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Tennessee Higher Education Initiative

Transitional Programs Coordinator (West TN)

Tennessee Higher Education Initiative


Job Summary

Tennessee Higher Education Initiative (THEI) is a non-profit organization working to disrupt systems of harm and create opportunities for autonomy and success by providing college access to people inside Tennessee prisons, preparing students for skillful re-entry, and reducing barriers to continued education
and achievement. THEI is a grassroots, community organization committed to principles of harm reduction, healing, and centering the lived experiences of the people we serve. We engage in reimagining and building towards the world we want to see through systems work and direct service.

THEI seeks a full-time Transitional Programs Coordinator (West TN). The position is primarily remote with support from our Nashville Office. Under the direction of the Director of Transitional Programs (TP), the Transitional Programs Coordinator will work closely with the other members of the THEI Programs team, the administration and staff at our partner prisons, and points of contact for collaborating re-entry service providers to advocate for our students as they prepare to return to their home communities and, in some cases, to continue college post-release. The Transitional Programs Coordinator will serve prison facilities in West TN with monthly visits to their assigned students on their caseload and will also check in regularly with students who have returned home, providing referrals and support services. Must live in West Tennessee.

The ideal candidate can start in February 2024. Priority will be given to applicants who demonstrate a strong commitment to providing service to at-risk populations and understand the mission of THEI to be located within a larger social justice movement. Further, we seek applicants who have experience with case management, career counseling, navigating college admissions and financial aid, or other relevant one-on-one advising or success coaching experience; flexibility with work hours, including the ability to travel to prison sites within your region, and to work some nights and occasional weekends; excellent organizational and time management skills; and a strong commitment to breaking cycles of poverty and incarceration.

Familiarity with Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) practices and/or knowledge of both the Tennessee public higher education system and the landscape of re-entry services/service providers are a benefit. Finally, the ideal candidate must have a reliable car, and be comfortable working in a prison and collaborating with incarcerated individuals. We encourage people who have been impacted by the criminal justice system to consider applying.

The position is a full-time, exempt position. The salary range is $45,000-$50,000 per year, plus benefitsThe review of applications will begin the first week of January 2024.

Job Responsibilities

Stakeholder Group #1: Incarcerated Students 

  • Build relationships and rapport with THEI students 
  • Meet with students on the Transitional Programs caseload on a regular basis; advocate on behalf of students 
  • Maintain THEI Release Calendar with strong attention to detail and advanced planning
  • Provide well-researched re-entry advising and help students create strong, viable transition plans 
  • Provide parole preparation support to incarcerated students, as well as interviewing and self-advocacy skill building 
  • Maintain thorough checklists to ensure students have access to all materials necessary to succeed in their transitions 
  • Make warm handoffs to college partners and referral partners to ensure the seamless transition of support for students leaving prison

Stakeholder Group #2: Post-Release Alumni

  • Continue all case management responsibilities upon release of each student 
  • Connect alumni with organizations through warm handoffs as needed in order to facilitate solutions to re-entry needs 
  • Maintain connections with alumni post-release while providing opportunities for professional and personal enrichment, support services, and service referrals 
  • Promote THEI Alumni Network opportunities to alumni on your caseload

Stakeholder Group #3: Partners 

  • Build and maintain rapport with the prison administration and staff, particularly re-entry staff (including Re-Entry Counselors, IPOs, and re-entry Navigators) 
  • Serve as liaison between students and college partners in preparation for transition.
  • Maintain and build relationships with re-entry organizations across the state 
  • Build relationships with corporate partners to create a network of employment opportunities for THEI students returning to their communities 
  • Maintain updated contacts and resource lists for referrals and warm handoffs


Core Requirements

  • Associate or Bachelor’s degree with 1-3 years experience in case management, social work, public health, college counseling, or a related field
  • Demonstrated experience, whether professionally or in an informal capacity, with motivational interviewing, one-on-one success coaching, or action-planning and advising
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office and Google Drive 
  • The ability to collect, organize, and manage data 
  • Valid driver’s license and the ability to travel to and from prison on a regular basis, and to the Nashville THEI office approximately 6 times per year for team collaboration, as needed 
  • Flexible schedule, including the ability to work occasionally in the evenings and some Saturdays 
  • Ability to work remotely with consistent internet access, and willingness to utilize communication tools such as Zoom, Slack, and email to keep in constant touch with colleagues 
  • Must be eligible to be a badged TDOC contractor 
  • A proactive approach to outreach and correspondence, and timeliness with email
  • Investment in relationship-building and passion for creating partnerships 
  • Energy for creative problem-solving 
  • Commitment to self-care 

Social Justice Requirements 

  • A strong commitment to providing service to at-risk populations and understanding the mission of THEI to be located within a larger social-justice movement 
  • A strong commitment to breaking cycles of poverty and incarceration 
  • A commitment to use Person First language because there is evidence that language can shape perceptions about an incarcerated person’s capacity to change

Additional Information


Travel reimbursements, 3% IRA employer match, full employer-paid medical/dental insurance, a monthly wellness stipend, professional development allocation, and generous paid leave and holidays.

How to Apply

Email your resume and cover letter to work@thei.org with Transitional Programs Coordinator (West TN) as the subject.  


  • Date Posted: October 17, 2023
  • Type: Full-Time
  • Job Function: Other
  • Service Area: Social / Human Services
  • Start Date: 02/01/2024
  • Salary Range: $45,000-$50,000