student opportunities


2019 Fellowship Project Descriptions

Applications for 2019 fellowships closed on Monday, February 11 at 10 a.m. EST.


Albany, NY

City Focus: Data and Evidence

Project: Blight Remediation

Reporting to: Deputy Commissioner of Administrative Services

Over the past several years, the city of Albany has aggressively tried to tackle the issue of blight and vacant buildings. The “Breathing Lights” project in 2016 placed pulsing light panels in the windows of vacant buildings across the Capital Region in an effort to spark conversations about the issues of vacancy and blight. A 2017 inventory of vacant buildings conducted by the city identified 1,044 buildings across the city that were vacant and abandoned. Out of the 1,044 vacant buildings that were identified in the updated inventory, over half of those buildings were located in only five of the city’s neighborhoods: Arbor Hill, West Hill, West End, Sheridan Hollow, and the South End. These neighborhoods also struggle with poverty, higher crime rates, higher rates of fires, lower rates of home ownership, and a lack of individuals with college degrees. These neighborhoods were the subject of redlining by the federal government starting in the 1920s and 1930s until the practice was banned. One such neighborhood, the South End, has been designated by the New York State Preservation League as one of “seven places to save” due to the disinvestment in that neighborhood.

The city of Albany responded by creating a Vacant Building Rehab Program, that awarded $50,000 in gap financing to 20 vacant building rehabilitation projects, and hiring a neighborhood stabilization coordinator to further to lead the fight against blight. In 2018, the city changed the zoning codes, updated its vacant building registry, and continued to engage state and local partners to address an issue that has deep historic and racial roots. The city is also in the midst of multiple innovation projects to address code enforcement, blight, and substandard housing.

Despite these efforts, the city still does not entirely understand the social components underlying blight in Albany. A summer fellow is needed to design a set of surveys and interview protocols that will allow the city to learn from local landlords and tenants about the community-specific challenges that lead to vacancy and substandard housing. The goal is for the city to identify barriers faced by low-income tenants and their landlords, so that the city can prepare a better response to this challenge. Additionally, the fellow will have an opportunity to join an internal innovation team in the designing of interventions to address neighborhood blight. Working with the members of this team, the summer fellow will iterate on prototypes and help the team prepare a pitch for a competitive grant application to fund the implementation of this solution.

In a final presentation to the mayor, the fellow will share a report that pinpoints the local factors that contribute to blight across various communities and segments of residents. The fellow will also share evidence-based recommendations to mitigate the challenges faced by tenants and landlords.

Ideal candidates have prior experience with and interest qualitative and quantitative research, organizing in-person outreach within low-income communities, and navigating situations of poverty. 

Albuquerque, NM

City Focus: Innovation and Experimentation

Project: Localizing City Procurement Practices

Reporting to: Assistant Chief Administrative Officer

After a state report highlighted that Albuquerque’s procurement practices were disproportionately awarding contracts to out-of-state companies, the mayor sought to shift more of the city's contracts to locally-owned, minority-owned, and women-owned businesses. For example, the city shifted 20 contracts from non-local vendors to local contractors between July 2018 and September 2018, keeping an additional estimated $1 million in the city’s economy. The city also issued a new administrative instruction requiring buyers to get a quote from a local business for certain contracts, but has yet to track the effects of that instruction.

A fellow is needed to review the city's existing “Buy Local” efforts and procurement reform reports to evaluate its success in shifting contracts to local, minority, and women-owned businesses. The administration strongly espouses rapid, thoughtful experimentation as a means to innovating and overcoming bureaucratic inertia. The fellow’s research should help the city identify opportunities for experimenting beyond its existing procurement practices, and should compare Albuquerque’s efforts to similarly situated cities that have successfully increased local spending in their context. The fellow will also engage with locally-owned businesses to identify barriers that prohibit local vendors from working with the city. Following the interviews, the fellow will research and recommend between one and three small-scale, short-term, low-cost, measurable changes that the city can test to address those barriers. The fellow will lead the implementation of at least one of those interventions during the fellowship. Finally, the fellow will transform the city’s existing local spending dashboard to a more user-friendly and comprehensive tracking system for the city's local spending.

