Coach an OMD SCholar

One Million Degrees Coaches act as sounding boards, thought partners, and cheerleaders for OMD scholars.  


By volunteering just a few hours a month, you can make a lasting difference in a scholar’s life and career. OMD provides training and tools for coaches to effectively support our hardworking scholars.  


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impact scholars

When you become an OMD Coach, you will make a lasting difference with the OMD Scholars you work with, have opportunities to network with like-minded peers, and more:  


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Provide mentorship

  • Facilitate monthly meetings that support to scholar success
  • Share how your experiences have shaped your life and career
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Support career planning

  • Provide consultation and career advice like interview prep and resume writing
  • Explore how networking and personal branding can impact a scholar’s career
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Sharpen your coaching skills

  • Gain access to OMD’s coach training,
    resources, and tools
  • Become part of the OMD community and
    network of coaches, scholars, and partners


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Coaches provide mentorship, career advice, and guidance. They help with resume writing, interview prep, and career planning while connecting personally with scholars. 


We’ve recently updated our coaching model to allow for deeper, more meaningful and impactful coach-scholar connections. For the 2024-25 school year:

  • All coaches will be matched with up to four Year 1 OMD Scholars and will engage with those scholars monthly for the full academic year.  
  • All coaches will also be paired with two additional coaches, forming a small coaching group that will collaborate to support their twelve-scholar cohort.  

Applications are no open so apply today! 

Training & Info Sessions

Whether you’re new to coaching or returning, we provide training and resources to sharpen your skills. Details for these trainings will be sent via email once you’ve submitted your application.

Before you’re matched with OMD Scholars, attend a meet and greet kickoff event to get to know the program and campus where you’ll be coaching.  

Each of these one hundred and twenty (or two hour)-minute sessions, held in-person on Saturday mornings, will focus on a topic like time management and self-care. There will be opportunities for you to connect with scholars, collaborate with your coaching peers, and experience mentorship in action. 


These sessions will take place in November, January, March and May. 

Set your monthly check-ins based on your schedule, including emails, video chats, lunches, or however you prefer to connect.  


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One Million Degrees Scholars are individuals pursuing their associate degrees. They have persisted through challenging situations and are striving to reach their full potential and become positive forces in their families and communities.
We provide the training and tools for you to engage with our hardworking scholars. You empower our scholars to set goals, achieve critical milestones, and become tomorrow’s leaders.


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Coaches working with first-year Scholars will table-facilitate small groups of scholars at monthly Development Sessions held on Saturdays.

Coaches are not expected to attend sessions every month, but “drop in” as they are available.



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Attend a coaching info session

If you’d like to learn more and ask questions, sign up for our next OMD Coaching info session.



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Get Started Today!


Applications for the 2024-25 school year are open! Begin your OMD Coaching journey today!


If you’re a current OMD Coach interested in coaching next year, check your inbox for the intent to return form.  If you haven’t received one, reach out to us at


Still have a question?  

Sign up for a Coaching Info Session and learn more!

Or, contact us at 


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Let's answer your questions!

If you’re interested in becoming an OMD coach, we want to make the process as easy as possible. Check out our frequently asked questions below.

What are the qualifications to become an OMD Coach?

OMD Coaches must have an associate degree or higher and a passion for educational equity.

Coaches are required to complete an asynchronous virtual training of less than two hours at a time and date of their choosing within a two-week period from the time that they receive the link to the training.


Coaches attend five in-person OMD coaching sessions during the academic year (September – May). These sessions are hosted on designated days in person at the coach’s preferred campus. Matched group coaching sessions will be 2 hours each.


Coach Scholar Mixer: October 2024


In person sessions: November 2024, January 2025, March 2025, May 2025


In addition, coaches should plan to check-in with their scholar(s) at least once per month outside of the in-person meetings. How you check in with your scholar is up to you: It can be done in-person, by phone, video chat, or by email. Coaches and scholars decide together on the preferred frequency and mode of communication.


We ask all coaches to submit a short monthly activity summary to OMD staff reflecting on their coaching experience. This generally takes no more than 10 minutes.


Lastly, OMD is always looking for ways to celebrate our coaches!. We would love the opportunity to show our appreciation by joining us in the Spring for our Annual Coach Appreciation Event.

You will be matched with your scholars by November 2024, just in time for the first in-person session!

Coaching sessions will take place on-site, in-person at the coach’s preferred campus. You will be assigned a campus based on your preferences when you are approved as an OMD Coach. 

No, we will only be offering matched group coaching this year.

Coaching sessions cover a diverse range of topics including: resume development, cultural norms in the workplace and classroom, elevator pitches, goal setting, professional etiquette, community engagement, leadership, and financial literacy. 

Coaches are paired directly with Year 1 scholars as part of our matching process. One Million Degrees staff match scholars and coaches based on a variety of criteria including age, education, personal background, industry, hobbies, and interests. Whenever possible, coach – scholar matches and coaching groups will be kept the same from year-to-year.

Unfortunately, you will most likely not be able to work with your assigned scholar(s) from previous years because we are only matching Year 1 scholars this year. That said, you are more than welcome to stay in touch with your previously assigned scholar(s) outside of OMD!

