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Tennessee Higher Education Initiative

Transitions Coordinator

Tennessee Higher Education Initiative


Job Summary

The 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-based 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 Transitions Coordinator. The position is primarily remote, supported by our Nashville Office. Under the direction of the Transitions Manager, the Transitions 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 at 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 Transitions Coordinator will provide high-quality reentry advising and planning support to a caseload of incarcerated students through monthly meetings at the prison facilities across Tennessee in which THEI operates. They will establish warm handoffs to members of the THEI Alumni Team when each student is released.

The ideal candidate can start in March 2024, but candidates will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. 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. Candidates must have a reliable car, be willing to travel across Tennessee, be comfortable working in a prison and collaborating with incarcerated individuals, and must be eligible to be badged by TDOC. We encourage people who have been impacted by the criminal justice system to consider applying.

THEI is seeking applicants who have transferable experience with case management, career counseling, college access and success, or other relevant one-on-one advising or coaching.

Experience working with non-traditional students or disenfranchised or marginalized
population is a benefit.

THEI is an equal-opportunity employer; all applicants will be considered for employment
without attention to race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran or disability status.

Job Responsibilities

Stakeholder Group #1: Incarcerated Students

  • Build relationships and rapport with THEI students, graduates, and alumni
  • Travel to prison facilities on a regular basis to provide high-quality reentry advising
    and comprehensive reentry planning support to incarcerated THEI students and
  • Advocate on behalf of students using strategic discernment, and elevate facility-level
    concerns to appropriate THEI teammates.
  • Maintain THEI Release Calendar with strong attention to detail and advanced
  • Provide well-researched re-entry advising and help students create strong, viable
    transition plans
  • Provide parole preparation support to incarcerated students, including motivational
    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 seamless
    transition of support for students leaving prison

Stakeholder Group #2: Partners

  • Build and maintain rapport with prison administration and staff, particularly re-entry
    staff (including Re-Entry Counselors, IPOs, and re-entry Navigators)
  • Facilitate effective communication between incarcerated students and college
    partners in preparation for transition
  • Explore and build relationships with transitional housing providers and other reentry
    resource providers to contribute to the shared constellation of support services that
    THEI can offer
  • Participate in collectives and coalitions to share, advocate for, and evolve the best
    practices for re-entry services in higher education in prisons across the state and
    region, and to identify opportunities for incarcerated students


Core Requirements

  • Must be eligible to be a badged TDOC contractor
  • 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 THEI’s Nashville offices monthly for team collaboration
  • Flexible schedule, including the ability to work some evenings (with advanced notice)
  • 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

Relational Requirements

  • A collaborative and communicative approach to working across teams, and a proactive approach to outreach and correspondence with students and partners
  • Ability to navigate challenging professional partnership relationships with respect and resourcefulness
  • Openness to creative problem-solving
  • Commitment to utilize communication tools such as Zoom, Slack, and email to keep in constant touch with colleagues who may be working remotely
  • Commitment to self-care and healthy boundary setting
  • Willingness to co-create an “uncommon work culture” through a shared commitment to uphold community agreements

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 and humanizing language 

Additional Information

How to Apply

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume to work@thei.org with the subject line “Transitions Coordinator”.


  • Date Posted: March 5, 2024
  • Type: Full-Time
  • Job Function: Other
  • Service Area: Community Development
  • Start Date: 03/04/2024
  • Salary Range: $50,000
  • Working Hours: 40hrs/week