Durham city leaders are working quickly to develop internal systems needed to support enforcing the city’s new Non-Discrimination Ordinance and protecting its most vulnerable residents from discrimination. To support this work, Durham’s Department of Neighborhood Improvement Services will host a FUSE Executive Fellow for one year to coordinate and operationalize the new Non-Discrimination Ordinance unit.
This fellowship project begins on October 25, 2021, and ends on October 23, 2022. The fellowship begins with a multi-day virtual orientation the week of October 25, 2021. The selected Executive Fellow will begin their first day of providing services to the host agency on November 1, 2021.
The State of North Carolina’s HB 142 in 2017 sparked conversations across the country around the government’s role in ensuring equal protections for its people regardless of gender identity and its specific impact on the LGBTQ+ community in core areas of life, including employment, housing, healthcare, and public spaces. HB 142 prevented local governments from enacting certain anti-discrimination ordinances for three years before expiring in December 2020. With the increased demand to protect people from discrimination and in response to House Bill 142’s expiration in December 2020, in January 2021, Durham City Council voted to protect its residents from discrimination by passing amendments to local ordinance, Chapter 34 of the City of Durham Code by: 1) renaming the Chapter as the Non-Discrimination Ordinance of the City of Durham; 2) incorporating protections for individuals in employment and public accommodations, and 3) expanding the protections of the entire ordinance to include the categories of military status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and protected hairstyle. Currently, there is no municipality in North Carolina that has a non-discrimination policy established like the City of Durham’s. The Non-Discrimination Ordinance (NDO) went into effect July 1, 2021 and Durham city leaders are working quickly to develop internal systems needed to support enforcing the ordinance and protecting its most vulnerable residents from discrimination.
The City of Durham has a history of working to protect its residents from discrimination in any form and to instill mutual respect and civility among all people and to make Durham into a model community for the state. To do this, the City’s Human Relations Division under the Neighborhood Improvement Services (NIS) department, positioned as a Fair Housing Assistance Program agency (FHAP) by the United States Department of Housing (HUD), has enforced the Federal Fair housing Act and the Fair Housing Ordinance of the City of Durham that provide rights and remedies that are substantially equivalent to those provided by the Federal Fair Housing Act. With the expansion of protections against discrimination in employment, the City will position its equal employment enforcement to be substantially equivalent to the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) working to become a certified Fair Employment Practices Agency (FEPA) with the EEOC. Currently, there is no other certified FEPA municipality in North Carolina and Durham seeks to be the first. To lead this effort, NIS has partnered with FUSE Corps to host an Executive Fellow for one year to work in collaboration with the City Attorney’s Office to lead the FEPA certification process, design the investigative process to examine employment and public accommodation discrimination cases and to perform outreach and education to City staff and Durham residents on equal employment and public accommodations protections that is responsive to community needs.
PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES
The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables that follow will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the Executive Fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship, after which a revised scope of work will be developed and agreed upon by the FUSE Executive Fellow and the host agency.
Starting November 2021, under the guidance of the City Attorney’s Office, the NIS Director, the Assistant Director and Human Relations Manager, the FUSE Executive Fellow will begin the FEPA certification process and develop the investigative process on behalf of residents who may be missing or lost employment due to discriminatory actions and those denied equal access to places of public accommodation. As part of the initial learning and orientation phase of the project, the Executive Fellow will research other models and municipalities with employment and public accommodation non-discrimination ordinances and work quickly to build deep relationships with a wide range of critical partners across the city, North Carolina EEOC and the Federal EEOC. The Fellow, in collaboration with the City Attorney’s Office, will review the ordinance and investigative process and procedures to operationalize key components of enforcement. The Fellow will conduct a landscape analysis and a comprehensive review of past and existing EEO and public accommodations efforts, and plan and facilitate community outreach to understand the current state of employment efforts in the community, the communities’ EEO concerns broadly and gather information from residents and employers through listening tours and public meetings. Utilizing the principles of the City’s Equitable Community Engagement Blueprint will help identify opportunities of coordination between the City and its diverse communities with the collective goal of protecting residents from employment discrimination as well as discriminatory practices in public accommodations.
By early January, utilizing the research and initial listening tour with key partners, the Executive Fellow will help lead the NIS staff in drafting a comprehensive implementation plan to include outlining the FEPA certification requirements and timeline, recommendations for operations system and standard operating procedures (SOPs) to support the investigative process, subsequent support services and a communications plan. The plan should identify a clear, unified vision for the work, determine if current staffing is adequate, and determine if a shift or alignment in operations are needed to effectively support the investigation process to protect residents from employment and public accommodation discrimination. The plan should identify strategies to engage and inform the Durham community on their rights to equal employment and equal access to public accommodations, and adequately address discrimination claims brought by residents. Throughout the process, the FUSE Fellow will incorporate community feedback and identify ways for the community to inform the strategies. By the end of the first phase, the Executive Fellow will have established operating guidelines and developed infrastructure for the investigation component of the new unit, completed a comprehensive landscape analysis and community engagement plan to understand the current state, and use the initial learnings from the focus groups to launch the investigative process on behalf of Durham residents.
