Seeking Director of Workforce Initiatives – Rhode Island Food Policy Council
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31 October 2019

The Rhode Island Food Policy Council (RIFPC) is a network organization, established in 2011 with a mission to promote a more accessible, equitable, and sustainable food system in Rhode Island. We work to coordinate a statewide collaboration of diverse and committed stakeholders from all sectors of the food system. With a full-time Network Director and twenty-five engaged council members representing all food system sectors, we create partnerships, develop policies, and advocate for improvements to the local food system to increase and expand its capacity, viability, and sustainability. The organization’s goals are aligned with the state of RI’s food strategy: increased production of and demand for local food; thriving and just food economy; consumer access to healthy food; community health; and a sustainable food environment. More information about the RIFPC can be found here: 

With funding from the state Department of Labor and Training’s Real Jobs RI program and in collaboration with a diverse set of industry, education, and community-based partners, over the next five years, the RIFPC will coordinate an employer-driven strategy to address human capital issues across food industry businesses, including production, distribution, manufacturing, food service, and retail. 

The RI Food Policy Council seeks a collaborative, inventive, and entrepreneurial Director of Workforce Initiatives to implement the organization’s emergent, ambitious food system workforce programming. Year 1 of this initiative will be a laboratory year in which a number of approaches and activities are tested. The Director of Workforce Initiatives will build strong partnerships with business leaders across the food system, beginning with our current partners: a dairy farm and processor, a food service management company, a restaurant group, and start-up food manufacturer. These partnerships form the foundation of a broad set of year 1 activities that the Director will coordinate, including a range of trainings for incumbent workers, support for strong organizational culture development, strengthening workforce pipelines into food industries, and articulation of career pathways in the state’s food industries. The Director of Workforce Initiatives is responsible for the successful execution of these activities, evaluating their efficacy, and using learnings to co-design and lead the successful implementation of workforce initiatives in subsequent years. 

Leading candidates for this position will be self-motivated builders who thrive in a “startup” environment, nimble problem-solvers who are skilled at developing strategy and thrive on the day-to-day nitty-gritty work of operationalizing that strategy. The person in this role must be an excellent communicator and convener with a deep understanding of the food industry, workforce and human capital issues with the industry, and a passion for building equitable, sustainable food systems. The successful candidate is a connector who seeks information, actively listens to businesses’ needs, creatively matches needs with existing assets, and develops and implements approaches to fill gaps. 

This position is based in Rhode Island, and work will be executed across the state. Office location is negotiable. The Director of Workforce Initiatives reports to the RIFPC Network Director, with regular input from the RIFPC’s Real Food Jobs RI Project Advisory Committee. 


  • Build relationships food business partners through frequent and effective communication
  • Leverage these relationships to ensure that workforce trainings and pipeline development activities are successful and precisely aligned with employers’ needs
  • With the Network Director and Advisory Committee, define and implement a process for evaluating program success 
  • Analyze year 1 experiences and evaluations and, with the Network Director and Advisory Committee, adapt and implement program activities in the following years
  • Cultivate relationships with community organizations, educational institutions, training providers, and others to create a strong and responsive ecosystem of support services for food businesses 
  • Work alongside the RIFPC Network Director to leverage the knowledge and networks of Food Policy Council members to achieve workforce initiative goals


  • Bachelors’ Degree
  • 5-8 years of food sector workforce initiative leadership, aligned with the position described above
  • Food sector knowledge and experience, and strong business acumen
  • Outstanding project management, follow-through, and analytical skills
  • Excellent interpersonal communication and influencing skills
  • Experience convening and communicating with diverse stakeholders, with clear outcomes
  • Nimbleness and entrepreneurial spirit, while maintaining a clear long-term vision
  • Highly motivated self-starter
  • Creative and strategic thinker, with ability to translate that thinking into action
  • Ability to move with ease between high-level planning and nitty-gritty problem-solving
  • Proven ability to overcome obstacles in a collaborative manner
  • Strong ability to ask excellent questions and actively listen to the answers
  • Experience managing staff and/or contractors successfully
  • Ability to absorb new information quickly and translate key points into results
  • Alignment with RIFPC’s food system mission and values, including demonstrable experience using a lens of justice, equity, and inclusion in past work
  • Excellent computer literacy (full Office suite, Google Drive, Basecamp) and a deft hand with social media

The RI Food Policy Council offers a competitive annual salary with excellent benefits. If you want to play a key role in developing work opportunities and career pathways with the state’s food industry cluster, have the experience and qualifications for this position, and want to join an ambitious and action-oriented organization, please send a cover letter and resume to Please include Director of Workforce Initiatives in the subject line. 

Qualified candidates will be contacted by phone and email. Background checks are required of final candidates. The RI Food Policy Council is an Equal Opportunity Employer and values the benefits of a diverse organization.