What You Should Know
No one takes a job at Teach For America (TFA) just for the paycheck. Employees at this nonprofit unite behind its mission to improve education in struggling communities — and they feel pride in what they do. People take their work seriously, but they also take time to get to know each other in what many say is a friendly, caring environment. The organization also supports team members in their personal lives, covering most health insurance expenses, offering flexible schedules and remote working arrangements and providing back-up child and elder care. Employees describe a place well-suited to independent folks who value meaningful work. Those not fully committed to education might be more satisfied elsewhere. Says one employee: "This isn't just a place to work, but a place to become a better person for your community and yourself."
WHAT THEY DO
TFA is a non-profit organization that recruits and trains top college graduates and professionals who make an initial commitment to teach for two years in high-need public schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity.
| Website: www.teachforamerica.org
|| US Headquarters: New York, New York
| US Sites: 70
|| Major Locations: New York, NY; Chicago, IL; Bay Area, CA (San Francisco, Oakland, and Richmond); Washington, DC; Atlanta, GA
| US Employees: 2351
|| US revenues: $210.44 million
| Worldwide revenues: $210.44 million
|| Founded: 1989
| Industry: Education & Training
How much responsibility would I have? What kind of support is there for professional development?
Great Rated! conducted an anonymous survey of randomly selected employees to assess the quality of the workplace challenges the company provides. At TFA, 78 percent of employees report the company often or almost always provides needed training, fair promotions and personally challenging work. Another 16 percent report the company sometimes provides these opportunities, for a combined positive rating from 94 percent of employees in the Great Challenges category.
The TFA staff is primarily composed of teachers and team leaders. The company has 2,351 employees in the United States, where they work from 70 locations.
An overwhelming majority of employees (94 percent) say they carry a lot of responsibility in the organization, and most (81 percent) also say that managers trust them to carry out these responsibilities without micromanaging them. For the large majority of employees (93 percent), their work at TFA is more than just a job: The chance to support those in need through education provides special meaning.
At TFA, 78 percent of employees feel they receive the training and development they need to further their careers.
Supporting Employee Development
- Average annual training for part-time hourly employees: 100 hours
- Average annual training for full-time salaried employees: 150 hours
- TFA has a mentorship program that provides one-on-one feedback to new staff members looking to get into leadership roles. There is also a leadership development system, which helps staff members build relationships while giving them a hand in creating strategic plans for the organization.
As a manager on my team, I have been given great agency/latitude to make significant change. Within my specific team, I do not feel as though my lower title limits my ability to contribute. I have worked for Teach For America for nearly four years, and during that time I have been given the freedom to innovate and ultimately shape my own responsibilities and job.
What would my colleagues be like? How do people have fun? How formal a workplace is it?
At TFA, 85 percent of employees say they often or almost always enjoy their colleagues and find their workplace to be fun and cooperative. Another 12 percent sometimes benefits from these qualities, for a combined positive rating from 97 percent of employees in the Great Atmosphere category.
TFA's office spaces are designed to inspire staff and connect them to the communities in which they work. Some regional offices have murals from local artists, and the conference rooms are designed like classrooms. Communal areas are open spaces for community members and staff to gather. Most are fitted with lounge furniture, and some have movable stadium seating for larger events. Program participants also teach in a diverse range of classroom settings across the country.
Fun and Celebrations
- TFA staff members organize Birthday Bust Ins, where teams come up with themed celebrations in the office. Past themes have ranged from the Wizard of Oz to the Spice Girls. In the Washington regional office, the TFA staff hosted ugly Christmas sweater parties, dressed up as winter creatures and hosted a "Beyoncemas," a holiday-themed tribute to the famous musician.
Caring and Support
- TFA has back-up dependent care for staff members and internal support groups for staff members faced with hardships. Employees in good standing are also eligible to request salary loans if they are facing financial hardship.
People celebrate special events around here.
Teach For America is aligned to a mission for which everyone in this organization is working to achieve. This mission and our core values drive everything that we do, creating an atmosphere of urgency and camaraderie.
What kind of perks and benefits are part of the employment package? What is the work-life balance like? Does the company appreciate hard work?
At TFA, 72 percent of employees often or almost always find the company compensates them fairly, provides special and unique benefits, supports their work-life balance and shows genuine appreciation for their contributions. Another 20 percent reports they sometimes receive these benefits as well, for a combined positive rating from 92 percent of employees in the Great Rewards category.
Teach For America cares deeply about its employees. My work is regularly celebrated, and the benefits are amazing!
