Ensuring Equitable Access to Workforce Opportunities

January 15, 2022

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FUSE Corps

Many existing programs led by community partners in LA County aim to address the need for more workforce development opportunities – and DHS is looking to play a unique role in connecting more patients in its care to these resources. DHS will partner with FUSE Corps to collaborate with community organizations and County agencies to identifying opportunities to create or expand high-impact workforce initiatives that focus on the unique needs of those who are experiencing homeless or transitioning from the jail system.

This fellowship project begins on April 25, 2022, and ends on April 24, 2023. The fellowship begins with a multi-day virtual orientation the week of April 25, 2022. The selected Executive Fellow will begin their first day of providing services to the host agency on May 2, 2022.

PROJECT CONTEXT 

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) is the second-largest municipal health system in the nation. Through its integrated system of 27 health centers and four hospitals — and an expanded network of community partner clinics — DHS provides direct care for more than 700,000 unique patients annually and employs more than 23,000 staff. DHS is also a nationally-recognized safety net system, serving patients who are low-income, uninsured or covered by Medi-Cal, experiencing homelessness and those involved with the LA County criminal justice system. DHS staff care for patients regardless of their income, immigration or insurance status.

DHS leadership recognizes the important role partnerships play in providing accessible wraparound services to those in its care. The Department’s Community Programs Division includes Housing for Health and the Office of Diversion and Reentry and works alongside other County agencies and local organizations who are well placed to reach and serve some of the county’s most vulnerable residents. Both programs provide critical support for patients with medical care, housing assistance, substance use disorder services and mental health services. In addition to meeting these critical needs, DHS also knows that access to skill-building and career development opportunities – particularly for those residents who are experiencing homelessness and those transitioning or being diverted from the jail system – need to be expanded to ensure more residents can sustain healthy lives and find financial stability.

Many existing programs led by community partners and other County agencies aim to address the need for more workforce development opportunities. Those include programs underway by the LA County Department of Workforce Development, Aging, and Community Services, the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative, the CEO’s Poverty Alleviation Initiative, the Worker Education and Resource Center and LIFT LA. DHS can play a unique role in connecting more patients in its care to these or other resources, and identifying the opportunities to create or expand high-impact initiatives that focus on the unique needs of those who are experiencing homeless or transitioning from the jail system. By identifying and removing the specific barriers underserved populations face when trying to access workforce opportunities, DHS can ultimately improve health outcomes for more residents.

DHS will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive fellow for one year to partner with community organizations and County agencies to expand workforce development opportunities for two underserved populations: (1) those experiencing homelessness and (2) those transitioning or being diverted from the County jail system. The fellow will work across County agencies and community partners to understand what programs can be further leveraged in this effort, and identify opportunities to add or expand new programs that ultimately put more residents on a path to financial stability. They will also build the systems for strengthening and sustaining partnerships long-term to ensure DHS can help grow equitable access to educational and professional opportunities for more of its patients and identified classifications of workforce members.

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 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 Fellow and the host agency.

Starting in April 2022, the FUSE Executive Fellow will work to quickly connect with a wide range of critical stakeholders, including staff in DHS and across departments, as well as local community-based organizations to understand current community partnerships and initiatives that aim to serve patients experiencing homelessness or those leaving the jail system. The fellow will map existing community partnerships and County initiatives where expanded collaboration and engagement could improve health outcomes for those communities. The fellow will also research best practices being employed at health systems throughout the nation to identify innovative solutions for community engagement and partnerships that could be implemented in LA County. The primary focus will be in the areas of job training, skill building, career development and income stability, but the fellow will also explore community partnerships in other areas to serve low-income patients served by DHS. 

The fellow will utilize this landscape analysis and work with appropriate DHS leaders to maximize access to existing initiatives for its patients as well as certain classifications of staff members and recommend the expansion or addition of services that address gaps in workforce opportunities. The strategy will include recommendations on how to increase overall outreach and engagement with community organizations serving residents experiencing homelessness or transitioning from the jail system. The fellow will make the case for the critical nature of this work, in order to help secure funding for expanded or new programming and staffing. They will also build a framework for how DHS can effectively facilitate and sustain such partnerships long-term, along with a data-driven case and recommendations outlining future impact. By the end of the project, the fellow will have begun to implement recommendations and show early evidence of increased access to career development opportunities for these underserved groups. Over the course of the project, the major deliverables will include the following:

  • Assess the current landscape and review best practices: Gain an in-depth understanding of existing, planned, and future efforts to work with community organizations to serve DHS patients, specifically those experiencing homelessness and those transitioning out of the jail system. Highlight current approaches used, opportunities for improvement, forecasted gaps, and metrics for success in order to gain a thorough understanding of community engagement and initiatives to promote health services outreach and provision. Research the community partnership approaches in other agencies, as well as health systems from across the country to identify model programs on workforce development, skill-building and financial stability.
  • Identify opportunities to align with and supplement existing initiatives: Identify opportunities to improve outcomes by tapping into or expanding existing initiatives, including challenges and barriers to increasing collaboration between key stakeholders, and ways in which DHS can work to overcome those challenges. Identify how best to align any community partnerships with the overall DHS strategic plan and the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Antiracism (EDIA) initiative. Determine how best to implement recommendations arising from the EDIA initiative.
  • Engage internal and external stakeholders to establish deep relationships and design recommendations: Demonstrate cross-cultural agility and successfully engage with all relevant stakeholders. Establish relationships with other agencies supporting individuals experiencing homelessness or who have been justice involved, community-based organizations and other key customer groups to design approaches to community partnership that maximize efficiency and improve service delivery to DHS clients. Explore creating community advisory boards, as well as other innovative approaches not yet tested in LA County.
  • Launch pilot initiatives and show ‘early wins’ that can be scaled or replicated: Develop and expand community partnerships that improve access to career opportunities for patients being served by Community Programs. Strategy should include carefully sequenced phases designed to build momentum and ensure smooth transitions for all key stakeholders. Include prioritized initiatives, deliverables, timelines, budgets, staffing needs, and change management approaches.
  • Support long-term implementation and ensure initiative sustainability: Develop a robust implementation plan that leads to initial programming being in place by the end of the first year – include goals and systems for monitoring and reporting out on progress. Explore possible funding sources to support the sustainability of initiatives that promote self-sufficiency among patients.

KEY STAKEHOLDERS

  • Executive Sponsor – Clemens Hong, MD, MPH, Acting Director, Community Programs, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services
  • Project Supervisor – Anna Gorman, MPH, Chief Operating Officer, Community Programs, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services

QUALIFICATIONS

  • At least 15 years of professional experience in outreach and organizing with community-based organizations, with a strong background in project management
  • Familiarity with workforce development initiatives, particularly those supporting historically marginalized populations
  • Superior critical thinking and analytical skills, including the ability to quickly map various stakeholders and initiatives
  • Capacity to identify best practices, understand data and evidence and use it to support a business case, and make a persuasive argument to support recommendations
  • Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise recommendations
  • Excellent stakeholder engagement skills and the ability to use facilitative leadership techniques to coordinate stakeholder activities
  • Self-motivated and goal-oriented leader who can also be an independent worker
  • Able to relate to a variety of diverse audiences with strong emotional intelligence and empathy
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with an ease in public presentations
  • Ability to sustain progress within potentially ambiguous environments
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.
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