Strengthening Community Engagement and Data Management for Equitable Implementation

January 15, 2022

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FUSE Corps

The City of Milwaukee’s Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI) was started in 2021 to coordinate the implementation of strategies, policies, and practices designed to advance and achieve racial equity and inclusion in education, housing, workforce development, public safety, violence prevention, and the delivery of quality and timely government services. OEI will partner with FUSE Corps to develop, test, and implement systems and processes that allow Milwaukee to use evidence and data as part of a two-way community engagement strategy to support improved equity outcomes as an equity focused city 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 City of Milwaukee is fully committed to implementing strategies, policies, and practices designed to advance and achieve racial equity and inclusion in education, housing, workforce development, public safety, violence prevention, and the delivery of quality and timely government services. The Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI) was started in 2021 to coordinate the implementation of these strategies for equity amongst the various city offices and services.

The City of Milwaukee has allocated significant funding under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) to address issues of equity in the city and build resilience to future challenges. Major investments will be made in housing, infrastructure, and public health to support those goals. The OEI has committed to community engagement and accountability around ARPA programming, and began to unpack what that entails in terms of process and scale with the help of fellows from the National League of Cities. Authentic engagement requires going far beyond simply informing communities of the city’s plan, to including communities in a manner that would empower them to meaningfully feed in to the plan. Some city departments are already thinking about community engagement and equity in ways that are compatible with this level of engagement. Many do not yet have the internal resources to go through this process and define how their work will be equity-centered or have demonstrable equity impacts.

Equitable community engagement and project implementation also requires disaggregated data collection, management and reporting in order to measure the impact programs have had and assess future implementation based on evidence. With many city departments utilizing different methods and platforms for data management that are not necessarily compatible, and with differing levels of comfort with data management, there is a need to harmonize metrics for reporting, systems for collection and access across teams.

In order to support improved equity outcomes as an equity focused city system, OEI will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive fellow for one year to develop, test, and implement systems and processes that allow Milwaukee to use evidence and data as part of a two-way community engagement strategy. This strategy will include specific recommendations for how OEI can ensure progress towards the City’s stated commitments and goals for racial and economic equity.

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 the OEI and across city departments, as well as local community-based organizations to understand current approaches to community engagement and data management. The fellow will spearhead mapping existing approaches, highlighting where these approaches complement each other, and where approaches may be incompatible. The fellow will also research best practices being employed in other municipalities throughout the nation to identify innovative solutions for community engagement and data-driven programming that could be implemented in Milwaukee.

The fellow will utilize this landscape analysis and will work with appropriate OEI staff to develop a community engagement and data management strategy that will guide the City now and in the future. This strategy should help the City to embed racial equity principles and equity outcomes in city programs, and create authentic and productive two-way community engagement. The strategy will include recommendations on how to increase overall engagement with Black and brown residents and organizations, and those with various language access needs. The fellow will make the case for the critical nature of this work, in order to create the mechanisms for its continued implementation. The fellow will then begin the implementation of these recommendations. Ultimately, this community engagement and data management strategy will help OEI empower the City of Milwaukee to set, share, and meet the City’s racial equity goals and commitments.

  • Assess the current landscape and review best practices: Gain an in-depth understanding of existing, planned, and future efforts of City offices and community partners to identify best practices for community engagement and data management. Highlight current approaches used, opportunities for improvement, forecasted gaps, and metrics for success in order to gain a thorough understanding of initiatives to improve equitable impact of City programs. Research the approaches in City agencies, as well as municipalities from across the country to identify model approaches and tools.
  • Identify opportunities to align with and supplement existing initiatives: Identify opportunities to improve community engagement and data management by tapping into or expanding existing change management initiatives. Highlight challenges and barriers to increasing collaboration between key stakeholders, and ways in which OEI can work to overcome those challenges. Identify how best to align community partnerships with the overall Milwaukee vision for equity and inclusion.
  • 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, community-based organizations and other key customer groups to design community engagement and data management approaches that maximize efficiency and improve service delivery across City programs.
  • Map process improvements with strategies and timelines for implementation: Create a sustainable strategy for developing and improving processes. 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.

KEY STAKEHOLDERS

  • Executive Sponsor – Sharon Robinson, Director, Department of Administration
  • Project Supervisor – Nikki Purvis, Chief Equity Officer, Office of Equity and Inclusion, City of Milwaukee
  • Kate Pawasarat, Community Analytics Analyst, Office of Equity and Inclusion, City of Milwaukee
  • Aaron Szopinski, Policy Director, Office of Mayor Tom Barrett, City of Milwaukee 

QUALIFICATIONS

  • At least 15 years of professional experience in community engagement and data management with a strong background in qualitative and quantitative data analysis
  • Strong project management experience preferred
  • 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 and action-oriented implementation plans
  • 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
  • Ability to relate to 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
  • Experience working with underserved communities
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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