sensitive (but unclassified) material and equipment in assignment areas.
- Coordinate and assist the Program Analysts in the administration and coordination of international human rights and democracy foreign assistance programs.
- Assist in the coordination of foreign assistance funding.
- Assist the grants officer representative staff and grants officers to monitor grant budget execution to ensure program objectives are met
- Collect grant documentation for review by the Grants Officer, the Front Office and decision-making committees who will select grant recipients within available funding levels
- Liaise with offices involved in policy offices, administration, financial planning and acquisition of program funding
- Skillfully communicate verbally and in writing to provide briefings, status reviews, and recommendations upon request to the other staff and bureau personnel on grant management issues
- Maintain and update federal assistance award information in DRL/GP data bases.
- Track the foreign assistance lifecycle progress throughout the fiscal year
- Liaise with grantees on administrative issues as directed by the Program Analyst
- Maintain team calendar and ensure that team meeting occur with supervisors
- Coordinate with the Program Analyst to ensure grant program reviews and program narratives are up to date in the database. Organize and maintain federal assistance award files in corresponding team shared drive
- Under the direct supervision of the team lead or program analyst, assist the GOR on an award to ensure the organization is compliant with federal regulations. Provide quarterly updates, coordinate and conduct check- in meetings with grantee and draft project updates for the GOR to review
- Present at stakeholder workshops and conferences on various topics not limited to SAMS Domestic, USG and DRL reporting requirements, and information of various registrations required to receive funding
- Coordinate with the program team to create and track a yearly spend plan, as needed.
- Liaise with implementer to coordinate stakeholder workshops and prepare documents for event as needed
Additional duties may include:
- Drafts Questions For the Record (QFR) or other congressional reports, conducts the clearance process, and provides finalized report to corresponding bureau
- With minimal supervision, review budget realignments and work with the grantee to finalize requested federal assistance award modifications before being submitted to the GOR and Grants Officer
- Maintain working knowledge of Federal regulations and Department of State policy and procedures and work with the Grants Officer Representative and Grants Officer to determine if a project proposed activity is allowed and/or will benefit the program
- Assist in preparing the necessary documents for Congress, the DRL Front Office, and interagency briefings
- Professionally represent DRL/GP respective team’s goals and objectives in meetings, as needed
- Must be eligible to obtain Secret level security clearance
- Bachelors’ degree with 3-5 years of experience or a Master’s degree with 1-3 years of experience
- Knowledge of human rights and religious freedom specifically and/or experience with programs that address human rights of religious and ethnic minorities is a plus
- Experience in working in closed and sensitive environments
- Must have experience with foreign assistance and international programming
- Working knowledge of Federal regulations governing foreign assistance
- Must be able to travel globally to highly sensitive areas as needed
- Strong technical writing skills and ability to edit documents
- Juggle priority taskers under short deadline with minimal supervision