By April 2022, the Executive Fellow will develop a comprehensive EEOPA training for all staff to train them on employment and public accommodation policy to build the department’s internal capacity. In collaboration with the City Attorney’s Office and advisement of the NIS Director, the FUSE Executive Fellow will execute the plan to certify the EEOPA unit as a Substantial Equivalent to the Federal EEOC and align all policies and procedures to ensure Federal compliance and begin the investigative process to address employment and public accommodations complaints. In addition, the FUSE Executive Fellow will begin executing community outreach strategy to educate and inform the Durham community on equal employment and public accommodations.
By June 2022, the Executive Fellow will develop initial policy and program recommendations that address any gaps identified, set up a process for continued review of community needs and a system to determine long-term sustainability. The Executive Fellow should also determine when and how to leverage all available partnerships including cross-sector collaboration, resources, and existing projects for maximum support and cross-sector collaboration. The Executive Fellow will utilize the City’s Equitable Community Engagement Blueprint as framework to facilitate community engagement and feedback and participation throughout the process. Overall, the Executive Fellow will position the City of Durham to strategically and proactively advance initiatives and resources that support protecting its residents from employment and public accommodation discrimination.
By October 2022, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the FEPA certification process to become Substantially Equivalent to the Federal EEOC and built internal capacity to support the investigative process to protect residents from employment and public accommodation discrimination. Working closely alongside a diverse group of partners, the Executive Fellow will:
- Conduct a thorough review of the current landscape and launch a robust partner engagement plan– Conduct a landscape analysis, collating all relevant programming, policies, and processes and identify themes; identify internal and external resources; facilitate focus groups, round tables, listening tours and other mediums of outreach to engage the community and gather information; solicit and incorporate input from partners; facilitate ongoing community participation; and build new strengthen existing lines of communication between partners.
- Develop recommendations and form a comprehensive implementation plan- Establish framework outlining short and long-term goals; timelines; priority areas; clear roles of internal and external partners; coordinate and leverage all resources for maximum impact; oversee implementation of strategies considered low-hanging fruit; and identify barriers to implementing any recommendations. solicit and incorporate input from partners to better coordinate across sectors on equal employment opportunities and equal access to public accommodations protections.
- Train and educate staff on equal employment and public accommodations policy and create resources to support continuous learning- Determine learning objectives for trainings and outline a scope and sequence; create interactive professional learning experiences using PowerPoint presentations; facilitate and lead a series of trainings for staff; assess staff readiness and understanding of equal employment and public accommodations policies; and post-training development opportunities for continuous learning.
- Expand community equal employment opportunity and public accommodation outreach and education efforts- Create opportunities to educate the community about equal employment and public and public accommodation, gather information and feedback from residents, and educate the public about existing resources.
- Design and codify the investigative process to address employment and public accommodation discrimination complaints—Establish the investigative process for residents with employment and public accommodation discrimination complaints; support the design of systems to support the investigative process; and establish the protocols required to facilitate the process and align staff to support managing caseloads of investigations.
- Constance Stancil, Director of Neighborhood Improvement Services
- Sofia Hernandez, Senior Assistant City Attorney
- James Davis, Jr, Assistant Director
- Phillip Jordan, Human Relations Manager
- Approximately 15 years of professional experience in project management, particularly in helping to launch new offices, teams, diversions or start-up organizations
- In-depth knowledge of Equal Employment Opportunity protections and employment practices necessary to prevent employment discrimination and familiar with EEOC investigative process
- Strong background in developing and coordinating partnerships between city, state and federal government
- Experience developing and facilitating professional learning experiences and trainings
- Robust experience in full life cycle project management with a successful track record of taking projects from initiation, planning, execution to closure
- Operationally savvy with the ability to create efficient and streamlined systems and processes
- Superior critical thinking, analytical and research skills with the keen ability to synthesize both qualitative and quantitative information to make cases that can withstand criticism
- Self-starter with the ability to lead with minimal direction and oversight
- Political astuteness understanding the functionality of city, county, state and federal boards and political sensitiveness around navigating each entity
- Exceptional written and verbal communication skills, easily able to make a research-based business and policy case
- Personable with proven ability to make and deliver powerful presentation, with ease in public speaking
- Self-motivated and goal-oriented leader who can also be an independent worker with the ability to simultaneously manage multiple jobs and responsibilities
- Cross-cultural agility, relating to a wide variety of diverse audiences
- Strong emotional intelligence and empathy
- Strong cross-team collaborator
- Capacity to sustain progress within potentially ambiguous environments
- Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise recommendations
- Understands the need for solutions to support all people in a community regardless of race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity
FUSE Corps is an equal opportunity employer with a core value of incorporating diverse perspectives into our work at every level. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.