Company: City of Somerville

Job description:

The Digital Bridge Initiative (DBI) Project Specialist will be responsible for coordinating the City’s efforts to address the digital divide in Somerville, which disproportionately impacts lower income, marginalized, and vulnerable populations, cutting them off from vital information, as well as educational, job, health, and other opportunities to advance life quality and interact with local government. This is a temporary two-year grant funded position with benefits.

  • The DBI Project Specialist will coordinate, facilitate, and support a range of efforts in information and data gathering, tactical and strategic planning, project piloting, policy research and development, all designed to overcome barriers to Internet access including device and service access.
  • The DBI Project Specialist will seek opportunities to synergize efforts as well as technical support and skills development. Working across City departments and in collaboration with the Somerville School District where similar or adjacent work is being done.
  • The DBI Project Specialist will assess existing programs and identify areas for expansion; develop and conduct community and stakeholder outreach; plan and coordinate community events and support services; work collaboratively with staff to set and meet DBI goals; recruit and manage DBI vendors, volunteers, and/or paid support teams; promote Internet access resources directly to the public and also via referrals; develop a referral network with partners; and carry out other associated activities.
  • The DBI Project Specialist reports to the Strategic Planning and Equity Manager within the Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development and will coordinate closely with the Directors and staff of the Office of Racial and Social Justice (RSJ), the Economic Development Division, the Office of Communications and Community Engagement, Somerville Public Schools, SCALE, the Somerville Public Libraries, and the Information Technology (IT) Department.

Essential Functions:

The essential functions or duties listed below are intended only as illustrations of the various type of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment to the position.

  • Data and Information Gathering – Gather existing data and information; establish any needed efforts to acquire new data and information via surveys, collaborative intake efforts with community partners and City departments; and review related regional and national research to gain the clearest updated baseline picture of need and root causes of Internet access barriers in Somerville and establish progress measures going forward.
  • Tactical & Strategic Intervention Coordination – Based on both the recommendations found in the 2019 Somerville Internet Access Task Force Recommendations for Expanding Internet Access and Net Neutrality report, as well as through informed outreach and data gathering, the DBI Coordinator will manage and oversee the quick implementation of pilot DBI efforts to test tactical interventions to address access barriers. Leverage existing resources and the work of area non-profits such as, Library, and partner Internet access services and technology education, or existing free Wi-Fi hotspots and Wi-Fi center programs. Develop and inject new resources, tools, and solutions. Efforts could range from community/public Wi-Fi, mesh networks, increase of library tech device lending inventory, and technical support and technology education, to expansion of existing Library and City programs designed to enhance Internet access and skill development.
  • Policy development – Collaborate with other departments and community partners on policy initiatives supporting innovative and structural solutions to Internet access, for example, collaborate with the Planning Division to explore options to link Internet service to affordable housing creation. Collaborate with IT and Infrastructure and Asset Management to develop dig-once policies for conduit creation. Support the IT Department’s conduit inventory efforts. Monitor opportunities to participate in or pursue related local or State legislation or regional solutions under the guidance of Intergovernmental Affairs staff.
  • Social service integration – Collaborate with frontline City staff, including HHS and SPS staff and community partners working with low-income, elderly, immigrant, or other under-connected community members to develop intake and referral protocols to both track data and to identify under-connected residents and refer them to resources or support in accessing Internet support programs and technology education. Cultivate relationships with national and local organizations and industry groups to disseminate targeted content and messages to key audiences.
  • Volunteer/Student Tech Support Team coordination – Either directly or with community partners, work to recruit, coordinate, and mobilize volunteer and/or paid student and/or community tech teams to provide tech support and trouble-shooting for under-connected residents or to assist under-connected residents in accessing additional programs.
  • Community outreach and engagement– Increase awareness of DBI resources and related supports and programs among Somerville community members by conducting multi-faceted, culturally responsive, creative, and multilingual outreach to under-connected community members in collaboration with City staff, including HHS and SPS staff and partners. Develop all needed in-person outreach plans, written/printed, video, radio, spoken, presentation-based, digital, and other informational materials collaborating with other staff such as Communications, RSJ, CityTV, and the SomerViva Office of Immigrant Affairs. Outreach to varied constituencies for participation in Digital Bridge webinars, conferences, and other events.
  • Documentation and reporting Document, track, and report on DBI goals and task completion. Deliver yearly report documenting efforts, progress, and recommended next steps.
  • Grant seeking and budgeting– Monitor for outside funding opportunities and work with the Grants Office to apply for any relevant grant funding or community opportunities. Develop and manage program and project budgets for identified initiatives. As recommended in the IATF Report, explore creation of a Digital Equity Fund.
  • Other relevant duties as assigned. 

Recommended Minimum Qualifications:

Education and Experience: Bachelor’s Degree and at least three (5) years of project management experience, human services, communication, business, program development, public administration, nonprofit communications, policy and advocacy; or any equivalent combination of education, training, and experience that provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the essential functions of the job, including content expertise, and thought leadership. Applications demonstrating lived experience with proper knowledge of project management and community engagement in lieu of education are strongly preferred.

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Multilingual skills in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian-Creole, or any other language is highly desirable but not required
  • Master Degree in Project Management or an applicable field.
  • Project Management Profession (PMP) certification highly desirable but not required.

Knowledge, Abilities and Skill:

  • Knowledge: Must have knowledge of digital divide challenges and solutions; understanding of and commitment to inclusive community outreach and engagement; experience in multi-lingual and multicultural environments; understanding of marginalized and vulnerable populations; mastery of project management best practices; understanding of case management in-take processes.
  • Abilities: Must be a self-starter with superior time management, organizational skills, and attention to detail with a proven record for creative problem solving and successful project deployment. Ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing with government and commercial agencies/entities, community leaders, elected officials, business owners, supervisors, employees, and a diverse general public. Candidate should be comfortable facilitating public meetings or workshops/info sessions, presenting information, answering questions, and coordinating participation of volunteer and paid staff. Must have ability to inspire and manage volunteers or interns effectively.
  • Skills: Must have strong written and verbal communication skills adaptable to a variety of settings and exemplary organizational skills. Must have strong analytical, research, and planning skills. Budget management and development experience preferred. Must be able to balance multiple projects and tasks.

Work Environment:

The work environment involves everyday discomforts typical of offices, with occasional exposure to outside elements. Noise or physical surroundings may be distracting, but conditions are generally not unpleasant. Employee schedule may include evening and weekend hours and adjust to meet peak count period demands. Current work is performed following the hybrid model of both remote and onsite work, and this will adapt to the changing conditions of the pandemic.

Physical and Mental Requirements:
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the position’s essential functions.

Physical Skills 
Minimal physical demands are required to perform the work. Work effort principally involves sitting to perform work tasks, with intermittent periods of stooping, walking, and standing. Work requires some agility such as moving in or about construction sites or over rough terrain. There may also be some occasional lifting of objects such as office equipment or photocopy paper (up to 30lbs.). When in the field, more physical skill may be required to accomplish the duties required.

Motor Skills 
Duties are largely mental rather than physical, but the job may occasionally require minimal motor skills for activities such as moving objects, operating a telephone, personal computer and/or most other office equipment including word processing, filing and sorting of papers.

Visual Processing Skills 
Visual demands require constantly reading documents for general understanding and analytical purposes.

Hours: Full-Time
Union: Non-Union

Job type: Full Time

Fully remote: No

Salary range: $81,182.42 annualized + benefits

Location: Somerville Massachusetts


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