Healthy Community Initiative

Thriving Youth. Thriving Community.



Tackling Obstacles & Raising College Hopes (TORCH) Assistant Director

November 1, 2021

Full-time; if selected candidate desires less than full-time work, position description can potentially be adjusted to meet these wishes

Now in its 29th year, the Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) is a community-based organization whose mission is to foster collaborative communities in Rice County, Minnesota, that empower youth, strengthen families, and build community.

One of HCI’s flagship initiatives, Tackling Obstacles & Raising College Hopes (TORCH) works to increase the high school graduation and postsecondary attendance/completion rates of Northfield youth who are from low-income homes, students of color, and/or potential first-generation college attendees. Now in its 18th year, the program works with more than 400 youth in grades 6-12, plus 125+ alumni.

TORCH is seeking a full-time Assistant Director to: provide academic advising to students; coordinate the TORCH Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program; and support TORCH’s postsecondary pathways programs.


Academic Advising

  • Track student progress and conduct individual academic counseling sessions with each TORCH student in their cohort at least twice per month.
  • Work with each student to create an individual plan that identifies areas of need, interventions, goals, and college aspirations.
  • Communicate with parents to discuss future plans for postsecondary education. Ensure that parents are aware of academic progress.
  • Communicate with teachers, administrators, school counselors and social workers in those cases where additional or different levels of academic support and intervention are necessary.
  • Assist students and families with the completion of college applications, financial aid, and scholarship applications.

PSEO Program

  • Lead the TORCH PSEO program, supporting more than 40 high school students annually in taking online college classes through Riverland Community College.
  • Aid PSEO students in registration, including completion of the Accuplacer Test.
  • Connect PSEO students with tutoring and other academic support resources, as needed.
  • Serve as a liaison between the TORCH program and Riverland.

Postsecondary & Career Pathways

  • Support youth to identify ways to access a postsecondary or career pathway of their choosing, based on their interests, strengths/abilities, and opportunities currently available.
  • Screen TORCH students for eligibility for partnering programs, including Opportunity Reboot, that can provide additional community and financial resources.
  • Maintain necessary files (physical and online), track required program data, and complete assigned grant reporting.

Required qualifications:

  • 2-5 years of experience in youth development or related fields.
  • Postsecondary degree, ideally in the fields of counseling, social work, youth development, or a related area.
  • Ability to quickly build positive relationships with TORCH high school students and their families.
  • Passion for equity, social justice and working with diverse youth.
  • Ability to maintain focus on long-range goals while simultaneously carrying out the intermediate action steps.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with TORCH team members, school district staff and other groups and organizations.
  • Ability to plan, implement and evaluate academic support interventions.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Highly organized with superior attention to detail.
  • Familiarity with evaluation processes – data collection, analysis and continuous improvement.
  • Capable of completing work on time in a fast-paced environment while maintaining a positive attitude – excellent ability to manage simultaneous projects and troubleshoot issues in a calm manner.
  • Ability to work with minimal supervision and as a member of a team.
  • Ability to work select evening and weekend hours.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office (PowerPoint, Word, and Excel) and Google Suite.
  • Must possess and maintain a valid Minnesota driver’s license and auto insurance and be able to travel throughout the community.
  • Willingness to maintain the standards, carry out the purpose, and adhere to the policies of HCI.
  • Maintenance of a cell phone is an expectation of employment.

Preferred qualities:

  • Bilingual in English and Spanish or Somali.
  • Familiarity with Northfield and Rice County organizations and resources.
  • Familiarity with post-high school resources and opportunities.
  • Familiarity with career pathways.

To apply, please submit a cover letter, résumé, and the contact information for three professional references to: Tessa Kiesow, TORCH High School Director ( Application review will begin November 15 and will continue until the position has been filled.