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University of Minnesota
Extension Center for Youth Development
St. Paul
Posted: 10/8/2021
Senior Communications Specialist, Youth Development

Working Title: Senior Communications Specialist, Youth Development

Classification: Marketing & Communications Pro 3-Mktg & Comm Gen, 9703MG

Appointment: Full-time (1.0 FTE), P&A, FLSA Exempt (Not entitled to overtime pay)

Office Location: Extension Center for Youth Development, Coffey Hall, St. Paul Campus

Reports to: Jennifer A. Skuza, Ph.D., Associate Dean, Youth Development

Apply By: October 28, 2021, initial review deadline


The Communications Specialist is the lead for the Extension Center for Youth Development Communications and serves on the Center’s executive team. This position reports to the Associate Dean.

The University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development works in partnership with communities to build engaged young people who are ready to learn and lead in a global society. Our audiences include: youth grades K-13 living in urban, suburban, rural, tribal, and online communities; volunteers, youth workers, and partners who deliver positive youth development programming; and, agencies, organizations, and groups that affect the lives of youth. To learn more about our programs, please visit

The Youth Development Communications Specialist is responsible for managing, implementing and evaluating communications efforts and ensuring they align with and advance the strategic direction of the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development (hereafter referred to as the Center). This position works collaboratively with the Extension Communications Director and the Extension Communications team.

Communication has five main components: strategic communication, marketing, communication management, public relations, and supervision. Key responsibilities include writing and editing of content, communication planning and crisis management, project management, repurposing and distributing information, and staff training and toolkit development and coaching. All Center personnel share responsibility for fostering and contributing to an environment of collaboration and synergy within the communications and technology work teams.

This position is responsible for strategic communications, planning, and execution for external and internal audiences for the Center. This position coordinates the activities of diverse communications functions, which includes planning, coordinating and evaluating programs, projects, systems and standards for communicating across the Center’s 170+ staff, 66,000 youth and families, and 11,000 volunteers. Occasional travel throughout the state may be required.

This role will serve as a member of the Center’s leadership team and executive team providing assessment, advice, and perspective on communications related to Center programs, operations, and culture both broadly and specifically, as needed and appropriate to the leadership team and/or associate dean.

Essential Functions

Strategic communications in the Center for Youth Development 30%

● Provides strategic direction to center staff on communication initiatives, strategies and issue resolution.

● Develops Center communication strategies and plans congruent with University standards, Extension guidelines and industry trends and in coordination with the Extension Communications Director and the Extension Communications and Public Relations team.

● Evaluates emerging opportunities for communicating Center activities and achievements.

● Conceives, composes, coordinates, produces and monitors publications and website materials as needed with program staff, and manages related staff work to performance standards in the Center.

● Serves as liaison from the Center to UMN Extension central communications and National 4-H Council.

Center Communications coordination 25%

● Provides direction, content and evaluation for 4-H and Center social media channels and newsletters.

● Sources, creates, and writes regular news updates and impact stories for Extension website and development team purposes.

● Creates and delivers communications training to Center educators at the state, regional and local levels for the Center.

● Oversees and prioritizes web content for the Center; collects content on news features, stories and information from Extension educators and writes, edit, prioritize and organize it with the web team.

Center Marketing 20%

● Provides leadership direction, visioning, strategic alignment and resource allocation for marketing, branding and advertising activities in the Center.

● Advises a broad range of staff, including administration, program directors and educators, on the most effective and efficient methods of achieving their marketing goals.

● Envisions and creates a cohesive marketing approach across multiple publications, including print, web and social media, speeches and presentations.

● Plans, directs, executes and evaluates the Center’s marketing program including key messages, graphics and video products. Directs production and vendor activities.

Public relations 15%

● Engages with Center, Extension and University colleagues, as well as the media and program participants on sensitive, controversial and high-impact topics in consultation with the Extension Communications Director.

● Manages media relations onsite during the Minnesota State Fair.

● Initiates and develops news coverage efforts to provide information to the public, educators and staff concerning Center programs and activities.

● Determines criteria for and directs type of response to news publications with information related to and concerning the Center.

Supervision 10%

● Initiate, recruit, hire and onboard communications interns for the state fair and other Center initiatives and responsibilities throughout the year.

● Supervise, train and provide work direction for Center Interns and communications students.

● This position collaborates with, and may provide work direction to Center employees who have duties and responsibilities in Center Communications. This position has authority to direct the work of the Center’s communications team, including hiring, transferring, suspension, promotion and discharge.


Required qualifications

● Bachelor's degree in Communications, Marketing, Public Relations or related field, plus a minimum of 4 years of professional communications experience to include:

○ Writing and editing publications and website materials

○ Understanding and communicating effective and efficient methods of achieving marketing goals for a company, organization, business or related

○ Developing communication strategies.

○ Developing and using social media and websites as a channel for communication and marketing

● Experience leading communication efforts for an organization, business or company.

● Project management experience, including proven ability to prioritize and handle multiple projects under tight deadlines.

● Excellent written and verbal communication and presentation skills with people from a variety of communities, using effective methods to communicate with culturally and linguistically diverse audiences.

● Experience in establishing and maintaining cooperative working relationships with co-workers, community groups, outside agencies, media representatives, and the general public.

● Experience/understanding of brand management in a complex organization.

Additional Requirements:

● Personal cell phone that can be used, as needed, for work purposes and published in the Extension public staff directory.

● Must have reliable internet if/when working outside of assigned office location.

● Must be able to work regularly at a dedicated/assigned Extension office.

Preferred qualifications:

● Master’s degree in Communications, Marketing, Public Relations, or related field

● Leadership experience effectively managing people and teams

● Experience in preparing a marketing budget

● Experience in youth development organization


University of Minnesota Extension discovers science-based solutions, delivers practical education, and engages Minnesotans to build a better future. Find further information at


Please apply at: Job Opening ID: 343961

Applications must be submitted online. To be considered for this position, please click on the Apply button and follow the instructions. You will be given the opportunity to complete an online application for the position.

Please attach the following required application materials:

  1. Cover letter
  2. Resume

Three professional references and college transcripts will be required if invited to interview.

Additional documents may be attached after the application by accessing your “My Job Applications” page and uploading documents in the “My Cover Letters and Attachments” section. See full instructions,

To request an accommodation during the application process, please email or call 612-624-UOHR (8647).

For questions about the position, contact:

Becky Harrington, Director of Operations and Systems,

For questions about the online application, contact:

Tiffany McMillan, Extension Human Resources,

Any offer of employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. Our presumption is that prospective employees are eligible to work here. Criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify finalists from employment.

University of Minnesota Extension shall provide equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.