The City of Long Beach is laying the groundwork for a major push to reduce income disparity and increase access to economic opportunity in its low-income communities. California’s seventh-largest city, Long Beach has a majority minority population, with nearly 70 percent of residents that are African American, Asian, and Latino. The city’s improved economic picture in recent years has not extended broadly into those communities, where median household income lags significantly.
Multi-generational income disparity is a national issue, and Long Beach has its own history of trying to tackle it. But now city officials and a cross-section of public and nonprofit entities have made equity – or just and fair inclusion – an urgent economic imperative. The lynchpin of their efforts is the new 10-year strategic plan, called the Blueprint for Economic Development (Blueprint), which includes a Focus Area on Economic Inclusion. A range of actions on inclusion have already taken place, including studies commissioned to identify economic disparity on a geographic and demographic basis and grassroots focus groups convened to determine the needs of local entrepreneurs. Long Beach has also launched the “Everyone In” Initiative – a roundtable of experts that delves into best practices and policy solutions to foment broad-based economic opportunity. Various collaborations with California State University, Long Beach and the Los Angeles Local Initiatives Support Corporation are also underway, adding further momentum to this groundbreaking initiative.
The leadership behind the initiative, the Long Beach Economic Development Department (Department), also represents a novel approach. Normally tasked with managing city property and attracting business, especially Fortune 500 companies, the Department’s expanded focus reflects the City’s conviction that the untapped economic energy of its aspiring minority and women entrepreneurs represents its greatest potential for growth. As a city at the forefront of demographic changes reshaping the country, Long Beach recognizes that its economic fate depends on how it responds to those changes. To support this work, the Department will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive-level fellow for one year who will create a strategic action plan, identify community-based partners and potential funding sources, supervise the implementation of initial projects, and plan a strategy for their viability going forward. With the successful development and implementation of an economic inclusion strategy, Long Beach has the chance to become a model for other cities in the nation.
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 fellowship, 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 the FUSE Fellow will conduct an overview of existing studies, reports and data collected through stakeholder convenings. The fellow will meet with stakeholders to understand their perspectives on opportunities and challenges, review efforts to date and develop a list of shared priorities and prospective policy solutions. Given the research and analysis already accomplished by stakeholders on this project and the strong foundation of community support behind it, the fellow’s primary mission will be to move the efforts forward to the next step: development of a strategic action plan and the implementation of projects. To that end, the fellow will guide stakeholders and partners through the decision-making process to determine the most feasible projects and related goals, identify potential funding sources, then create a clear roadmap of actions to reach them.
The fellow’s success in this endeavor will be evaluated based on several factors. It will be necessary to engender a sense of stakeholder participation in crafting the final roadmap and inspire a feeling of unity behind it. With a strong background in financial services and project management, the fellow should effectively organize project plans, partnerships and funding sources, get initial projects up and running, and ensure the projects are on sustainable footing to continue operating successfully after the year is completed. The implementation phase will encompass the majority of the fellowship year in order to achieve concrete economic gains in the targeted communities.
Working collaboratively with stakeholders and partners to demonstrate the value of economic inclusion as an economic development approach, the fellow will guide the Department’s realization of this core goal within its Blueprint.
- Conduct a landscape assessment: Get up to speed quickly on the Blueprint and related reports, including studies and policy recommendations already developed by stakeholders. Assess the efficacy and impact of current strategies and identify gaps and opportunities to fill those gaps, particularly with regard to specific programs and resources that are out of reach for low-income communities. Research the practices of other cities similar to Long Beach who have developed effective partnerships and programming around these goals.
- Engage and align stakeholders around goals: Meet and establish regular lines of communication with stakeholders, including City department staff members, high-level officials, representatives from business, community organizations and nonprofits, leaders from educational institutions, and others. Ensure all concerns and perspectives are heard and appropriately incorporated into plans. Acting as facilitator, guide the decision-making process to achieve broad support around the projects deemed best-suited to achieving common goals.
- Prioritize common goals and create an implementation plan: Determine shared goals, prioritize those goals based on their potential impact and analyze proposed solutions. Create a strategic implementation plan, mapping out a step-by-step strategy for the initial phase of the initiative, including partners and funding sources. Assist with the development and approval of project charters and partnership agreements for the implementation of selected programs.
- Implement initial phase of development program and sustainability strategy: Oversee the implementation of the first projects identified as priorities. Assign specific roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders and define the timelines for achieving those goals. Oversee the plan to ensure all partners are involved in implementation. Develop and implement specific ways to measure progress and outcomes. Monitor the projects closely, troubleshooting as needed to ensure success, and working to sustain the services offered and expand them in the future.
- John Keisler, Director, Long Beach Economic Development Department
- Wade E. Martin, Director, Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at California State University, Long Beach
- Tunua Thrash-Ntuk, Executive Director, Los Angeles Local Initiatives Support Corporation
- At least 15 years of professional experience in a relevant field, particularly with a strong background in financial services and project management. Familiarity with the Community Reinvestment Act and the regulatory environment involving financial institutions and community investment is preferred.
- Superior critical thinking and analytical 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.
- Project management skills with an emphasis on translating strategic goals into concrete, actionable projects and achieving the necessary funding to make those projects a reality.
- Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with an ease in public presentations.
- Understands the necessity of economic inclusion and equity to help build wealth in low-income communities.
- Experience developing performance measures for the analysis, tracking, evaluation, and reporting of program effectiveness.
- Experience working with financial information for the purpose of developing business plans and/or program budgets.
- Ability to work with program partners and legal counsel to negotiate and draft project charters, memorandum of understanding, and/or partnership agreements between agencies for the delivery of programs or services.
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.