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Work at Powderhouse

There are four of us right now. We're looking to build a founding team. We're going to spend the next year training and working together as part of an intensive on-boarding process. But there are a few things we can't develop in you, a few things we have to hire for:

  • You actually like spending time with adolescents.
  • You can do something they might be interested in. That could be a craft or practice—like sculpting or computer programming—or something else entirely.
  • You are pumped about the chance to learn and deeply explore new ideas (not just within your background) all the time. (This is another way of saying you should be comfortable not knowing things.)
  • You bring joy and playfulness to your work.
  • You take pride in your ability to work and play well on a team.
  • You are excited about developing and pursuing your own projects and investigations alongside youth.

These are important to us because we're building a creative community. And that means you need to create, with and alongside youth.

🛠 The Work

Powderhouse Studios is organized into small cohorts of 30–40 people. Those 30–40 youth are managed by a team of five, what we call a Core Team. We're looking to hire that first team. You'll work with four other people in a tightly integrated, cross-functional team.

On this team, your work is fourfold:

  1. Do great projects. That could involve anything from recording an album to making an app.
  2. Help youth join you in great projects (and develop their own).
  3. Document and tell the stories of these projects (and the growth that happens through them).
  4. And mentor youth through their adolescence, into whatever the next chapter holds for them.

Each Core Team works together to make this happen. Every staff member in that team is expected to develop what we're calling their program of study.

A program of study is nothing more than a line of inquiry— a perspective or problem or question which will generate the projects and programs to which you'll invite your colleagues and cohort.

But a group of people doing great projects isn't quite enough. Working with youth brings other responsibilities to the table. Right now, we're thinking that it makes sense to structure these responsibilites on a team into three areas: program design, project management, and cohort counseling, supported by two domain specialists focused on computation and storytelling.

🖌 Program designer

Your job is to (1) make sure that programs run smoothly and (2) make sure people's projects are deep.

Designing great programs and projects is hard. As a program designer, it's your responsibility to make sure that the seminars and programs staff and youth undertake are well-designed. That means they're coherent, they work smoothly, they really engage deep ideas, and they support divergent, individualized work.

This doesn't mean you design everyone's programs or projects though. It means you're responsible for making sure programs and projects are well-designed.

You'll be:

  • …developing your team's and cohort's capacity to design by finding and developing great resources and mentoring teammates.
  • …curating textbooks, topics, and inspirations for programs and individuals’ projects
  • …working with staff to deepen and enrich their own intellectual interests and background.
  • …and of course, developing your program of study.

This probably means you:

  • …are pretty voracious, easily interested in everything and happy to dive into something you don't know much about.
  • …know how to think through an audience's experience— maybe you've taught before, or planned events, or designed a product.
  • …really like and have taste in big ideas; there are some you think are powerful and others you think are useless and others you think are beautiful.

🎈 Apply now.

📋 Project manager

Your job is to make sure people's projects happen.

Managing projects (much less yourself, your time, and the money and other resources that go into a project) is hard.

As project manager, it's your responsibility to make sure projects are designed, scoped, executed, and documented well. That means putting in place systems to help people scope and budget them, and developing your team and cohort's capacity to do so.

You'll be:

  • …designing project management systems and workflows to help youth articulate, specify, scope, and manage projects
  • …growing the capacity of youth to manage projects from one­ and two ­day projects up to 1,000­-hour, year-long projects
  • …managing the documentation of your colleagues' and cohort's work
  • …developing the resources and experiences your team and cohort need to become good project managers
  • …and of course, developing your program of study.

This probably means you:

  • …get a kick out of getting things done; you really appreciate what it means to finish something
  • …have experience—or a talent for—managing people under open­-ended, ambiguous, and uncertain conditions
  • …know how to reduce scope to hit a deadline or budget
  • …have experience with the design process—surfacing requirements, articulating dimensions of performance, defining and measuring (both qualitative and quantitative) results, etc.