COMPENSATION BY THE NUMBERS
| $44,676 Average salary and additional cash compensation for Associate, Recruitment
|| $55,421 Average salary and additional cash compensation for Manager, Teacher Leadership Development
| 100% 401(k) match of employee's salary, up to 5% of an employee's contribution
|| 85% Company-paid health coverage for employees
| 75% Company-paid health coverage for dependents
|| 20 hours Weekly hours at which part-timers receive health care coverage
PERKS TO MAKE LIFE EASIER
- Onsite package/mailing service
WORK-LIFE BALANCE BY THE NUMBERS
| 10 days Holidays & vacation days after one year of employment
|| $3,000 Adoption benefit
| 60 days Job protected maternity leave provided above and beyond FMLA
|| 40 days Paid leave for adoptive parents
WORK-LIFE BALANCE PROGRAMS
- Unpaid sabbaticals
- Telecommute option (80% use it)
- Compressed workweeks (1% use it)
- Elder care resources
- Flexible schedule (80% use it)
- Job sharing (1% use it)
- Lactation rooms
- Child care reimbursement during business travel
I am able to take time off from work when I think it's necessary.
People are encouraged to balance their work life and their personal life.
The virtual work environment gives greater flexibility to those who choose to work from home or aren't living in a region with an office. With that, I feel a lot of trust that I'll get the job done without anyone watching over me when I choose my hours on any given day.
HEALTH INSURANCE COVERS
- Dental care
- Prescription drug subsidy
- Alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, homeopathy or chiropractic
- Vision care
- Mental health care
- Fertility treatments
ONSITE HEALTH BENEFITS
What inspires employees' company spirit here? Do people stand by their teams' work? What impact do people have outside the organization?
At TFA, 88 percent of employees report that they often or almost always carry meaningful responsibilities within the organization and are proud of their accomplishments, community impact and the company's reputation in the world. Another 10 percent report that they sometimes experience this pride as well, for a combined positive rating from 98 percent of employees in the Great Pride category.
TFA's mission is to help provide all children, no matter where they live, with a high-quality education. Research has shown that students taught by the organization's instructors often perform better academically than at schools without Teach For America teachers. TFA operates from 70 sites within the U.S.; its 2,351 employees help recruit, train, and support the 10,600 corps members teaching across the country.
I'm proud to tell others I work here.
This isn't just a place to work, but a place to become a better person for your community and yourself. My time working here has been the greatest professional development I could ever imagine.
Supporting the Community
- At TFA, staff members are encouraged to donate old but functioning gadgets to a program that re-purposes old laptops and other electronic items. Staff members in New York regularly team up with local charities to collect toys and coats during the winter season.
I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.
There are unique opportunities to give back to our community on a small and large scale. We help one another, even with personal matters like selling old furniture or looking for a tutor for your child.
How easy is it to talk with managers and get the information I need? Will managers listen to my input?
At TFA, 75 percent of employees say they often or almost always experience a free and transparent exchange of ideas and information within the organization. Another 17 percent sometimes has this experience as well, for a combined positive rating from 92 percent of employees in the Great Communication category.
TFA operates 70 locations across the U.S. and employs about 2,300 people in teaching and management roles. To keep everyone on the same page, TFA hosts weekly meetings and a critical issues summit where staff members come together and discuss challenges and issues facing the organization.
Although communication in a spread-out workforce can be challenging, at TFA, a majority of its employees (82 percent) say that management is approachable and easy to talk with. Most of those surveyed (78 percent) believe managers genuinely seek and respond to suggestions and ideas, and almost as many (77 percent) say they effectively communicate important issues and changes within the organization. Many employees (72 percent) say they can ask management any reasonable question and get a straight answer.
Teach For America as an organization cares deeply about its people and their unique strengths, as well as our needs. I have seen this in numerous ways. For example, our executive director is extremely senior to me (I am a manager) but she always takes the time to listen to and think about what I have to say. This means a lot to me.
What are managers' leadership strengths?
At TFA, 72 percent of employees say their managers often or almost always act with integrity and care, are competent in their positions and provide clear directions and vision for the organization. Another 19 percent say their managers sometimes display these characteristics, for a combined positive rating from 91 percent of employees in the Great Bosses category.
TFA employees take pride in the core values that their leaders encourage at the company, as well as the care they show for them as people. Employees also trust managers to make the right decisions, and feel that they do a good job of hiring the right people. Most of the employees surveyed (88 percent) say management is honest and ethical in its business practices, while almost as many (86 percent) say managers shows a sincere interest in them as people, not just employees. Most staff (81 percent) also feel management is competent at running the business.
Teach For America is a non-profit that genuinely cares about, and for, its employees. My co-workers and managers consistently check in during high-stress times to make sure I'm doing well and to offer support, if needed. I've never worked for someone who encourages such a strong balance between work and life. Our managers actually encourage us to work fewer hours if we've been putting in too many lately. They're also really great about time off and working from home whenever necessary, which is always appreciated.
Great Perks and Programs
- Creative Celebrations: Each regional team celebrates holidays and birthdays in unique and fun ways. During March Madness, staff members are encouraged to fill out brackets and submit them. The winning team receives a large trophy. The Los Angeles regional office hosts an annual guacamole competition, and many regional offices have holiday recipe swaps where staff can share the secrets of their favorite holiday treats.
- Fitness Promotion: Although TFA does not have fitness facilities on site, it tries to incorporate healthy living in day-to-day work. Some offices offer treadmill desks, while others have afternoon yoga classes. Some staff members have replaced their chairs with exercise balls.
- Counseling Services: TFA offers online, phone and in-person counseling services to staff members who need them. When TFA staff members are faced with health, family or personal issues, an employee assistance program is available to help find the services they need.
- Back-up Day Care Services: TFA members have access to resources for emergency child care or elder care. Staff members are also welcome to bring their children to work, if necessary.
- Winter Break: TFA closes its offices between Christmas and New Year's Day to give all staff members the chance to celebrate the holiday season with family.
Great Rated! collected feedback from TFA employees via an anonymous survey. Following are common reasons employees said they appreciate their workplace.
"It's the first place where I felt that my cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds were assets that contributed value to the organization."
"Everyone I have worked with at TFA has been pleasant, professional and engaging. I have worked at a few places and I just love that everyone I have come across is focused on how to provide children a better education."
"Regardless of background, we are all working toward a common mission of 'One Day' for students. Teach For America truly values the opinions of their staff and is always asking for our input on where we should be headed as an organization."
"I really appreciate the mix of a strong mission orientation combined with strong, business-like strategic thinking. In many ways, Teach For America is the best of both worlds. For example, we use a data- and research-driven approach to select future corps members so that they can have a positive impact in classrooms and in communities."
"I love that TFA provides people, regardless of their phase of life, with the opportunity to do something they love in a way that fits them best. For example, the flexibility that we have to work on weekends and late nights suits people's lifestyles because some people may get their best ideas in the night hours, whereas others are early birds."
"I really enjoy how no matter what position you are in, there is opportunity to A) make a difference in the community and workplace where you are located, and B) you are given the leadership/ability to make big change."
"There are wonderful benefits for caregivers – including paid travel! — and super flexible hours to be able to balance work and life."
"This is an organization that requires a lot of me and holds me accountable for the work that I do. I feel that my opinions are valued and sought out; this is affirming. Because I work so hard, my time is respected when I need to take some for myself and my family."
"Working here increases our curiosity into the well-being of our neighbors and our community, so naturally as a result we think about ways to contribute back to that community, be it through volunteering or contributing."
"I appreciate the incredible passion that people bring to their work and the opportunity to do something important for our community and nation."
"TFA is mission-driven and everything revolves around what we can do to help eliminate educational inequity. That makes TFA such a meaningful place to work."
"Teach For America truly values the growth of each of its staff members. We are constantly encouraged to think about our learning and development and our career path."
How to Get Hired
We asked TFA for some inside information on how to get hired at the organization. Here is what they had to say.
What key characteristics tell you a prospective employee will be a great fit for your company?
We are committed to finding people to join our staff who thrive and succeed in the rigorous, innovative and fast-paced environment at Teach For America. We look for evidence of leadership experience, strong critical thinking skills and most importantly, a deep belief in our mission to expand educational opportunity for all kids in America. Our core values are an integral part of the way we operate, so we also consider how individuals demonstrate a genuine interest and alignment with those values.
What can prospective employees do to get your attention?
Our core values are the heart of our culture and define the beliefs that guide how we operate each day. Before interviewing, candidates should explore our website and familiarize themselves with these values; learning about them is a great way to understand how we approach our work together. In addition, we recommend that candidates apply for no more than three positions at a time so that they can tailor their application materials to those particular roles. Cover letters should demonstrate an understanding of our organization and of the position candidates are pursuing. Resumes should outline past accomplishments, with a focus on management and leadership experiences and measurable results.
Are there any unusual or especially rigorous steps of your hiring process that candidates should be aware of?
Our hiring process is highly selective. The first step of the interview process involves a phone interview, and only a select number of applicants are invited to this stage. During this conversation, candidates share details on past accomplishments and their reasons for wanting to join staff. Some candidates then advance to a series of follow-up interviews, typically with members of the team seeking to fill the role. Candidates should expect to interview with between four and eight people per position. We view these conversations as a two-way opportunity to determine whether the candidate's skills and professional interests are a strong match for the role. Candidates are often asked to role-play a scenario they might encounter in the position, and/or to complete a work-related exercise (e.g., a mock project plan, an analytical exercise or a response to a prompt).
Are there any positions or types of candidates you are particularly focused on hiring in this coming year?
Teach For America has a wide range of open positions on our 12 national teams and 50 regional teams: from entry-level administrative support to experienced managers. This coming year, we will be hiring across all levels, functions and teams as we continue to expand geographically, deepen our expertise and diversify.
What should interested candidates do to find out more and get started?
To learn more about open full-time roles or to apply for a job, check out the Join our Staff section of our website. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a member of our teacher corps, visit the Why Teach For America section of our website. You can also sign-up for our live online events to hear corps members, alumni and others firsthand, who will share their personal experiences and answer your questions about TFA.
||39Average number of applicants per opening
|15%Total voluntary turnover in past year
||24043Applicants in past year
|321Openings in past year
||30%New hires by employee referrals