Senior Education Finance Specialist, CATALYZE

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Last update: Jun 24, 2022 Last update: Jun 24, 2022


Deadline: Sep 1, 2022 Deadline for applications has passed
Location: USA USA
Sectors: Education, Programme & Resource Management Education, Programme & Resource Management
Job type: Contract, 12 months +
English English
Work experience: From 10 years
Date posted: Jun 23, 2022
Expected starting date: Sep 16, 2022


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This Opportunity:

The Senior Education Finance Specialist (SEFS) will be a core member of the CATALYZE EduFinance technical team responsible for unlocking commercial capital for investments in education in developing countries served by USAID. The SEFS will work closely across the CATALYZE EduFinance Team to design and oversee interventions (including co-investment, research, and technical assistance) that improve the risk-return profile of education businesses to develop and execute a pipeline of investor-grade deals in education. The SEFS will also serve as a technical backstop to the Deputy Education Finance Specialist and the EduFinance Activity Lead wherever needed. Target CATALYZE EduFinance investments must achieve measurable improvements for students from low- and low-middle-income households. CATALYZE EduFinance is an important part of the USAID-funded $250 Million CATALYZE project, which will mobilize $2 Billion in blended finance to target sectors and countries over an eight-year period.


  • This position can be based in Washington DC / New York, NY / Chapel Hill, NC.   
  • Remote work may be considered if not located near our DC, NY or NC offices. 

You and Your Career:

If you are a problem-solver, collaborator, and doer, and you have expertise in international education, impact investing, or private sector-led development we are interested in hearing from you. 

We are a learning organization and provide growth opportunities from the start.  We pride ourselves on giving you the freedom, resources, and guidance to chart a fulfilling career!

Reporting and Supervision:

  • The role reports to the EduFinance Activity Lead, CATALYZE
  • The role may have direct reports, including an Associate and/or field staff
  • The role will be required to liaise closely with members of the home office Project Management Unit, field staff, implementing partners, and clients
  • The Senior Education Finance Specialist is a member of the Economic Growth Practice, Americas Business Partnership, Palladium International LLC

Primary Duties and Responsibilities: 

  • Provide direction and guidelines to implementing partners in the development and execution of a robust pipeline of blended finance transactions in Education
  • Manage subcontractors, grant recipients and consultants to ensure that their performance meets or exceeds technical requirements
  • Design and develop new task orders and buy-ins for EduFinance (this includes developing the Performance Work
  • Statements and other necessary components of new task orders and buy-ins)
  • Engage with investors, education entrepreneurs, governments, financial intermediaries, USAID, and other donors in target countries to foster interest and identify investable opportunities in education
  • Develop and maintain relationships with the EduFinance Community of Practice and potential investors in education, as well as consultants and partners who can provide technical expertise
  • Contribute to project work planning and budgeting, project management, and monitoring evaluation and learning (MEL)
  • Contribute to research, analysis, and publication of technical studies, case studies, policy, and program briefs to demonstrate thought leadership
  • Utilize an adaptive management approach to advise project senior management to quickly adopt and scale cost-effective strategies and activities
  • Ensure agile program implementation in line with monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) findings through leadership of a collaborate, learn, and adapt (CLA) approach
  • Work closely with the CATALYZE EduFinance Team to manage project activities, provide technical leadership and coordinate with key stakeholders
  • Other duties as required

Key Competencies Required:

  • Proven technical excellence in education, including at least two of the following:
    • Early childhood education
    • Affordable K-12 private schools
    • Tertiary education
    •  Digital learning/education technology
    • Ancillary education enterprises
  • Proven technical excellence in inclusive and blended finance
  • Strong business development experience and skills
  • Evidence of strong communication skills, both interpersonal and written, to fulfil the diverse technical and managerial requirements of the project
  • Knowledge of USAID programming in the education sector and key policies including the Private Sector Engagement Policy, Education Policy and USAID terminology, processes, and tools
  • Strong ability to communicate effectively and professionally in English, and strong proficiency in a language that’s predominant where CATALYZE EduFinance implements activities (Spanish, French)
  • Willingness and ability to travel and work in developing countries (and elsewhere) a minimum of 6-13 weeks per year, when travel and health conditions allow

Professional Expertise/Competencies Preferred:

  • Relevant work experience, ideally in education, finance, and development

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion - Palladium is committed to embedding equity, diversity, and inclusion into everything we do. We welcome applications from all sections of society and actively encourage diversity to drive innovation, creativity, success and good practice. We positively welcome and seek to ensure we achieve diversity in our workforce; and that all job applicants and employees receive equal and fair treatment regardless of their background or personal characteristics. These include: (but are not limited to) socio-economic background, age, race, gender identity and expression, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, nationality, veteran, marital or Indigenous status. 

Should you require any adjustments or accommodations to be made due to a disability or you are a neurodivergent individual or for any other circumstance, please email our team at accessibility@thepalladiumgroup.com and we will be in touch to discuss.

Safeguarding - We define Safeguarding as “the preventative action taken by Palladium to protect our people, clients and the communities we work with from harm”. We are committed to ensuring that all children and adults who come into contact with Palladium are treated with respect and are free from abuse.  All successful candidates will be subject to an enhanced selection process including safeguarding-focused interviews and a rigorous due diligence process.