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Program Specialist

Optica is looking for a Program Specialist.

The Program Specialist will primarily support the Optica Membership division with cutting-edge technical webinars, workshops, and career summits to a global membership.  They will define, develop, and implement strategic initiatives across the global membership portfolio. This position portfolio has four program areas to focus on: Engineering Programs, Emerging Optics & Photonics Technology Programs to support employers and individuals with staff training, professional development, technical programming, and networking. Lastly, create a niche Optics and Photonics job board by partnering with companies across the globe to build a robust state-of-the-art Optica Career Center.   


Primary Responsibilities

Technical Program Management: 

  1. Develop, create, and implement engineering programs that support companies, their staff, and individual members with career and professional development.
  2. Develop webinars and workshops on emerging optics and photonics technologies.
  3. The Program Specialist represents Optica in the scientific community with professionalism and a deep understanding of the field and its challenges and is expected to actively engage with relevant communities to develop relationships and opportunities for collaboration and build programs and services for the community.
  4. Identifies industry trends and needs for products, services, and benefits to offer Optica members.
  5. Seeks opportunities for partnerships with like-minded organizations; negotiates agreements and manages the fulfillment of terms.
  6. Partner with Foundations, Federal Agencies, and private companies for sponsorships and grants for STEM programs.

Career Program Management:

  1. Under the guidance of the Director of Membership Engagement, oversee the Optica-wide Career Center for the Optics and Photonics community.  
  2. Provides day-to-day oversight of the job board, seeking both quality and quantity of job postings to ensure that the board reflects the depth and breadth of opportunities available to members and customers.  With guidance from leadership, build upon the current strategic plan to achieve metrics for job postings and usage.
  3. Partner with the Membership program team to generate revenue for Optica via paid job postings, employer advertisements, and program sponsorships.
  4. Partner with the Membership program team in selling 4 to 5 career fairs annually and exhibits at two 2 in-person career fairs.
  5. Develop new contacts with external organizations to expand industry group program opportunities for members from students to emeritus and expand programming to customers. 
  6. Enhance the current Work In Optics Newsletter as a tool to engage companies.
  7. Evaluate career services activities for impact, reach, scalability, and outcomes and recommend strategic direction to leadership.
  8. Develop new contacts with external organizations to expand employment opportunities for members from students to emeritus and expand programming to customers.  
  9. Develop and implement career development programs, monitor, analyze, and evaluate the current scope of services offered through career services and plans, and implement and direct new career programs in partnership with the department Senior Manager of Membership and internal stakeholders.  
  10. In coordination with Optica departments, collects, cultivates, and curates internal and external career and professional development resources for members and prospective members to ensure comprehensive career support for the optics and photonics community.
  11. Researches emerging trends in careers and employment in STEM fields and proactively proposes new programs and resources to transition Optica’s career services
  12. Supports logistics and programmatic development of career-related content at Optica’s two signature conferences and other events and meetings as required.

Education and Experience

  • Four-year college degree required
  • 5 years relevant service in a higher education career center or membership or scientific society —must have experience in program development, marketing, membership, or career development

Skills and Abilities

  • Excellent written and verbal communication and proofreading skills
  • Strong project management and problem-solving skills
  • Strong organizational skills with keen attention to detail; ability to work independently and multi-task to meet multiple deadlines
  • Skill in building and establishing relationships with internal stakeholders, member volunteers, partner societies, and external organizations, and ability to connect and close on opportunities with each audience
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications—with minimum intermediate capabilities in Excel, and database applications
  • Experience with an online career services module (CSM), such as Boxwood or Careers preferred
  • Ability to travel approximately 10 percent annually—domestic and international


About Optica

Located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC, Optica offers a competitive salary and benefits. Please send your resume and cover letter with salary requirements to

Optica is an equal employment opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, age, sex, national origin, disability, religion, maritial status, veteran's status, personal appearance, political affiliation, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, matriculation, or any other basis prohibited by law.

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