One particular group of Los Angeles County (County) residents comprises thirty-five percent of the County’s population of ten million, contributes thirty-six percent of its $653 million GDP, accounts for more than forty percent of the employed workforce, and makes up more than half of its small business owners. That group of Angelenos consists of those who were born abroad.
Immigrants supply a major part of Los Angeles County’s lifeblood, from its economy and politics to its society and culture. If the County itself is going to thrive and grow, so must those residents who have come from other countries to make the County their home. County leaders understand this—and are equally cognizant of the challenges those immigrants face, particularly in today’s charged political climate. That’s why they’ve made a bold commitment to increase support for its immigrant population.
In April 2017, the County’s Board of Supervisors (Board) created the Immigrant Protection and Advancement Taskforce (IPAA) to develop a broad vision that champions the success of County immigrants and their families. The County’s Office of Immigration Affairs (OIA), housed in the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA), is one of only a handful of similar local agencies nationwide devoted exclusively to serving immigrants and their families. OIA was charged with producing a County-wide Immigrant Protection and Advancement Strategy Report (Report) with recommendations supporting that vision. The Report, drawn from the participation of 27 County departments and five Board appointees representing legal, labor, political, and business communities, plus nearly 100 representatives from non-profit organizations that serve immigrants, generated more than 75 recommendations in four categories: promoting greater justice equity, providing wrap-around County-wide services, promoting economic advancement, and conducting more strategic outreach, education, and civic engagement.
Now the County is ready to act on the Report. To do so, the County needs a comprehensive plan to implement the Report’s recommendations. To support this work, DCBA and OIA will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive fellow (Fellow) for one year who will:
- Analyze the Report and assess existing services;
- Study the diversity of the County’s immigrants and their needs;
- Evaluate and prioritize the urgency and viability of recommended actions;
- Identify internal and external funding sources and potential partners;
- Develop a detailed implementation plan that lays out a clear blueprint for immediate, short, and long-term actions; and
- Oversee its next steps of execution.
If successful, the Fellow will play a crucial part not only in carrying out IPAA’s vision of protecting and promoting the success of immigrant residents and their families, but in helping the County be more effective in serving all its residents while advancing the County’s own well-being.
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 two 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 October 2019, it is proposed that the FUSE Fellow will begin by meeting with DCBA and the OIA executives to gain a deep understanding of the role immigrants and their families play in the County, the scope of currently available County services for them, , and their unmet service needs. The fellow, who must possess strong research skills and an openness to learning and adapting, will gain insights into the multidimensional immigrant population in the County, including ethnic, language, how long individuals have lived in the country, and their immigration status. These insights will inform additional awareness about varied needs and communication styles across the population.
Using strong analytical skills, the Fellow will then turn to evaluating the recommendations of the Report and identifying sources of funding for implementing them. Creativity and resourcefulness will help the Fellow develop any additional ideas beyond the recommendations and pursue potential partnerships that can be leveraged for funding and operation assistance. The Fellow will exercise acute critical thinking and excellent judgment in developing an analytical framework that prioritizes actions based on urgency of needs, the potential roles of County-wide departments and other entities, funding available in and outside DCBA, and any execution of recommended action that has already begun.
Exercising savvy about immigration politics as well as local politics, the Fellow will create an implementation plan (Plan)—working in consultation with DCBA and OIA executive management—for implementing actions to carry out the Report’s recommendations. Cultural sensitivity will help the Fellow identify ways to engage the community in carrying out the Plan; resilience and an ability to withstand heated controversy will also be necessary in obtaining stakeholder buy-in that includes public acceptance of and participation in the Plan. Finally, the Fellow will leverage operational knowledge in executing initial next steps of the Plan. Through these actions, the fellow will play a crucial role in providing robust County support to immigrant Angelenos and their families, which in turn will nurture the County’s long-term health and vibrancy.
- Gain a deep understanding of the County’s immigrants and immigrant services – Meet with DCBA and OIA executive managers to establish relationships and learn about the role of immigrants in the County economy and how County departments engage with immigrants and their families. Acquire insights about the immigrant population and how subsets of it differ, along with their needs and communication styles. Become well-acquainted with the complex politics surrounding immigration and how they play out in the County
- Analyze the IPAA Strategy Report and assess any executions already underway – Attain thorough knowledge of the Report, its overall objectives, and its specific recommendations. Incorporate any further Board of Supervisor directives related to the overarching goals of the County’s vision to support immigrant populations. Review current work already being done in service of these goals and assess the potential effect on overall implementation plans going forward. Elicit, create and consider new ideas that further the goals of the Report.
- Identify existing resources and alternative sources of funding – Locate in-house funds within the OIA and DCBA that can be used to implement actions recommended in the Report. Become familiar with other DCBA and OIA projects and programs that have engaged other County departments, nonprofits and outside entities to pursue their goals, and learn best practices for establishing such collaborative relationships. Identify and engage with external sources to determine who could provide funding and other assistance. Ensure viable funding mechanisms are in place.
- Create and initiate an implementation plan – Synthesize all information, including recommendations from the Report in the context of their urgency, implementation efforts already being executed, and internal and external funding sources. Integrate all components into a complex analysis that facilitates clear communication of priorities—immediate, short-term, and long-term, based on needs, availability of funding, and actions already taken (with any needed adjustments to that work going forward). With DCBA and OIA executives, finalize an implementation plan. If necessary, assist in presenting the Plan to the Board. Work to gain stakeholder buy-in. Determine best approaches to involve the community in carrying out recommendations, such as through community town halls or social or traditional media. Lead the launch of actions addressing the Plan’s most urgent priorities.
- Rafael Carbajal, Chief Deputy Director, Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs
- Rigo Reyes, Executive Director, Office of Immigrant Affairs, Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs
- At least 15 years of professional experience in strategic planning, including experience in stakeholder engagement and project management. A personal understanding of the immigrant experience is highly desirable.
- Superior critical thinking, analytical, and interpersonal skills.
- Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise recommendations.
- Ability to relate to a wide variety of diverse audiences with strong emotional intelligence and empathy.
- Excellent stakeholder engagement skills and the ability to use facilitative leadership techniques to coordinate stakeholder activities.
- Self-motivated, goal-oriented, entrepreneurial leader who can also be an independent worker.
- Excellent team player with outstanding self-confidence skills.
- Superior ability to anticipate potential issues, create solutions, and communicate them to those who need to know.
- Excellent ability to notice sensitive information and safeguard it.
- Persistent in obtaining information and creatively resourceful in identifying solutions to complex problems.
- Highly adaptable and superior ability to create direction and movement within potentially ambiguous
- Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with an ease in public presentations.
- Understands the need for solutions to support all people in a community regardless of race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity.