In the face of Covid-19, Milwaukee County is further dedicated to institutionalizing racial equity and ensuring race will no longer be a predictor of a resident’s health. The Office on African American Affairs will partner with a FUSE Executive Fellow for one year to increase coordination of the County’s ecosystem of equity initiatives and build enterprise-wide and regional capacity to advance health and racial equity throughout all 19 municipalities in Milwaukee County.
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.
It is the unfortunate reality that every American metropolitan area struggles with income inequality, concentrated poverty, unequal incarceration rates, disparate health outcomes, and poor overall quality of life for African Americans. Milwaukee is not unique in the comprehensive issues faced by its African American population. The infant mortality rate is more than double for Black children than white children, the income and homeownership rates for Black Milwaukeeans is two times less than their white counterparts, the rate of African American men facing mass incarceration is nearly double the national average, and Black Milwaukeeans on average live 14 years less than a white person in the County.
Milwaukee County recognizes that institutional racism plays a critical role in these inequities and disparities plaguing their community. And the County is committed to making authentic and lasting change. The County is led by the vision that Milwaukee will be the healthiest County in Wisconsin by achieving racial equity. By dismantling institutional racism in its organization and building policies, practices, and a culture that ensures race no longer predicts health outcomes, Milwaukee County can ensure outcomes for everyone will improve.
To this end, in 2017, the County formed its Office on African American Affairs (OAAA). OAAA plays a critical role in recognizing and resolving the County’s racial inequities and provides advice, guidance, training, and technical assistance to normalize, operationalize, and institutionalize racial equity within the County’s operations, policy, and programs. Since 2017, OAAA has enabled the County to pass a first-of-its-kind resolution declaring racism a public health crisis, after which 170 other jurisdictions followed suit; joined the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) to receive additional technical assistance; trained more than 3,600 county employees in racial equity and implicit bias; and developed and implemented a racial equity tool to analyze the racial impact of cuts and investments on the 2020 and 2021 budgets, among other initiatives. OAAA has been a critical driver in Milwaukee County’s efforts to shift its institutional power and dismantle racist policies and practices.
In the face of Covid-19, Milwaukee County is further dedicated to institutionalizing racial equity and ensuring race will no longer be a predictor of a resident’s health. To support these efforts, Milwaukee County’s OAAA will partner with FUSE Corps to host an Executive Fellow for one year to increase coordination and build enterprise-wide and regional capacity to advance health and racial equity throughout all 19 municipalities in Milwaukee County. The Executive Fellow will evaluate the County’s ecosystem of equity initiatives and establish an ‘equity innovation lab’ to support strategies grounded in a county-wide shared vision of equity, strengthening the County’s internal and regional racial equity infrastructure.
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 in November 2021, the FUSE Executive Fellow will work quickly to build deep relationships with a wide range of critical stakeholders, including staff across County departments and municipalities, and technical assistance providers such as GARE. Utilizing this initial listening tour with key stakeholders, the Executive Fellow will conduct a landscape assessment of the County’s ecosystem of internal equity initiatives. The Executive Fellow will evaluate this equity ‘census’ and develop a baseline for how equity concepts have been integrated throughout department policy and finances. Concurrently, the Executive Fellow will research similar efforts from across the United States to understand successful models for promoting racial equity within County government structures and operations.
Next, the Executive Fellow will support integrating an enterprise-wide race and equity framework stemming from this analysis. This framework will establish a shared set of standards, processes, and definitions around equity and racism. The Executive Fellow will work closely with County leadership to determine how best to share and disseminate these best practices, scale successful initiatives, and promote new processes cross-departmentally. The Executive Fellow will establish clear messaging and communication infrastructure to facilitate change across staff and bring along stakeholders who are unfamiliar with how racial equity might play out within their departments or work. Through this framework, the Executive Fellow, in concert with OAAA, will connect the disparate equity efforts that have been launched across the County.
The Executive Fellow will also play a critical role in mobilizing and institutionalizing this framework, building enterprise-wide and regional capacity. This will possibly include the design and launch of an ‘equity innovation lab.’ The Executive Fellow will research government-based innovation labs and six-sigma models nationally, assessing applicability locally, and review the equity ‘census’ to ensure resources address cross-cutting gaps and opportunities. The Executive Fellow will consult various staff and stakeholder groups during the design phase to ensure the lab can serve as a one-stop shop for technical assistance. The lab may offer training, workshops, and rapid innovation sessions across racial equity concepts and data, all in support of increasing cross-departmental and cross-sector coordination, breaking down silos and developing new strategies to integrate racial equity into all county-connected systems, processes, policy, and programs.
By October 2022, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the enterprise-wide race and equity framework’s implementation. This will include the following:
- Conduct a thorough review of the current landscape – Conduct an in-depth landscape analysis of each department’s processes, programs, and policies related to equity; map gaps, identify cross-cutting themes, determine technical inefficiencies and concept barriers; research national best practices
- Integrate a race and equity framework across County systems – Establish a shared set of standards, processes, and definitions around equity and racism; develop a plan for integrating the comprehensive framework and potentially altering current policies, programs, and investments; flag cross-departmental, cross-municipal, and regional opportunities to implement pilot projects that work to reform policies, programs, or investment strategies
- Engage stakeholders and catalyze buy-in – Solicit and incorporate input from stakeholders to build consensus around changes, strengthen existing lines of communication between stakeholders; form a strategy for culture change, with clear messaging and technical resources; communicate the value derived from approaching work with a racial equity lens to win and maintain support for the movement towards systems change; balance between stakeholders who want efforts to move forward more quickly, and those who might hesitate or require more education and outreach
- Build enterprise-wide capacity – Oversee implementation of strategies considered low-hanging fruit, including the build-out, refinement, and launch of an ‘equity innovation lab;’ coach staff and stakeholder on actively applying principles of racial equity to all internal and external policies, practices, and decisions; determine a mechanism to track and monitor the work occurring in departments and across municipalities and sectors, and identify ways to measure impact, setting benchmarks for tracking progress
- Support long-term implementation – Work with leadership across the County to effectively advance recommendations; create internal infrastructure and systems to manage cross-cutting changes; measure and broadly share progress towards goals
- Executive Sponsor – Isaac Rowlett, Director of Strategic Planning, Office of the Milwaukee County Executive
- Project Supervisor – Jeff Roman, Executive Director, Office on African American Affairs
- Approximately 15 years of professional experience in a relevant field, particularly with MBA, having a solid grounding in diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI), and change management
- Background in project management and process improvement initiatives preferred
- Experience with executive coaching in support of organizational development at a large institution
- Innovative thinker, having rolled out new frameworks and initiatives at a systems level
- Proven collaborator, having built partnerships and consensus across stakeholders
- Familiarity in working in a bureaucratic environment, prowess in managing delicate situations or stakeholders
- Strong record of success engaging a variety of cross-sector stakeholders and managing cross-functional teams
- Exceptional written and verbal communication skills
- Proven ability to make and deliver powerful presentations with ease in public speaking
- Capacity to sustain progress within potentially ambiguous environments
- Cross-cultural agility, relating to a wide variety of diverse audiences
- Strong emotional intelligence and empathy
- Superior critical thinking and analytical skills
- Self-motivated and goal-oriented leader who can also be an independent worker
- 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.