The Harris County Public Library in Texas, home to a significant immigrant population, is partnering with FUSE to enhance immigrant services, focusing on citizenship pathways. A FUSE Executive Fellow will engage with stakeholders to gather insights, identify gaps, and establish the library as a national model by executing an actionable strategy and building a service provider network.
Fellowship Dates: October 23, 2023 – October 21, 2024
Salary: Executive Fellows are FUSE employees and receive an annual base salary of $80,000. Fellows can also access various health, dental, and vision insurance benefits. Compensation for this year of public service is not intended to represent market-rate compensation for the experienced professionals in our program.
ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP
FUSE is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.
When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and can effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.
Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. They receive FUSE training, coaching, and professional support throughout their fellowships to help them achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.
The Harris County Public Library in Texas faces a unique challenge due to its diverse population, with over one-quarter of its nearly 5 million residents being immigrants who speak close to 150 different languages. Recognizing the importance of accommodating this dynamic community, the library aims to expand its programs and services to meet their literacy and culturally specific needs.
To achieve this goal, the library has partnered with FUSE to create an integrated approach to expand programming and support services for immigrants accessing the library system to facilitate a smoother pathway to citizenship and naturalization. The FUSE Executive Fellow will conduct a comprehensive listening tour, develop an actionable strategy that aligns with the community’s identified impact goals, and ensure that the library’s expanded programming effectively meets their needs. To implement the strategies, the FUSE Executive Fellow will collaborate with educators and ambassadors within the library system, empowering them to lead the expansion efforts and engage with the community.
The ultimate aim is to create an inclusive and vibrant environment within the library that celebrates the diverse backgrounds and cultures of Harris County. By focusing on intersectionality and tailoring programs to the specific needs of immigrant families, the library hopes to become a leading example in the field. Immigrants will have access to ESL courses, information about American citizenship, and a range of resources that support their integration into society.
PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES
Beginning in October 2023, the FUSE Executive Fellow will begin building a framework for expanding citizenship services in Harris County. They will work with county, community, and private stakeholders to research, recommend, and implement an actionable strategy to reach Harris County Public Library’s citizenship and naturalization goals. This will include recommendations for necessary partnerships, personnel, and long-term funding to execute HCPL’s mission effectively.
The FUSE Executive Fellow will begin by conducting a listening tour centering on immigrant communities to collect information about current programming and identify strategies that will prioritize high-risk and vulnerable members of the community. This plan will include a geographic examination of where the estimated 300,000 immigrants in the region live and require services, ensuring that the County and HCPL adequately support and represent all communities. The research will analyze successful programs globally and nationally to apply best practices and lessons learned in immigrant legal assistance, community partnerships, service awareness, and language training accreditation.
The FUSE Executive Fellow will evaluate existing citizenship-related partnerships and recommend additional community relationships for the library. They will explore in-house service provision, aiming to train and accredit individuals within the library’s branches, establish implementation frameworks, track goals and policies, and collaborate with stakeholders to address inequity. HCPL aims to strengthen pathways to citizenship and inspire other library systems across the country by building a network of service providers and acting as a convener.
By October 2024, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:
- A thorough and equitable review of the current landscape- Conducted a listening tour to become familiar with the Harris County Public Library’s immigration-specific infrastructure needs and actions; engaged with all relevant stakeholders, including other departments and public agencies, staff members, private business, and community members to better understand their perspectives, priorities, and concerns about an expansion of services; reviewed national, local, and global models to identify successful strategies that are scalable in Harris County.
- Formed a comprehensive and actionable plan and implementation framework – Assisted with the development of an actionable plan ensuring that community needs, perspectives, and equity for historically neglected communities within the immigrant population were centered in all strategies; determined overall objectives and methodology for goal setting, evaluation, and reporting; established a timeline for implementation aligned with the Harris County Public Library’s goals; and identified funding opportunities and a communications plan for successful programming implementation.
Additional deliverables include:
- Conducting a listening tour where the diversity and complexity of the immigrant population of Harris County will be showcased and utilized to reveal the community-led impact visions of the community itself.
- Researching best practices utilized by other public library systems to include in the actionable strategy created for Harris County.
- Identify and negotiate private and public partnerships with corporate sponsors for program initiatives.
- Lead a stakeholder and social asset mapping effort across community allies and collaborators to identify community-identified goals and vision.
- Create an actionable strategy to grow and scale the Harris Public Library’s range of services that support and engage the immigrant community.
- Within the actionable strategy, roles and responsibilities will be clearly defined so as to promote community ownership.
- Identify potential community partners in sectors such as early literacy, health care, and affordable housing through which to co-host areas of programming to promote intersectionality.
- Executive Sponsor – Edward Melton, Executive Director; Harris County Public Library
- Project Supervisor – Linda Stevens, Division Director, Programs, Partnerships, & Outreach; Harris County Public Library
In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in literacy policy, private-public partnerships, data collection, and community organizing is strongly preferred for this project.
- Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
- Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
- Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
- Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and other processes.
- Communicates effectively verbally and in writing and excels in active listening and conversing.
- Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision-making.
- Establishes and maintains strong relationships with diverse stakeholders inside and outside of government, particularly community-based relationships.
- Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
- Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.
- Proficiency in either Spanish or Vietnamese is preferred.
FUSE is an equal-opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position