Senior Public Outreach Officer

  • San Diego Association of Governments - SANDAG
  • 401 B Street, San Diego, CA, United States
Full Time Communications

Job Description

Overview of the Communications Department

With public outreach and education as the foundation of their work, the Communications Department is focused on developing and implementing strategic communication and marketing plans to support a variety of projects in accordance with state and federal public participation requirements. Through close collaboration and coordination with internal project managers, outside stakeholders, and member agencies, the team provides professional expertise for all public involvement and outreach, marketing, promotions, publicity, and media efforts to build awareness and gain support for the agency’s programs and projects including regional highway, transit, and active transportation system investments, the design and implementation of capital projects, long-range regional planning, environmental management, toll road operations and traffic-reduction initiatives, and inter-governmental coordination.

Senior Public Outreach Officer Role

The Senior Public Outreach Officer will coordinate communication strategies that promote SANDAG projects and ensure a strong, positive identity among all audiences. This work includes managing multiple concurrent projects, developing and implementing outreach and communication plans, responding to requests for information, developing news stories for mass media, assisting with marketing efforts, and contributing to a variety of internal and external publications.

This is a Limited-Term employment opportunity and is expected to be funded through December 2020 Limited-Term employees are considered to be “at-will” and receive many of the benefits of Regular employees.

Job Responsibilities

This opportunity is ideal for an experienced communications professional with an interest in furthering their expertise in public outreach programs for large-scale capital development projects. We anticipate significant career development will occur while working on the types of duties and responsibilities described below and through mentoring and close collaboration with senior staff. Examples of primary responsibilities include:

  • Provide public outreach and communication efforts during the planning and construction phases of the North Coast Corridor and the LOSSAN construction projects (LOSSAN is the coastal rail corridor that runs from San Luis Obispo through Los Angeles to San Diego).
  • Develop, prepare, implement, and coordinate a diverse range of communication, public information, and community outreach plans, programs, services, and activities; collaborate with key stakeholders such as local, state, and federal agencies, local jurisdictions, project partners, consultants, contractors, operating agencies, and vendors to ensure effective project delivery.
  • Collaborate with Corridor Directors, project managers, and employees to develop and promote significant project milestones.
  • Provide project management and coordination support for consultants and contractors in connection with various projects; prepare project plans, and identify deliverables, resources, and activities; estimate time and cost for project activities; provide schedule, budget, and scope of work; ensure work products are completed at a consistent high quality level.
  • Participate in the preparation of contracts and task orders for consultant services; coordinate, administer, and manage consultants to ensure the delivery, quality, and timeliness of products and services.
  • Prepare and present written, oral, and visual reports and recommendations to the Board of Directors, policy and stakeholder committees, member agencies, community groups, private organizations, and members of the public.
  • Develop in-depth knowledge of the Keep San Diego Moving (KSDM) website and identify project updates to the website, coordinate with Corridor Directors and project managers to develop new content.
  • Participate in the planning and implementation of a variety of media, promotional, and special events including groundbreaking and ribbon cutting ceremonies, public workshops, and outreach events; develop strategic media outreach programs to secure news coverage for projects.
  • Provide technical writing for web pages, newsletters, news releases, fact sheets, social media, advertorials, opinion pieces, and other collateral materials; write speaking points and assist in preparing Board members for media interviews, public presentations, and other events.

Experience and Qualifications

Numerous factors contribute to an individual’s ability to be successful in any given role. For this position, we are searching for an articulate, outgoing, and conscientious candidate experienced in all aspects of public communication and outreach programs, event coordination, marketing, and customer service. Superior project management, writing, and public speaking skills, strong organizational and decision-making capabilities, and the ability to exercise discretion, judgment, and diplomacy when working with clients and staff are key characteristics.

The minimum education, training, and experience qualifications include a bachelor’s degree with major coursework in journalism, communications, marketing, planning, or a related field, and five years of recent career experience in a communication, public information, or public outreach environment, preferably supporting regional planning and/or capital improvement projects. Some lead or supervisory experience is required.

The following information describes the specific types of career experiences that are most relevant to this position.

  • Demonstrated experience developing, implementing, and coordinating proactive and effective community involvement and public outreach programs and activities; knowledge of the federal public participation plan requirements and related strategies.
  • Experience working on multi-disciplinary project teams with project managers, project stakeholders, contractors, and communications staff; experience identifying ideas and concerns and incorporating them into planned actions and strategies.
  • Demonstrated experience delivering presentations to small and large groups; ability to facilitate and guide effective group discussions.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish rapport and engage the public in meaningful conversations and to gather feedback for planned projects and initiatives; experience working with diverse populations in a public outreach setting is desirable.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of effective communication techniques and public outreach strategies; ability to take initiative in identifying and meeting communication needs.
  • Familiarity with the SANDAG political environment and sensitivities; ability to function effectively within that environment.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the practices and operations of news gathering and reporting organizations; some experience arranging press conferences and securing media coverage to promote public understanding of projects; familiarity with regional information resources and local news media sources, including websites.
  • Experience coordinating project teams; experience providing project coordination, project control, and support for assigned initiatives.
  • Experience coordinating outreach projects through consultants; experience with the development of request for proposals, scopes of work, budgets, and schedules and consultant selection; experience coordinating with consultants to ensure that projects are completed on time, within budget, and at a high level of quality.
  • Experience supervising and evaluating the work of professional and technical personnel; experience providing administrative and professional leadership and direction for assigned programs.
  • Demonstrated experience planning and coordinating meetings and special events such as press briefings, ribbon cuttings, and community meetings.
  • Outstanding writing and editing skills; experience writing engaging and compelling communications for a variety of audiences and purposes including social media; ability to research, analyze, interpret, organize, and design informational material for publication and presentation; demonstrated knowledge of web-writing techniques and experience developing and maintaining website content.
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing; excellent customer service skills for responding to telephone, email, and media inquiries.
  • Ability to establish, maintain, and foster cooperative and collaborative working relationships with those contacted in the course of work; ability to gain cooperation and consensus through discussion and persuasion.
  • Demonstrated ability to work well under pressure and perform multiple tasks simultaneously with frequent interruptions from telephone calls, and employees; excellent organizational skills and the ability to manage several concurrent projects at various stages of completion; ability to establish and maintain priorities and work independently.
  • Demonstrated computer software proficiency using various programs from the Microsoft Office Suite and other PC-based applications.
  • Proficiency with the Spanish language, both oral and written, is desirable.
  • The final candidate selected for this position must successfully pass a pre-employment driving record check; annual re-checking of the driving record will be a condition of employment.

Salary and Benefits

SANDAG rewards the efforts of its employees with a comprehensive compensation package. Competitive salaries are supplemented with a flexible offering of health, financial security, and time-off benefits to meet the work and life needs of employees and their families.
The Senior Public Outreach Officer has an annual salary range of $64,362 to $107,099; the starting salary will depend on the qualifications and experience of the selected candidate.
Our benefits include traditional health, dental, and vision insurance as well as employee assistance, wellness, and work/life balance programs. To support the need to rest and rejuvenate, employees are provided with a bank of paid time off in addition to paid holidays. Contributions to financial security are provided through a pension plan and deferred compensation program.

How to Apply

We encourage all interested candidates to apply for this position by completing a SANDAG Employment Application form. Resumes, cover letters, and work samples may be submitted in addition to the Employment Application but are not a substitute for this document.

The employment application can be downloaded in PDF format from the SANDAG website. Alternatively, a copy can be requested by calling (619) 699-1900 or emailing Completed applications and related materials can be submitted via email, fax, regular mail, courier, or delivered by hand. See our Careers / How to Apply webpage for additional information.

This position is Open until Filled. The first review of applications will begin on Friday, November 17, 2017.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), SANDAG will accommodate persons who require assistance in order to apply for a position at SANDAG. Applicants requiring an accommodation due to a disability during any stage of the recruitment and selection process, including requesting this document and related application materials in an alternative format, should make their needs known by contacting Human Resources at (619) 699-1900, (619) 699-1904 (TTY), fax (619) 699-6905, or

Application Supplement

To help us further evaluate the skills and experience of individuals interested in this position, applicants are asked to respond to the Supplemental Questions below. The information can be up to 500 words per question and should be submitted with the Employment Application. This is considered a required component of the application; applications received without a response will be screened out of the selection process.

Supplemental Questions

1. Please describe why it is important for SANDAG to have both public information and public involvement programs.

2. Provide an overview of a project you have been involved in. What was your role in the project and what would you consider your most significant contribution to the project?

Candidate Selection and Notification

Following the first review date for applications, all candidates will receive written confirmation that their application has been received. The hiring manager will begin reviewing and evaluating applications within a few days of the first review date. The best qualified candidates will be invited to continue in the selection process. All candidates will receive written notification as to the final outcome of their application.

Further Information

The SANDAG website contains a wealth of information about our various project and program areas. The Careers section of the site lists all of our current Job Openings as well as information on how to apply for positions and Frequently Asked Questions about our recruitment process.

In compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, applicants hired by SANDAG must show acceptable proof of identity and evidence of authorization to work in the United States.

SANDAG is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Education Requirements

Bachelor's Degree


$64,362 to $107,099