Los Angeles County’s diverse population includes a variety of immigrant communities. The Office of Immigrant Affairs seeks to remove language barriers so that all new Angelenos can thrive, no matter what language they speak. The FUSE Executive Fellow will lead the development of a language access toolkit and a strategy for training county departments on the effective utilization of the toolkit. The Fellow will also support county-specific language needs research.

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

According to the University of Southern California (USC), approximately 3.6M immigrants live in Los Angeles County (LAC). More than one-third of county residents were born abroad. Due to changes in national refugee and asylum admissions policy, LAC’s immigrant population is likely to grow in 2023. While some foreign-born residents are native or nearly native English speakers, language (spoken, written, or signed) can be a barrier to opportunity for the many Angelenos who think, speak, and read primarily in other languages. For example, USC also found that 13% of LAC households are linguistically isolated, meaning that “no member age 14 years or older speaks only English or speaks English at least ‘very well.’” This isolation can prevent individuals and families from accessing educational, legal, health, social, or economic resources that enable them to thrive.

The Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) envisions a “no wrong door” approach that ensures all County residents have access to consistent, high-quality language access services. Housed within the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA), OIA advances immigrant equity so that all county residents are able to pursue opportunities, regardless of their native language or national origin. To achieve its mandate, it conducts orientation for asylum seekers and refugees, compiles information and resources from across LAC government and social services, and provides consumer protection services.

As OIA supported the county’s access to justice initiatives and COVID-19 recovery, it identified the need for comprehensive language services across the government. OIA envisions a LAC in which any resident can fully access in-language county services online, on the phone, or in person, regardless of the department or office they are engaging. This requires training standards for county staff providing services in language, and high-quality translation and interpretation services. To that end, OIA participates in an interdepartmental working group on language access to share knowledge and best practices across the county government.

Los Angeles County will partner with FUSE Corps to provide equitable language access across county services. The FUSE Executive Fellow will support data collection and analysis of county language access needs. The Executive Fellow will collaborate with various county stakeholders to lead the development of a language resource toolkit, and develop a strategy for training county departments to facilitate effective use of the toolkit across the LAC government. This work will ensure that all Angelenos can equitably access resources and opportunities, regardless of their native language.

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 FUSE Executive Fellow will develop deep relationships with a range of critical stakeholders, including OIA, the interdepartmental working group, other LAC government entities, local language access and immigrants’ rights organizations, and members of the public. The Executive Fellow will gain an understanding of the challenges, opportunities, needs, and aspirations different stakeholders have for language access in LAC. At the same time, the Executive Fellow will conduct an extensive desk review of how similarly diverse communities have facilitated high quality language services.

The Executive Fellow will conduct quantitative and qualitative research on local language access needs. Research questions should be based on the learning from the initial phase of the Fellowship, and could include:

  • What languages are most frequently needed and in what context?
  • Who is the language services point of contact in each key office or department?
  • What topics should be prioritized for resources due to demand or potential impact?

The research should compile and analyze data to enable accurate, forward-looking language services analysis that is responsive to stakeholders’ needs.

The Executive Fellow will develop a language access toolkit that compiles critical resources and services in a user-friendly package. This toolkit could include a collection of high quality, localized communications products (e.g., brochures, posters), and a vetted bench of interpreters and translators that LAC agencies can rely on, or a model agreement that any department can use to quickly and easily contract professional language services.

Finally, the Executive Fellow will facilitate uptake of the toolkit by developing a strategy for training LAC counterparts on its efficacy and use. This could include taking a leadership role on the interdepartmental working group, conducting informational workshops, or helping colleagues understand the business case for language access.

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

  • Conduct a Stakeholder Listening Tour – Develop relationships with stakeholders in OIA, county government, advocacy organizations, and members of the public. Review literature, evidence, and models for inclusive, user-friendly language access in large, diverse communities.
  • Research and Data Analysis – Support the identification and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data on language needs, gaps, and opportunities in Los Angeles County.
  • Language Resource Toolkit – Collaborate with county stakeholders to lead the development of high quality, localized language access resources.
  • Toolkit Utilization Strategy – Develop a strategy for training county departments to facilitate effective use of the language resource toolkit.

KEY STAKEHOLDERS

  • Executive Sponsor – Joel Ayala, Chief Deputy Director; Department of Consumer and Business Affairs
  • Project Supervisor – Daniel Sharp, Chief; Office of Immigrant Affairs

QUALIFICATIONS

In addition to the qualifications listed below, an immigrant integration background with a focus on language access is preferred for this project. Candidates who have experience serving diverse clientele with various language needs in any professional setting will also be favorably considered.

  • 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.

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