Digital exclusion increases gaps in racial wealth, income, and employment. The City of Los Angeles aims to close those gaps by improving digital equity across all neighborhoods and communities. The FUSE Executive Fellow will develop a strategic plan to advance digital inclusion and equity. In addition, they will implement surveys and community engagement to ensure the plan aligns with residents’ needs and experiences.
Fellowship Dates: April 22, 2024 – April 21, 2025
Executive Fellows are FUSE employees and receive an annual base salary of $80,000. Fellows can also access various health, dental, and vision insurance benefits. Compensation for this year of public service is not intended to represent market-rate compensation for the experienced professionals in our program.
ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP
FUSE 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.
In its SmartLA 2028 Smart City Strategy, the City of Los Angeles shares a vision of a future in which all Angelenos can pursue opportunities, resources, transportation, and public safety services through accessible, easy-to-use technology. In addition to creating economic opportunity, promoting sustainable transportation, and increasing the uptake of public services, technology will help locals and visitors take full advantage of the 2026 World Cup and 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Digital inclusion will be critical to achieving the SmartLA 2028 vision. According to the most recent Census data, 5.7% of Los Angeles households do not have a computer, and 11.3% do not have internet access. Those rates increase significantly for Black, Latino, and low-income households. This has far-reaching implications, as a recent McKinsey report notes that digital inequality exacerbates racial income and wealth gaps.
The Mayor’s Office of Finance, Operations & Innovation partners with the City, Los Angeles County, state and federal governments, non-profit organizations, and the private sector to address disparities. A FUSE Executive Fellow is currently collaborating with the Los Angeles Public Library to create an asset map, which will enable Angelenos to locate and engage in digital accessibility programs more effectively. Additionally, an Executive Fellow at the Bureau of Street Lighting provides crucial support in business, budget, and organizational planning to aid in developing inclusive broadband infrastructure.
While these efforts are beneficial, they have revealed a need for a more coordinated strategic plan for digital inclusion. Where SmartLA 2028 sets the vision, the strategic plan will capture more granular detail, data, and community engagement on how the various stakeholders should advance digital equity and inclusion to achieve that vision.
The City of Los Angeles will partner with FUSE to craft a digital inclusion strategic plan. The FUSE Executive Fellow will collaborate with stakeholders to develop the plan, create a recurring survey to re-evaluate residents’ pain points, and conduct community engagement to ensure the strategy is informed by residents’ input. As a result of this work, all Angelenos will be equipped to pursue digital opportunities, regardless of their background, neighborhood, or income level.
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 2024, the Executive Fellow will forge relationships with key stakeholders, including current Executive Fellows; City of Los Angeles departments and agencies (e.g., Public Library, Bureau of Street Lighting, Department of Aging, Community Investment for Families Department); County, state, and federal governments; community organizations working on digital inclusion (e.g., YMCA, Everyone On, Brotherhood Crusade); and members of the public. The Executive Fellow will gain an understanding of the scope and scale of the City’s digital equity work (including infrastructure, access points, and digital assets). The Executive Fellow will also conduct extensive desk research to understand best practices to promote digital equity in large, diverse cities like Los Angeles.
Next, the Executive Fellow will develop a digital inclusion strategic plan. This plan should be a practical guide to the City’s digital inclusion work going forward, including data collection and analysis, stakeholder mapping, community outreach (e.g., events to enroll Angelenos in low-cost internet), and stakeholder relationship management (especially with Los Angeles County government) as the plan advances. In addition, the plan should eliminate silos between organizations and identify opportunities for more effective collaboration.
At the same time, the Executive Fellow will develop a community survey for the City to use regularly (i.e., every 2-4 years) to update the strategy. This survey should allow residents who are excluded or at risk for digital exclusion to inform the City’s work and provide critical data for future projects.
Finally, the Executive Fellow will conduct extensive community engagement to verify the strategy’s conclusions and recommendations. The strategy will only be effective if it addresses the needs and aspirations of residents who are excluded or at risk of exclusion from digital platforms. Community engagement and ground truthing can help ensure the plan reflects residents’ lived reality rather than a siloed analysis.
By April 2025, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:
- Conduct a listening tour – Build relationships with stakeholders in the City’s digital equity work to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that will shape the approach to this work. Conduct a best practices literature review.
- Develop a Strategic Plan – Write a strategy that maps out a practical approach to advancing digital inclusion with City, County, state, federal, non-profit, and private sector stakeholders.
- Design a Community Input Survey – Craft an evergreen survey for regular use that allows community members to provide input on their needs and aspirations related to digital inclusion.
- Conduct Community Engagement – Ground truth the strategic plan with Los Angeles residents who are excluded or at risk for exclusion from digital platforms.
- Executive Sponsor – Matt Hale, Deputy Mayor; Mayor’s Office of Finance, Operations & Innovation
- Project Supervisor – Dawn Comer, Executive Officer & Senior Director of Digital Inclusion & Innovation; Mayor’s Office of Finance, Operations & Innovation
In addition to the qualifications listed below, a community engagement and relationship management background is strongly preferred for this project.
- 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 verbally and in writing and excels in active listening and conversing.
- Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision-making.
- Establishes and maintains strong relationships with diverse stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, particularly 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 is an equal opportunity employer with diversity, equity, and inclusion core values. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.