Your scholar(s) will not be matched with another coach through the OMD program as we are only doing coaching for Year 1 scholars this year. Instead, your scholar(s) will be able to take advantage of our CareerSpring coaching platform, where they will be able to connect with a career advisor that they feel is the best fit for them depending on what they are looking for in an advisor. However, you are more than welcome to stay in touch with your previously assigned scholar(s) outside of OMD!

OMD Coaches are paired with two to three co-coaches and each coach is matched with four primary scholars, creating a small coaching group (3:12). Groups come together at OMD’s monthly coaching sessions and can meet as a group outside of the sessions. Group coaching allows for diverse perspectives in approaching challenges and goals and enables scholars to make meaningful connections with multiple coaches and fellow scholars.

We would love to be able to match you with a specific co-coach if possible!

If you are a returning coach:

Please specify who you would like to work with in your intent to return form. Please note that we will only be able to match you both as co-coaches if you choose to coach at the same campus.

If you are a new coach:

Please specify who you would like to work with in your coach application. Please note that we will only be able to match you both as co-coaches if you choose to coach at the same campus.

We do encourage you to check in with your scholars every month outside of SDS at least once. Checking in with your scholars does not always need to look like meeting in person or talking on the phone, though. It can also look like sending a simple text message or email to your scholars to see how things are going, a 15-minute Zoom meeting, or a check-in over coffee. The time commitment outside of required SDS can be what works best for you and your scholars.

If this happens, please let your assigned volunteer coordinator know so they can get in touch with your scholars’ program coordinator. Your assigned volunteer coordinator may do their best to try and rematch you with other scholars if your scholars are not responsive or inactive.

Program coordinators are scholar-facing staff members! They are a direct pipeline of support to our scholars in the program and connect with them regularly.

If this happens, please let your assigned volunteer coordinator know in case they don’t already so they can get in touch with your co-coaches. Your assigned volunteer coordinator may do their best to try and rematch you with other coaches if your co-coaches do not respond or are unable to continue coaching with us.

We understand that people have work, travel, and family commitments; however, we ask coaches to prioritize attendance at SDS. Matched coaches are not allowed to miss more than one in-person coaching session (or virtual coach meetings), unless their scholars don’t attend. When an absence is necessary, we ask that coaches contact both their scholar(s) and co-coach as soon as possible. Furthermore, coaches who must miss a coaching session should arrange an alternate in-person (or virtual) meeting with their scholar(s) to help them stay on track with career objectives and program goals.

One Million Degrees runs a variety of one-time volunteer opportunities throughout the year: Professional Roundtables, Interview Prep Workshops, Speed Networking Nights, Career Panels etc.. Stay tuned to your inbox and fill out our Volunteer Interest Form to learn more.

All coaches will receive asynchronous training prior to the first coaching session and will be given a coaching toolkit that includes tips for working with scholars as well as guides and templates for the career objectives such as resume, cover letter, and elevator pitch. Coaches will also have access to the OMD Coach Portal, an online one-stop shop for all things coaching. There will be multiple opportunities to be in community with other coaches throughout the year. In addition, OMD Staff are also available to troubleshoot issues and concerns and can help coaches navigate challenges.

There are a number of ways you can help us spread the word about OMD Coaching and the work we do! You can always share links to our OMD Coaching webpage or, to learn more, contact

Still have a question?

If you’d like to talk to someone on staff, please contact us.
David Scherer

David Scherer

One Million Degrees Co-founder 

David is principal of Origin, co-chairs the Investment Committee, and oversees investment analysis, acquisition and asset management. He has more than 20 years of experience in real estate investing, finance, and asset management. In 2006, he co-founded One Million Degrees, which has raised $20 million to help low-income community college students graduate and successfully enter the workforce. David has served as the organization’s Board Chair for the past 12 years, as the organization has grown from 30 to 1,000 students served per year. He also serves as the President of the Harvard Club of Chicago and is on the Advisory Board of Invest for Kids.  

Rose Lizarraga

Rose Lizarraga

OMD CO-Founder & President & CEO, Lysa LLC

An award-winning documentary filmmaker and freelance writer, Rose’s career also includes 10 years spent developing new product and brand strategies as well as marketing and advertising campaigns at Leo Burnett, Foote, Cone & Belding, M&M/Mars and other small businesses.  More recently, she worked as a writer/editor for Modern Luxury Inc., publishers of magazines such as CS and Angeleno.  Rose graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with dual degrees in English and Political Science.  She is a founding member of the Daniel M. Kerrane, Jr. Foundation, former Board Vice President of the Fairy Godmother Foundation, and currently serves on the Chicago committee for Human Rights Watch.

Michael B Golden

Michael B. Golden

One Million Degrees Co-Founder 

A former national award-winning broadcast journalist, Michael Golden has also served as a political campaign manager and communications strategist for U.S. Presidential, Senate and Congressional races. Michael is a fellow at the British-American Project and the Open Society Institute. In 1999, Michael’s investigative and public affairs reporting for NBC earned him honors from the Society of Professional Journalists, the AP, and the Edward R. Murrow Awards. In 2011, Michael co-founded Newsbound, Inc., a media and software company based in San Francisco, CA. He is also a co-founder of the Complete the Degree back-to-college initiative in Chicago, Illinois. Michael serves on the board of the ADL and on the governing board of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, as well as the Illinois Commission to Eliminate Poverty. He received his B.A. from Indiana University, and his M.S. in Public Services Management from DePaul University.