At the end of the fellowship, the fellow will make a presentation to the mayor, chief administrative officer, and project team on the barriers identified within Albuquerque, the recommended interventions, and the findings of the experimental intervention they implemented. The fellow will also highlight the functionality of the revised dashboard.

Ideal candidates have prior experience with and interest in data analysis, basic research, interviewing, and project management. The candidate should be comfortable with Excel and proficient in or capable of learning Tableau. Exposure to government procurement is a plus.

Atlanta, GA

City Focus: Data and evidence

Project: Dashboard and data analysis of the housing market

Reporting to: Chief housing officer

Affordability and economic inclusion are perhaps the greatest challenge faced by Atlanta and other growing cities. Housing affordability is a challenge in Atlanta as both renters and homeowners become increasingly stressed and cost burdened. In Atlanta, 81 percent of renter households earning under $30,000 are spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs. Further, the poverty rate for the city of Atlanta is approximately 22.4 percent. This means that 22.4 percent of our population has an annual income of less than $23,000 and can potentially afford no more than $600/month for housing. This points to the critical nature of this problem and the need to have innovative and coordinated policy solutions to effectively and responsibly address housing affordability for our residents who are most in need. As Atlanta continues to grow and prosper, enabling longtime residents to remain in their neighborhoods and ensuring our communities are welcoming and inclusive places for all, must be a priority. One of the critical issues which further exacerbates this problem is the availability and supply of affordable housing units.

The city is in the process of formulating its strategy to address housing affordability. One of the proposed goals in the city’s action plan will be the production of 20,000 affordable units and increasing the overall supply of housing. A summer fellow is needed to help the city develop data analytic insight in measuring the city’s affordable housing need against the rate of production of affordable and market-rate units.

The desired deliverable will be a methodology, including the development of a dashboard that may be used to measure the impact of affordable housing unit production on the overall residential housing market. The tool should help the city plan for the current population, as well as future needs so that the city’s response is far reaching and can accommodate changing needs in an equitable way. The focus area will include the neighborhoods within South Atlanta, specifically along the Beltline corridor.

In a final presentation to the mayor, the fellow will communicate the current climate of affordable housing in various areas of the city (SW Atlanta, etc.), as well as in the city as a whole. The final deliverable will ultimately include a dashboard that the city will incorporate within its data reporting system.

Ideal candidates have prior experience with and interest in housing policy and city planning. Technical expertise in programming and data visualization is a plus.

Birmingham, AL

City Focus: Data and Evidence

Project: Analyzing the State of Small Businesses

Reporting to: Deputy Director for Business Diversity and Opportunity

Growing small businesses is a top priority for the mayor’s administration, as it recognizes the huge role small businesses play in creating quality jobs and healthy neighborhoods. The city seeks to create a prosperous small business community by building infrastructure that supports all entrepreneurs as they establish, grow, and pivot their companies. Unfortunately, the city lacks a clear understanding of local small businesses upon which to create a successful, data-driven plan.

In partnership with the city’s Office of Business Diversity and Opportunity and the Small Business Council, a fellow is needed to conduct place-based research to help Birmingham’s leadership understand existing small businesses and their needs. Through maps and other visualizations, the fellow will pinpoint where current small businesses are located within the city and categorize these businesses (by industry, minority-ownership, company stage, etc.) to give clarity to the ecosystem. By conducting interviews with owners of these businesses and others in the business community, the fellow will also help the city identify the supports these businesses require to achieve further growth. This analysis should help the city understand where opportunities exist to support and grow small businesses through the provision of different or strengthened resources for entrepreneurs and owners. Finally, the fellow will help the city evaluate where small business activity can positively impact community health. For example, the fellow may identify communities with formerly-thriving commercial districts, and then provide recommendations for repopulating them with these neighborhoods’ health challenges in mind (e.g. including a police substation in a high-crime area). The fellow’s findings will directly influence the design and implementation of Birmingham’s small business strategy.

In a final presentation to the mayor, the fellow will provide an overview on the current state of small businesses and issue recommendations on the top opportunities the city should leverage to support the small business community and realize the outcomes desired by the administration.

Ideal candidates have prior experience with and interest in quantitative and qualitative research skills, proficiency in a statistical/business intelligence software (e.g. Power BI, R, Stata), and mapping software (e.g. ArcGIS).

Calgary, Canada

City Focus: Cross-Boundary Collaboration

Project: Community Impact of Harm Reduction Sites

Reporting to: Chief of staff to the mayor

The city of Calgary is experiencing an increased prevalence of substance use and addiction issues, as well as higher rates of citizen complaints about crime and social disorder in their neighborhoods. As a means of addressing resident addiction, the city has been a leader in harm reduction efforts by supporting community and health services to provide citizens with a supervised consumption site and managed alcohol programs. These services have been shown to reduce illness, overdose, and crime, while increasing employment and access to services for people who use substances. However, since the supervised consumption site opened, community complaints about drug-related debris and social disorder in the neighborhood have increased.

A summer fellow will use municipal, community, and health data to help the city evaluate whether the supervised consumption site is positively improving the lives of users. Combining various municipal quantitative data sources and qualitative interviews with residents and community stakeholders, the summer fellow will also help the city gain clarity on whether there has been a greater incidence of crime and social disorder in the communities that neighbor the harm reduction site. Finally, learning from other communities, the fellow will research strategies other municipalities have taken to mitigate negative community impacts, and identify which strategies Calgary can proactively plan to adopt before opening new harm reduction sites in the city.

At the end of the fellowship, the fellow will brief the mayor on the outcomes the program users are experiencing and help him weigh the individual and community impacts of this particular site in order to inform his planning on how to support the communities that surround future harm reduction sites, as well as the current site.

Ideal candidates have prior experience with and interest in public health, social services, and program evaluation. Proficiency in GIS mapping is a plus.

Durham, NC

City Focus: Cross-Boundary Collaboration

Project: Using Data to Support Minority-Owned Businesses

Reporting to: Open Data Program Manager

Within the city of Durham, the mayor, city council, and city manager are committed to supporting minority-owned business, and have collectively named it among the highest priorities within the city. One of the strategic initiatives in the city’s five-year strategic plan focuses on strengthening the climate for minority-owned businesses to thrive in Durham. Delivering on this plan requires that the city gains a clearer understanding of the approximately 30,000 businesses within the city, and particularly the subset of those businesses that are minority-owned, so that they can develop targeted polices aimed at further growth.

A summer fellow is needed to create a publicly available and annually updated database that reflects new and existing city and state data on the current status of minority-owned businesses in the city, including location, revenue, employee size, business type, and years in existence. In partnership with the Durham Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Durham Partnership, Self-Help Credit Union, MDC, and other community organizations, the fellow will develop and administer a survey to local businesses to collect the core data around which the database will be built. The fellow will also conduct further analyses to assist the mayor and city council in developing policies that respond to the needs of these businesses. Finally, the fellow will prepare case studies to reflect best practices from peer cities to highlight approaches the city council and mayor could consider adopting to achieve the city’s overarching strategic goal of creating shared economic prosperity and greater opportunity for minority-owned businesses.

At the end of the fellowship, in a presentation to the mayor, the fellow will present the key components of the dashboard, including a profile of the types of minority-owned businesses in Durham, and recommendations for ongoing use of the dashboard. The fellow will also share the key takeaways from the case studies and recommend how Durham could be more supportive to minority-owned businesses.

Ideal candidates have prior experience with and interest in research, statistical software, survey design, and project management capabilities.

Helsinki, Finland

City Focus: Innovation and Experimentation

Project: Improving Physical Activity of Senior Citizens

Reporting to: Executive Director of Culture and Leisure

Within Europe, Finland has the fastest aging population, making physical health and well-being of citizens over 64 years old a top priority for governments. The city of Helsinki has named its physical activity program a strategic top priority as leaders are dedicated to encouraging senior residents to sit less, move more, and engage in regular activities beyond their home.

A summer fellow is needed to help the city identify interventions that can be adopted to create opportunities for senior citizens to lead more active lifestyles, by completing research on practices that have been tried in other cities across the world. Helsinki is especially interested in solutions that build peer-to-peer interactions and encourage seniors to make a contribution to their community through volunteering or part-time work. Once the fellow identifies potential solutions the city should consider, the fellow will complete field research, in the form of interviews and focus groups with residents, service providers, and local researchers, to gather qualitative data and test if, how, and where residents would be interested in using the identified solutions. Finally, for the most promising solutions, the summer fellow will help the city identify appropriate cross-sector partners and issue recommendations on how the city should plan to engage members of the business sector, including the large startup community and the health and sports sector, so that they might make investments in the creation of new programs for senior citizens.

In a final presentation to the mayor, the fellow will share the recommended interventions, along with the business sector engagement plan that will help the city deliver on the interventions in the future.

Ideal candidates have prior experience with and interest in public health, design thinking, and sensitivity for diverse groups. Fluency in multiple languages, especially Finnish, is a plus.

Lansing, MI

City Focus:  Data and Evidence

Project Name: Evaluating Youth Criminal Justice Diversion Programs

Reporting to: Director of Department of Neighborhoods and Citizen Engagement

Through the Lansing Parks and Recreation Department, Lansing Police Department, and the Department of Human Relations and Community Service, the city of Lansing provides a host of programs meant to support young people by adding structure to their out-of-school time hours. As the city of Lansing is in the beginning stages of implementing program/outcome-based budgeting, the mayor is interested in understanding the city’s multi-departmental efforts for serving young adults and the corresponding impact of these programs – especially whether these efforts help to decrease the negative interactions young adults are having with police. 

A summer fellow is needed to help the city evaluate if the implementation of interventions in certain neighborhoods have helped the city achieve its goals of reducing negative police interactions for young adults ages 16-24.  The mayor is hoping to have this data to inform replication and expansion efforts of these programs. The fellow will also outline existing services offered by community partners (Lansing School District, YMCA, etc.) in order to highlight the supports available for young adults, which will help the city develop a more cohesive strategy around its criminal justice diversion efforts. The fellow will research and recommend performance indicators and tools to inform the ways the city can uniformly measure how these programs meet Lansing’s broader public safety objectives on an ongoing basis.

The summer fellow will issue a final briefing to the mayor, presenting research and evaluation findings, highlighting the outcomes of programs, and making recommendations for further investment.

Ideal candidates have prior experience with and interest in strategic planning, policy research, and program evaluation, with a grounding in equity work and advocacy in low-income communities.

Richmond, VA

City Focus: Cross-Boundary Collaboration

Project: Equitably Expanding Transportation for Residents

Reporting to: Mayor’s Senior Policy Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff

Mayor Stoney is committed to a vision of inclusiveness and competitiveness, fueled by his conviction that a city is most competitive when it is most inclusive. Like many cities, Richmond has multiple priorities and limited resources to invest in them. A top priority is improving public transportation, given that nearly one out of five Richmond households do not have a car, almost 40 percent of households only have one car, and only 27 percent of jobs in the region are accessible by public transportation. Richmond is the 44th largest metro area in the country, but ranks 92nd in access to transit and employment.

Disjointed governance complicates any approach to improve Richmond’s public transit. Richmond lacks a dedicated department of transportation, and has yet to establish a vision for multi-modal, environmentally sustainable public transit.

A summer fellow is needed to assess Richmond’s current transportation landscape and related governance structure to identify gaps and opportunities for increased coordination, which will in turn result in realizing improved transportation options for residents. The fellow will conduct research on transportation governance models in similar size cities to inform Richmond’s approach to its governance structure. Finally, the fellow will develop a cost-benefit model to determine the impact of an increased investment in transportation on accessibility for residents.

In a final presentation to the mayor, the fellow will share the findings of the research and the cost-benefit model, including a menu of policy options for transportation governance for the mayor’s consideration.

Ideal candidates have prior experience with and/or interest in transportation policy, as well as experience with qualitative and quantitative data analysis. Eagerness to work collaboratively within a small team is a plus.

Santa Fe, NM

City Focus: Data and Evidence

Project: Modernization of City Government

Reporting to: Chief of Staff to the mayor

In the years leading up to the great recession, the city of Santa Fe saw a historic expansion of both the size of the municipal government’s operation and the array of services the city offers to its residents. An analysis from 2015 showed that the city has more employees per capita and a larger budget per capita than six regional comparison cities. Despite spending more than other cities and having a larger workforce, residents continue to report that their priority needs from city government are going unmet.

The summer fellow will work closely with the city manager and department directors to identify and develop a constituent survey to solicit feedback specific to the priorities and expectations residents have of their city government. The results of this survey will help the city identify areas where government can better focus their spending to have the greatest yield across the city. The output will be used to develop a quantitative model that helps the city make more rigorous and outcomes-based budgeting decisions in future years.

At the end of the fellowship, the fellow will make a presentation to the mayor and senior staff to share a set of data driven criteria that clearly identifies a menu of priorities for future resource allocation decisions across the city.

Ideal candidates have prior experience with and interest in survey creation, data analytics, and program evaluation.

Saskatoon, Canada

City Focus: Cross-Boundary Collaboration

Project: Strategic Communications for Bus Rapid Transit

Reporting to: Director of Saskatoon Transit and the Mayor’s Chief of Staff

The city is in the early stages of implementing a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. The BRT will create opportunities for the city to reach its goals associated with public transit, urban densification, and land use, as well as make headway towards greenhouse gas reduction. Real progress on this requires the city to meaningfully engage members of the public, especially residents in communities most affected, to build public support and secure trust by learning from strategies the city has tried in the past and what other cities have successfully tried.

Because this new plan will significantly impact how certain people take the bus, the city of Saskatoon seeks a summer fellow who will work with key stakeholders to build a framework and outline requirements for an authentic community engagement and communications plan for the city’s BRT system. The summer fellow will investigate past Saskatoon BRT engagements and public feedback on the methods and processes used, in order to predict the level of success for future engagement activities. Learning from successful community engagement projects elsewhere, the summer fellow will research and recommend appropriate, standardized best practices and tools for community engagement that might be applied to the city’s efforts. Through interviews and field visits, the fellow will identify potential neighborhoods and areas of interest or concern that will require a more focused engagement plan. 

At the end of the fellowship, the fellow will make a presentation to the mayor, city manager, and project team with recommendations to be considered in the upcoming request for proposal for a third-party agency to conduct engagement, communications, and education activities prior to the launch of the new BRT system. 

Ideal candidates have prior experience with and interest in quantitative research, performance analytics, strategic planning and program evaluation. Previous experience with group facilitation, communications strategy, and civic engagement are a plus.

Sioux Falls, SD

City Focus: Innovation and Experimentation

Project: Making Public Transportation More Effective and Financially Sustainable

Reporting to: Director of Innovation and Technology

As part of their engagement with the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, Sioux Falls has assembled a cross-departmental team to take a human-centered design approach towards making the public transportation system more effective and financially sustainable.

The city of Sioux Falls encompasses about 80 square miles. It is a low density city where a small proportion of residents have access to public transportation. Existing ridership is low.

A summer fellow is needed to manage key activities as the project team prototypes and tests potential solutions generated with public transit users and the general public, as well as other stakeholders. The fellow will perform critical functions with the project team as they structure and plan for prototype testing, document learning, and plan for next steps. Specifically, the fellow will structure and schedule tests, gather qualitative (stakeholder and citizen interviews, for example) and quantitative data, process the data, synthesize learning, and jointly strategize with the innovation team around organizing, structuring, and resourcing to implement and scale these solutions and approaches.

At the end of the fellowship, the fellow will make an executive-level presentation to the mayor to share key takeaways and recommendations.

The ideal candidate will be familiar with qualitative and quantitative data collection. They will be an organized problem solver who is comfortable with ambiguity. Design thinking or human-centered design experience are a plus, although not required. Prior project management experience is also desirable. This is an excellent opportunity for students interested in gaining experience with the application of design thinking in government.

Syracuse, NY

City Focus: Data and Evidence

Project: Smart City Design for Economic Opportunity

Reporting to: Chief Data Officer

Already a data-driven government, Syracuse is currently making a major push to becoming a smart city. Achieving this goal is central to the city’s larger goals of closing the digital divide that exists between its communities, increasing public transportation options, and ultimately closing the skills gap so all residents are prepared and able to work in a 21st-century economy.  

A summer fellow is needed to help the city develop a smart city design plan. Through interviews with community stakeholders, the fellow will first complete a community assessment to help the city learn more about key social barriers in the community and the role that improved technological investments could play in addressing those barriers and growing the city. The city wants to be a test bed for data innovation projects. The fellow will review best practices from other cities, and identify possible local and national partners for Syracuse to launch new data innovation projects that will positively impact the economic opportunity for residents. Finally, the fellow will recommend an engagement strategy that the city should adopt to move forward on these partnerships.

At the end of the fellowship, the fellow will present the findings of the community assessment to the mayor and a matrix of potential partners to inform the mayor’s decision-making on what to prioritize in developing the city’s smart city design plan.

Ideal candidates have prior experience with and interest in research, an understanding of city-wide technology projects, and an understanding of the potential and risks in smart city projects.

Tacoma, WA

City Focus: Innovation and Experimentation

Project: Measuring Police-Community Relations

Reporting to: Chief Policy Analyst to the Mayor

In the city of Tacoma, a recent public opinion survey revealed that there is great disparity in perceived level of police service and safety across the city, with black residents almost three times as likely to feel “not very safe” in Tacoma (29 percent) compared to white (10 percent) and Hispanic residents (4 percent). The city leadership is committed to responding to these perceptions, and recognizes that adding more officers alone will not address the full range of concerns being expressed by residents. Moreover, the city wants to address issues connected to trust between police and residents.

Working in partnership with the mayor’s office, the Tacoma Police Department, and various community organizations, a summer fellow is needed to research approaches other cities have taken to improve community perceptions of police and to recommend performance metrics the city can adopt to receive feedback on whether the department is equitably providing a high quality of service. Through interviews with community members, the fellow will build on and assist with managing the qualitative data gathering effort to baseline and map community perception of police service and safety and build a citizen perception dashboard that the city can use to track progress on the issue. The fellow will have the opportunity to work closely with a cross-department project team in the city that is currently developing prototypes and interventions to address residents’ trust in police service. At the end of the fellowship, the fellow will make an executive-level presentation to the mayor and city manager to share the proposed dashboard and highlight key community findings.

Ideal candidates have prior experience with and interest in quantitative and qualitative research, performance management, ArcGIS, and an interest in community engagement and equity.

Topeka, KS

City Focus: Cross-Boundary Collaboration

Project: Communicating Topeka’s Economic Growth Strategy

Reporting to: Senior Vice-President of Strategy for the Greater Topeka Partnership

The city of Topeka is at a crucial turning point. Population is decreasing as economic disparity is increasing. The lack of growth, combined with the income divide, inspired the formation of a coalition of 43 organizations from public, private, and non-profit sectors. Together, they created a comprehensive strategy that they now call Momentum 2022. This is a five-year holistic economic development strategy meant to encourage collective action for building community pride, strengthening the workforce, improving quality of public spaces, and supporting homegrown talent.

A summer fellow is needed to help the Momentum 2022 coalition communicate their strategy in a more compelling and relatable way to generate buy-in and engagement from a broader group of residents in the city. The summer fellow will evaluate the campaign’s existing communications strategy to identify how well it is reaching members of the community. Following this evaluation, the fellow will recommend segmented adjustments to the communications strategy to more effectively communicate with all citizens, especially those in vulnerable communities. To help the city continually improve on its communications strategy, the fellow will recommend a set of guiding metrics to track the effectiveness of the coalition’s communication tactics through the duration of the Momentum 2022 campaign and on future projects that require deep community engagement.

At the end of the fellowship, the summer fellow will issue a briefing to the mayor and members of the Momentum 2022 executive leadership team.

Ideal candidates have prior experience with and interest in marketing or communications.

Tulsa, OK

City Focus: Innovation and Experimentation

Project: Increasing Response Rates for 2020 Census

Reporting to: Mayor’s Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief of Performance Strategy & Innovation

On April 1, 2020, the United States Census Bureau will conduct the decennial census. The city of Tulsa faces similar challenges to many cities in ensuring response rates from populations who are traditionally undercounted, including low-income and minority communities. From 2000 to 2017, Tulsa’s Hispanic population has grown from to 28,000 to 63,500, an increase of 225 percent.  During the same period, Tulsa’s overall population grew only 2.4 percent. A significant number of Tulsa’s Hispanic population are first-generation immigrants, who are more likely to be underrepresented in census efforts. Beyond the Hispanic community, there are other communities, such Asian, immigrant, and homeless, which have also grown significantly and are at risk for being undercounted.

In July 2018, the city surveyed Tulsa’s population asking whether various institutions had a positive impact on the area where they live. Ranking highest were churches and religious institutions, followed by charities and nonprofits, and small businesses. Using this data, combined with the cross-tabulated data on race and age, we would like a summer fellow to focus on developing qualitative data that ensures our outreach efforts are carefully targeted to communities with known high non-response rates. Currently, the city of Tulsa does not have a formal model for partnering with community organizations. The 2020 census provides an immediate and critical opportunity to develop a model for community partnership that could be replicated for other government initiatives.

Tulsa’s Office of Performance Strategy and Innovation will train the summer fellow to use techniques of human-centered design, behavioral science, and low-cost evaluation to test techniques that lead people to respond to the census. The mayor’s office will collaborate with community organizations that have high levels of trust within underrepresented communities. The summer fellow will work with community partners to ensure they have the resources and effective messaging to result in a successful census campaign.

At the end of the fellowship, the summer fellow will present a successful partnership model between city government and community organizations.

Ideal candidates will be bilingual/multilingual and have experience working with community organizations, experience in developing and testing messaging strategies, and interest in using behaviorally-informed approaches.

West Midlands, UK

City Focus: Cross-Boundary Collaboration 

Project: Evaluating Youth Employment Programs 

Reporting to: Director of Productivity for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) 

Youth unemployment is perhaps one of the greatest challenges facing the West Midlands. Described by the mayor as a ‘wicked problem’, the numbers of young unemployed people have remained consistent at around 14,000 since 2015. Most concerning is that this number is set in the context of a period of strong economic growth for the region, where it has outperformed all other regions outside of London in job creation and foreign direct investment. It is a mayoral commitment to drive a change in the numbers, but most importantly, to change a situation that is very damaging in the near term for the affected young people and in the long term for both the young people and the region.  

There has been significant investment from national and local government to create programs that address the issue. The region is in the process of formulating its cross-organization strategy to address youth employment. The strategy will focus not only on giving youth employability skills, but also giving them the ability to retain employment, as that is currently an issue for many young people.  

A summer fellow is needed to help the city develop data analytic insight through a critical program evaluation that measures the outcomes of the new programs implemented by the cross-organization collaboration team. The fellow will measure if programmatic changes to trainings and support services are having an impact on the likelihood that young people enter the workforce and sustain employment. The fellow will work with the team to develop any new recommendations to adapt the program to better meet need.   

In a final presentation to the mayor and the cross-organization collaboration team, the summer fellow will share the methodology and findings of this evaluation. 

Ideal candidates have prior experience in employment initiatives and program evaluation. Technical expertise in data analytics is a plus.