Student Fellowship

Increasing Engagement with Young Adults and Persons of Color in Scottsdale

Project Area:

Civic Engagement


Scottsdale, Arizona

Reporting to:

Assistant City Manager

The Challenge

The Mayor and City Council of Scottsdale support and value diversity and inclusiveness and are committed to anti-discrimination and fair treatment of residents, visitors, and employees in the Scottsdale community. As a reflection of this, in the first 100 days of the current term, they passed an Anti-Discrimination Ordinance. The ordinance provides a clear and comprehensive mandate to prevent discrimination in employment, housing, places of public accommodation, city services, programs, and activities. The ordinance also provides a mechanism for responding to complaints, and violators are subject to civil prosecution. 

The City of Scottsdale also participates in the National Community Survey, a benchmarking survey that provides a comprehensive picture of livability and resident perspectives about local government services, policies, and management. Scottsdale joins hundreds of U.S. communities in this national survey. The most recent survey results from the winter of 2020 showed significant differences in responses to several diversity-related questions between respondents who identified as “White” and respondents who identified as “Hispanics and/or Other Race.” Additionally, significant differences were noted by age and gender. City officials want to better understand what might be driving these findings. 

Ensuring that all residents, including young adults and persons of color, find Scottsdale to be a desirable place to live is important to the Mayor and City Council’s commitment outlined in the Anti-Discrimination Ordinance. Approximately 21 percent of Scottsdale’s population are persons of color, and this group grew by 47 percent to more than 50,000 residents over the past 10 years. In addition, 23 percent of the population of Scottsdale is between 18–34 years of age (young adults). In a city that is becoming increasingly diverse, Scottsdale city officials aim to be proactive to ensure that Scottsdale is truly a place for all residents, consistent with the campaign #ScottsdaleForAll. 

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

  • What might be driving the significant differences between young adults and persons of color and the general population in responses to “diversity and inclusion” questions in the survey (questions related to law enforcement treating residents fairly, sense of community, opportunities to participate in community matters, treating residents with respect, openness and acceptance of diverse backgrounds and treating residents fairly)?
  • How might the city approach and understand these differences?
  • How should the city address these differences?

By understanding these findings, city hall aims to increase the effectiveness of its current initiatives and activities, formulate new strategies, and introduce systemic changes that will lead to significant improvements and be reflected in the city’s survey ratings on diversity and inclusion issues.

What You’ll Do

The fellow will:

  • Review the community survey results.
  • Evaluate best practices for community engagement with young adults and communities of color.
  • Develop an engagement and outreach plan.
  • Implement the plan, including conducting focus groups with residents and other groups, such as communities of color around the Paiute Neighborhood Center and Vista del Camino and community diversity partners at the East Valley NAACP, among others, to develop a deeper understanding of the issues. The fellow will also interact with appointed members of the Human Relations Commission.
  • Write a report that outlines the findings from the focus group conversations and includes recommendations on how the city can improve relationships with and increase engagement with young adults and persons of color through changes in policies, programs, or services.
  • Present findings to the Mayor and City Council, Human Relations Commission, and city staff.

Related deliverables to be defined in concert with the fellow would likely include the following: Key learnings from community survey results and focus groups; summary of insights from best practices and recommendations for community engagement; an engagement and outreach plan; and a final report and presentation of findings and recommendations.

What You’ll Bring

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

  • Data analysis 
  • Qualitative interviewing and analysis
  • Marketing
  • Policy analysis 
  • Writing and editing 
  • Spanish language skills strongly preferred
  • Professional interest in diversity, equity, and inclusion
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