The City of Los Angeles aims to promote digital equity for its residents. As part of that effort, the Los Angeles Public Library is equipping City employees and Angelenos with the knowledge and assets necessary to bridge the digital divide. The Executive Fellow will support this effort by documenting the City’s digital assets, designing a digital knowledge management system, and planning strategic communications campaigns to connect with unconnected residents.

ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP

FUSE Corps 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 able to 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. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help 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.

PROJECT CONTEXT

The Los AngelesPublic Library system operates 73 locations, serving the largest, most diverse population in the United States. Their customer base is more than 4 million people who speak more than 220 languages.

A key vector for information and resource delivery, the Los Angeles Public Library has provided internet connectivity to patrons for more than two decades. Its services include Cybernauts, a program in which residents can learn the basics of computer and internet use, and Tech2Go, which provides laptops and WiFi hotspots for long-term check out.

In addition to its own programming, the library system often serves as the front line for residents to access other services. For example, Los Angeles Emergency Rental Assistance has an online application; other agencies have online service desks where residents can receive information and guidance. But the 6% of households that do not have a computer and 12% of households that do not have internet access frequently turn to the library for help accessing these resources.

The Los Angeles Public Library and the Bureau of Street Lighting are leading a City-wide effort to advance digital equity across Los Angeles and to facilitate residents’ access to opportunities. The Bureau of Street Lighting is managing the physical infrastructure necessary to connect more households to the internet and anticipates hiring an Executive Fellow to assist in that project. To complement this, the Public Library will engage internal and external stakeholders to facilitate connectivity.

The City of Los Angeles will partner with FUSE Corps to design internal knowledge management and external communications to engage stakeholders. The FUSE Executive Fellow will map out the digital programs and services across all City of Los Angeles agencies and departments, design a knowledge sharing system to keep that map up to date, and plan strategic communications efforts to encourage unconnected Angelenos to access digital resources in their home or a public location. As a result of this work, the City of Los Angeles and the Library will be better equipped to serve all residents and Angelenos will more easily access digital resources and opportunities.

PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES

The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.

Starting in April 2023, the Executive Fellow will forge relationships with key stakeholders, including library staff; other City of Los Angeles stakeholders; community organizations working on digital inclusion; and members of the public. The Executive Fellow will gain an understanding of the scope and scale of the City’s digital equity work (including infrastructure, access points, and digital assets). The Executive Fellow will also conduct extensive desk research to understand best practices to promote digital equity in large, diverse cities like Los Angeles.

Next, the Executive Fellow will develop an asset map of the digital programs and services offered by the City. This includes:

  • Physical access points (e.g., computer labs in libraries, parks, and public housing, publicly-owned WiFi hotspots)
  • City programs that distribute physical assets (e.g., the Department of Aging tablet program, Tech2Go from LAPL, OurCycle LA computer refurbishment program)
  • City and other government programs that connect households to the internet (e.g., Affordable Connectivity Program LAUSD free internet program)
  • City programs that promote and support digital literacy (e.g., the library’s Cybernauts program)
  • Online resources offered by the Library and other City departments (e.g., online programs, applications, and service windows)

A successful map will equip residents with the information and contacts they need to access the internet using their preferred method, and information to access any internet-based resources and services the City offers.

In addition, the Executive Fellow will design an internal knowledge management system to help City employees think through equity and access when designing new digital resources and to facilitate updates to the asset map as new services come online. A successful knowledge management system will keep the map up to date and promote a culture change within the City of Los Angeles to embed digital equity within their program and service design.

Finally, the Executive Fellow will plan a communications strategy to encourage unconnected Angelenos to access the internet and highlight the advantages of online access to Library and city online services. The target audiences for these communications are: residents who do not have internet access but want it, those who do not trust the internet and therefore do not use it, students struggling to access the internet, and people experiencing homelessness. A successful communications campaign will leverage non-digital channels to equip unconnected households with the information necessary to safely and affordably access the internet.

By April 2024, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:

  • Conduct a listening tour – Build relationships with stakeholders in the City’s digital equity work to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that will shape the approach to this work. Conduct best practices research.
  • Develop a digital asset map – Create a map of the City of Los Angeles’ digital resources, including programs to help residents get online and digital assets to help them access the scope of City services.
  • Internal knowledge management – Design an internal knowledge management system to continuously update the digital asset map and to help City employees think through the digital equity implications of new program and service designs.
  • External communications – Plan a non-digital communications campaign to engage low-information, low-trust, and low-asset residents and facilitate their connection to digital resources.

KEY STAKEHOLDERS

  • Executive Sponsor – Susan Broman, Assistant City Librarian; Los Angeles Public Library
  • Project Supervisor – Jené Brown, Division Librarian, Emerging Technologies and Collections; Los Angeles Public Library

QUALIFICATIONS

In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in the digital divide, systems thinking, and communications 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 both verbally and in writing, and excels in both active listening and conversing.
  • Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision making.
  • Establishes and maintains strong relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, and particularly including 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. for this position.

FUSE Corps is an equal opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply