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What Does a Program Support Assistant Do?

A program support assistant entering information into a computer.
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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 21 March 2014
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A program support assistant provides comprehensive administrative and clerical support within the context of a program sponsored by an organization or institution. Typically, he or she will provide various routine clerical support services, such as managing correspondence, making travel arrangements, and maintaining files. In addition, however, the support assistant may also assume responsibility for managing communications with clients, recruits, or other parties outside the program. In addition, he may be responsible for writing brochures, newsletters, and reports. In many cases, the program support assistant may also be required to have extensive computer knowledge, as he may be responsible for maintaining program files and spreadsheets and for conducting significant amounts of research. The exact responsibilities will typically vary by employer and the assistant's knowledge and skills.

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Many governmental and private organizations sponsor a variety of programs that may require the services of dedicated employees. While programs that do not have significant funding may obligate employees to perform their own administrative and clerical work, in some cases there is enough money in the budget to hire a program support assistant. The qualifications for this position will vary by the hiring organization, but many hiring managers prefer to hire an assistant with significant experience in administrative, secretarial, or clerical work. In addition, the assistant may be required to have experience working with various types of office software, and in some instances may also need to have a good understanding of various databases. The department may rely on the program support assistant to do a significant amount of writing and research, which may mean that a hiring manager will want the assistant to hold a college degree.

In some contexts, a program support assistant may also engage in training both program employees as well as clients. As the assistant will typically have significant knowledge of the program's operations and goals, the support assistant may be called upon to produce training material and orient new hires and clients to the program's policies and procedures. In situations where the program is in need of additional funding, staffing, or other types of support, the assistant may be asked to provide input as to the needs of the program and may also be called upon to compile documentation and research that can be added to the support request.

In many instances, a program support assistant may have extensive responsibilities in the area of travel and event management. As such, it can often be helpful for the assistant to have some knowledge of local travel options and event planning. The support assistant may be required to make arrangements for airline tickets for the guests as well as local transportation and hotel accommodations. In addition, she may also be required to work with managers of local meeting rooms to ensure that the conference runs smoothly.

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