Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the United States, is also the third largest metropolitan economy in the world, with a GDP of over $700 billion. Its prosperous economy is driven by the international trade, entertainment, aerospace, technology, petroleum, retail, and tourism industries, resulting in a low 4.8 percent unemployment rate. However, this prosperity does not reach a large portion of the county, where nearly one in six residents lives in poverty and only about one in five are college graduates. The report “Portrait of Los Angeles County, 2017, Measure of America” examined well-being and access to opportunity in the county and concluded that to help future Los Angeles flourish, the most vulnerable populations require attention in three areas: 1) health, including economic security; 2) education, specifically school completion for disconnected youth and those at risk; and 3) earnings, particularly increased wages and improved workforce training opportunities.
In 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act was passed to improve the nation’s public workforce system and help people who face significant barriers to employment gain access to high quality jobs and careers.
With this context in mind, the County’s Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive-level fellow for one year to establish a “human-centered design” (HCD) approach to workforce services, specifically to help WDACS, its American Job Centers of California (AJCC) staff and partners to deliver integrated services to all customers using an HCD model. HCD has become increasingly popular in social services because of the way it involves the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process and leads to new systems that are usable and useful to clients’ needs and requirements. The HCD approach will allow WDACS to directly learn from the populations it serves, to rapidly come up with innovative new concepts, quickly prototype them, and then incorporate collective ideas into its service delivery processes. The fellow will have the unique opportunity to contribute to best practices in reducing employment barriers for individuals in one of the world’s largest metropolitan economies.
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 project, after which a revised scope of work will be developed and agreed upon by the fellow and the host agency.
Starting in September 2018, it is proposed that the FUSE Fellow will conduct a needs assessment of WDACS’ partners, staff, and customers, to develop a basis of understanding of prior approaches and current challenges. Building upon this assessment, the fellow will present recommendations to design and launch an HCD-informed integrated service delivery model framework to improve WDACS’ workforce service delivery to its various customer populations. The framework will be co-created with WDAC’s employment development partners, including the California State Employment Development Department, the California Department of Rehabilitation, Los Angeles community colleges, and WDACS’ nonprofit community-based partners, among others. However, the key stakeholder in this effort will be customers of WDACS’ LA County America’s Job Centers of California (AJCCs).
Success in this project will be evaluated in terms of the fellow’s ability to formulate a HCD framework that enhances the customer experience at the AJCCs leading to overall satisfaction with services and improved educational and employment opportunities for AJCC customers. The framework should be adaptable to future workforce programming, enabling an integrated services delivery system to be used by LA County Workforce Development and America’s Job Centers of California staff. The framework’s success will require a high degree of communication, coordination, collaboration, measurement, evaluation, benchmarking, and systems creation.
The fellow should have experience using a human-centered design approach gained from private, nonprofit or public-sector work, facility working collaboratively at the executive level, knowledge of the public and nonprofit sectors, and the ability to build consensus among stakeholders. The fellow will preferably have familiarity in workforce development and/or social services.
- Conduct research and assess current landscape – Review documents, conduct research, hold focus groups, hold facilitated exercises and interview internal stakeholders and AJCC customers, to understand the customer experience when accessing services at the AJCCs and customer segment characteristics including barriers to employment. Create customer profiles that define the user of the AJCC system and understand possible gaps and opportunities in order to improve integrated service delivery to enhance customer experience and satisfaction. Identification of current service delivery patterns and customer behavior patterns when accessing services is key to informing this understanding.
- Engage stakeholders – Meet with on-site co-located partners and external stakeholders from civic, nonprofit, and business sectors, to discuss options, preferences, and gaps and prioritize opportunities. Pay attention to requirements for mindset and systems change among county and state workforce development staff. Establish HCD teams that will implement the HCD methodology for various customer segments. The concept of HCD needs to be imbedded in all service delivery paths at the AJCC.
- Facilitate the HCD Implementation: Facilitate team activities to conduct the HCD process including ethnographic research as well as the full five-step HCD process adopted by the US Department of Labor, to develop innovative solutions for serving customers and increasing integration in the service delivery system. Facilitate the full documentation of the process including release authorizations from customers involved in the research process. Facilitate the development of an implementation plan that the AJCCs can use to guide the implementation of HCD solutions in their respective AJCCs.
- Finalize framework and begin implementation of Innovative Solutions – Facilitate the implementation of the solutions developed from the HCD process at the AJCCs. Framework should include a customer feedback loop/mechanism that the AJCCs can easily replicate. Also, the framework should be flexible enough to allow freedom to change processes based on prototyping/experimenting. Develop report that fully documents the process and implementation of the solutions. Develop a presentation that can be used to communicate the process used, results of research, solutions developed, and implementation results.
- Otto Solorzano, Chief Deputy Director, Los Angeles County Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services
- Cheren Payne, Human Services Administrator, Los Angeles County Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services
- Mike Agostinelli, Information Technology Manager, Los Angeles County Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services
- At least 15 years of professional experience in a social service, financial or business management field. Experience in workforce development, social service delivery, the public sector, and HCD-informed systems change a plus.
- Excellent stakeholder engagement skills and the ability to use facilitative leadership techniques to coordinate stakeholder activities.
- Superior critical thinking and analytical skills, and ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise recommendations.
- Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with an ease in public presentations.
- Ability to relate to a wide variety of diverse audiences with strong emotional intelligence and empathy.
- Big picture thinker who can identify opportunities for strategic and empathetic decision making and can introduce a mindset of organizational change.
- Self-motivated, goal-oriented, entrepreneurial leader who can also be an independent worker.
- Persistent in obtaining information and creatively resourceful in identifying solutions to complex problems.
- Flexibility, adaptability, persistence, humility, inclusivity, and sensitivity to cultural and economic differences.
- Understands the need for solutions to support all people in a community regardless of age, disability status, justice-involvement, homeless status, race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity.
Click the link below to upload a resume and complete the online application questions in lieu of a cover letter. The application process will allow you to indicate interest in more than one fellowship opportunity. You only need to submit one application. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as selections will be made on a rolling basis and specific opportunities may close quickly.
A FUSE Fellowship is a 12-month engagement requiring fellows be primarily committed to their partnership with the government agency throughout the year to ensure the success of their project. Fellows are retained as independent contractors of FUSE Corps and are paid an annual stipend of $90,000 through monthly installments. This commitment begins on September 24, 2018 and ends September 20th, 2019.
The FUSE Fellowship is an equal opportunity program with a core value of incorporating diverse perspectives. We strongly encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply.