Student Fellowship

Engage Pomona!

Project Area:

Civic Engagement


Pomona, California

Reporting to:

Development Services Director

The Challenge

Pomona’s leaders are prioritizing city government’s community engagement, emphasizing accountability to residents who may have been historically marginalized due to their socio-economic status, language access, inadequate broadband capabilities, and broader technology access. To hear from more of their constituency, city officials aim to target residents that face barriers to having their opinion counted, voices heard, and issues addressed. For example, according to the 2020 Census, 70% of Pomona residents identify as Latino, and 48% reported Spanish as their primary language at home. Of those, 16% speak English with limited fluency. City officials want to ensure that they reach out to these residents in their preferred language. 

City officials also aim to increase residents’ awareness of city services and improve resident-city communications. The city has funded $200,000 to create a public-private organization called Pomona Connect to focus on grassroots community outreach. While this initiative emerged during the pandemic to disseminate information and for contact tracing, the city seeks to develop it into a broader initiative to expand its outreach to a more diverse pool of voices. City leadership has made several additional quality of life focused investments, including in affordable housing development and the creation of Pomona Vision 2030 to improve access to education, health care, job opportunities, housing, etc. However, collaboration and information sharing have been a challenge and have impeded awareness.  

The fellow working alongside Pomona officials will help answer these key questions: 

  • How can the city include community members that have historically been excluded?
  • What are the best strategies for community outreach and engagement? 
  • How can the city both solicit feedback and disseminate information? 
  • What are the constraints in the city’s existing operations?
  • How might the city measure the success of its community engagement efforts?

City leadership is now looking to create a community outreach and community-based social marketing plan to guide meaningful and robust community outreach. This would include a mechanism to interact formally with Pomona Connect, other community initiatives, and groups that are interested in working with the city. It also would include a system to track engagement success.

What You’ll Do

The fellow will:

  • Identify and map key community engagement stakeholders; interview stakeholders including Pomona Connect, social media outreach personnel within city government, community members from the Downtown Pomona Owners Association, Latino/a Roundtable, African American Advisory Alliance, NAACP – Pomona Valley Chapter, Pomona Economic Opportunity Center, and other grassroots community organizing groups to assess how best the city might collaborate with them on information sharing and outreach efforts.
  • Evaluate the existing physical and social media outreach done by the city and opportunities for improvement; identify demographic and other access constraints such as language, digital access, etc. that residents face in communicating with, providing feedback to, and receiving city information.
  • Research promising practices deployed by other cities and develop an outreach framework with analysis and recommendations of outreach methods best suited for Pomona.
  • Help craft a mission statement and goals for outreach throughout the organization and outline the importance of a community outreach plan for the city.
  • Develop a quantitative framework for ongoing evaluation and potential success metrics.

Related deliverables to be defined in concert with the fellow would likely include the following: a final report outlining a mission statement, goals, and framework for resident outreach, analysis of city’s current outreach practices and challenges/barriers, insights from promising practices research, recommendations for community outreach and communication/marketing strategies for engagement of marginalized communities, and metrics to measure success and progress. 

What You’ll Bring

The fellow will be expected to possess the following skills and experience:

  • Qualitative interviewing and analysis
  • Marketing 
  • Policy analysis
  • Design thinking
  • Writing and editing 
  • Language fluency: Spanish
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