Communications and Community Engagement

The Director of the SomerViva Office of Immigrant Affairs (SOIA) oversees, guides, and manages the functions of SOIA to support and enhance the economic, civic, and social integration of immigrant and refugee communities in Somerville with the goal of ensuring Somerville remains a welcoming city and place of opportunity for immigrants, refugees, and existing residents alike. The Director will manage, conduct, track, and ensure access to services ranging from language access efforts including translation and interpretation support for all city services; program and service access support; civic engagement; immigration services and referrals; social service access support and referrals; leadership development; emergency communications; and other areas as noted below.

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.

In close and cooperative coordination with the Department’s Community Engagement Specialists, the Director will perform:

Program/Service Development and Management

  • Develop, manage, and support citywide language access and cultural competency policy, systems, programs, and resources including interpretation and translation services.
  • To address existing and emerging needs of Somerville immigrant and refugee residents and workers, develop, manage, and support targeted programs, policies, partnerships, services, workshops, and events in support of and in collaboration with interdepartmental and school staff and external
  • To both recognize and celebrate the contributions of Somerville immigrants and the value of cultural diversitydevelop, oversee, and conduct events, ceremonies, exhibits, programs, and leadership development.
  • To maintain and build resources, manage and support full-time staff, apply for grants and donations for SOIA programs; solicit and use volunteer services, and recruit and hire temporary, part-time staff or contract interpreters/translators as needed.
  • Closely monitor all SOIA client cases for timely follow-up, appropriate response, and effective outcomes.
  • Develop and oversee data-tracking, conduct data analysis, and prepare program reports.
  • Maintain an active and updated inventory of immigrant resources.

Conduct and Oversee Immigrant Community Outreach, Engagement, & Communications

  • Oversee, conduct, and support multi-faceted SOIA efforts to share information about City, SOIA, and immigration services, as well as opportunities for citizen engagement, and assist those who need help accessing services and materials or in being heard.
  • Oversee, support, and conduct efforts to engage immigrant residents and workers in City civic discussions and opportunities develop two-way communication channels for Somerville immigrants to the Administration and staff, and promote leadership skills and opportunities.
  • Manage immigrant-targeted emergency communications planning, systems, and operations in collaboration with other emergency operations staff.
  • Oversee, support, and conduct English, first-language, and plain-language general communications and information distribution through traditional, community, and innovative channels in collaboration with Communications and other City departments.
    • Prepare oral and written communications for the community including emergency and community alerts, website content, fliers, press releases, social media, brochures, newsletter, emails, and radio and video content.
    • Develop press contacts at first-language news sources (radio, print, local cable, etc.) and write/translate and distribute press releases, make radio/TV appearances.
    • Develop nonprofit, advocate, stakeholder, and communities of faith information sharing networks and resident/worker contacts to support word-of-mouth communications.
    • Find innovative communications solutions whether high- or low-tech to make sure information reaches all segments of the Somerville community.

Advocacy and Collaboration

  • Monitor immigration policy impacts and support and coordinate immediate responses with the Administration and internal and external stakeholders.
  • Provide staff and policy support to any designated municipal entities (such as a potential Immigrant and Refugee Commission) or immigrant policy/action coalitions of which the City is a member (such as the Sanctuary City Steering Committee).
  • Actively build long-term relationships with stakeholders and the larger community.
  • Work with policymakers, the Mayor, and the City Council to develop and support City policies, programs and legislation that enhances the lives of immigrants and refugees.
  • Support racial justice initiatives for equity and access.
  • Support the City's membership and activities with local, regional and national networks, collaborations and organizations.

Education and Experience

Bachelor’s degree in Human Services, International Relations, Political Science, Law, Public Administration, or related field, and a minimum of five (5) years of experience working in immigration or refugee programs or policy development and three-to-five (3-5) years of supervisory experience, preferably in the immigration/refugee service field; 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. Experience with government agencies preferred. Written and oral fluency in both English and a second language relevant to the Somerville community required (Spanish, Portuguese, Kreyol, Nepali, Chinese, etc.).

Knowledge, Abilities and Skill

Knowledge: Knowledge of and demonstrated ability in the areas of inclusive engagement; client management; immigration services, policies, and issues; immigration law; language access policy; citizenship services. Knowledge and empathy for immigrant and refugee experiences.

Abilities: Ability to meet with and serve diverse members of the public effectively and appropriately; handle problems and emergencies effectively; communicate clearly and to the highest standards, both orally and in writing, in both English and a relevant second language; operate a computer and use word processing, spreadsheet, social media, and other relevant software; ability to maintain confidential information; ability to maintain, manage, and organize records; ability to deal appropriately with City employees and elected officials; ability to juggle multiple assignments and to meet deadlines. Ability to supervise employees effectively while maintaining an open and collaborative team environment that allows staff cultural knowledge and insights to help shape strategy. Ability to represent and make presentations on behalf of the program to elected officials, community leaders, residents, business, media, and faith organizations.

Skill:  Demonstrated ability to develop, implement, and manage projects; manage staff and support exceptional outcomes; creatively problem solve; translate and interpret into/from a relevant language; analyze and create reports on policy and program impacts; collaborate with deep respect with a wide range of organizations, staff, and stakeholders; build effective collaborative relationships both internally and externally.

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 may be required to work beyond normal business hours in response to attend evening meetings or complete work assignments.

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: Few 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. May also be some occasional lifting of objects such as office equipment and computer paper (up to 30 lbs.)

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

Application Procedure: 

This position will remain open until filled and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Send your resume and cover letter to:

City Hall Personnel Office
93 Highland Avenue
Somerville MA 02143
Fax: 617-666-4426
TTY: 1-866-808-4851
Email: [email protected]

City of Somerville residents are especially encouraged to apply.

The City of Somerville is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, disability or any other protected category. Women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Auxiliary aids and services, written materials in alternative formats, and reasonable modifications in policies and procedures will be provided to qualified individuals with disabilities free of charge, upon request.

Individuals with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication, written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures, in order to access the programs and activities of the City of Somerville or to attend meetings, should contact Nancy Bacci at 617-625-6600 x2250 or [email protected].

Full Time
$104,040 annual plus benefits
Application Start Date: 
Thursday, April 29, 2021