🎈 Apply now.

🙌 Youth advocate

Your job is to make sure people are safe, supported, and connected.

People are complex. Whether it's food insecurity at home, a beef with their girlfriend, social cliques, or tension with their team, we believe people need to feel safe, supported, and connected to undertake hard intellectual journeys.

As a cohort counselor, it's your responsibility to bring all of the non-academic, non-project facets of someone's life into the awareness and management of your team.

You'll be:

  • …designing norms and restorative justice approaches for your cohort
  • …developing your team and cohort's connection to and awareness of one another through shared rituals, experiences, and workshops
  • …supporting your team and cohort in getting to know and express themselves through their projects
  • …designing systems and workflows to implement wraparound support services for families
  • …pre­empting and intervening in crisis situations
  • …and of course, developing your program of study.

This probably means you:

  • …are keen to understand and connect across race, class, and culture.
  • …like people and are good at empathizing with them.
  • …are good at hearing what people mean, not just what they say.
  • …have a lot of experience (formal or informal) connecting people, resolving conflict.
  • …are excited about getting people the support they need, and advocating for them 'til they have it.

🎈 Apply now.

💻 Domain specialist

As a domain specialist, you'll focus either on computation (building things with computers) or stortyelling. Every two cohorts of 30–40 people will have two domain specialists, one focused on computation, the other storytelling. Unlike the other members of Core Teams, you won't generally be designing full cohort programs.

Your job is to design tools, materials, and experiences which make sure (1) everyone is fluent in your domain, and (2) the programs and projects people undertake are consistently grounded in the powerful ideas of that domain.

You'll be:

  • …developing the depth of your colleagues’ and students’ capacities in your domain and creating materials and workflows which do the same.
  • …working in small groups, providing one-on-one and one-on-few support as people work on their projects.
  • …critiquing and refining program design to ensure domain depth and pedagogical quality to our interdisciplinary offerings.
  • …constantly developing and finding new uses for your domain across others' projects and areas of interest.
  • …and of course, developing your program of study (which should be tied to your domain in some way).

This probably means you:

  • …have a background in building things with computers or telling stories (or a related discipline, e.g. mathematics or videography, respectively)
  • …enjoy revisiting your domain to understand it more deeply and clearly
  • …are excited about sharing your domain with others

🎈 Apply now.

⚡ Special education

We're looking for someone with a background in special education to help us redesign the special education experience for families and professional development offerings for staff from the ground up.

We expect about a quarter of our youth to have an IEP or 504 of some sort when they enroll. We know the flexibility of our design's staffing and schedule and our access to the full offerings of district support offer a unique opportunity to redesign what's often a painful and alienating experience for families.

We believe there's a beautiful kernel to special education: the idea of totally individualized support. And we're looking for someone to help us think that through from the ground up, much as we've tackled the rest of Powderhouse Studios' design.

🎈 Apply now.

🇧🇷 English as a second language

We're looking for someone with a background in working with English language learners (ELLs) to help us redesign the ELL experience for families and professional development offerings for staff from the ground up.

We expect a bit over half of our youth to speak a language other than English. We know the flexibility of our design's staffing and schedule and our access to the full offerings of district support offer a unique opportunity to redesign what's often a painful and alienating experience for families.

But taking advantage of this flexibility (much less helping us to deeply incorporate ELL considerations into a project-based environment like ours) means we're looking for someone to help us think that through from the ground up, much as we've tackled the rest of Powderhouse Studios' design.

🎈 Apply now.

👻 Other?

Not sure where you fit, but think you have something to offer our work? We hire great people, not positions. Get in touch, or maybe just 🎈 apply now!

📬 Refer someone

We are always hiring. Finding great people is far and away the most important thing we can do. If you know someone you think might be a good fit, please refer them. If we hire them, we'll pay you $15,000 (or donate that to the charity of your choice).

If you think you might know someone but aren't sure whether they'd be a good fit, please get in touch.