The Center for Michigan has immediate job openings for individuals with excellent communications, networking and organizational skills and a track record of high achievement. If you are passionate about the future of our state, have strong public speaking skills and a working knowledge of current events, we may have an exciting opportunity for you. We are hiring community outreach coordinators to organize and facilitate discussions across Michigan. We are the state’s leading practitioner of nonpartisan public engagement. Our interactive, small-group community conversations, larger town hall meetings, polling programs and online citizenship tools provide opportunities for thousands of citizens each year to better understand state and regional public policy issues, deliberate those issues with fellow citizens, and impact decision making by elected leaders.

We seek both salaried employees and part-time consultants. Current workers and recent college graduates in such fields as public relations, public administration, communications, education, sales & marketing, theater, event planning/management, public policy and political science/political campaigns may have the skills necessary to thrive in this work. Full-time positions will be based in Ann Arbor but will require traveling across Michigan. We offer competitive salary, performance bonuses and benefits. For more information about the Center for Michigan, visitwww.thecenterformichigan.net.  Applicants for our outreach coordinator positions should send a cover letter, resume, and professional references to atoth@thecenterformichigan.net by August 16.The Center for Michigan is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Fri, 08/02/2013 - 9:51am
The Bridge’s community outreach is commendable. It is based on ‘good intentions’ and should draw in several very high minded and dedicated people interested working for the Bridge. What I am interested in is whether Bridge, its founders, and staff are looking to change things. It seems this will not be the first effort by the Bridge to stimulate community discussion across the State. I wonder if the same ‘old’ methods are planned. I wonder if the past efforts have changed things. If not, I wonder if the Bridge staff has made any effort to see if they should change their outreach protocol. Or is all my wondering for naught since those driving the outreach really don’t care about change and only want to say they made an outreach effort and there were 10,000 participants. I have participated in a State wide community discussion and as best I can recall it was about getting more and more people to say something on the topic so the organizers could claim a large number of participation spoke rather than to have stimulated people to extend the conversations and create new approaches (there was reporting on the numbers with little about the ideas). Independent of what the purpose is for the outreach effort. I would suggest that there are two other skill sets that the person needs to be successful in the role, project management and meeting management focused on idea development. The outreach is a project with a beginning and an end, it may be repeated annually or biennially for different topics, but for each topic it is a project. A project has core elements (Purpose, Scope, Expectations, Metrics, Planning [critical path map], and implementation) and these elements each have sub parts. If the project is not properly managed it will not achieve anything more than getting a lot of people together at different places. Meeting management that is purported to foster discussions and garner ideas is not simply scheduling, an agenda, and asking for comments. It is understanding group dynamics and group think (avoiding the latter), it is getting people not only to offer an idea but to provide the why so others can learn from them, it is about engaging the discussion without letting it be sidetracked, it is about exploring a new idea or approache for later work while bring out other ideas, it is about engaging as many as possible while staying within the time constraints, it is knowing how to listen and not judge. Simply hosting a group is not management of outreach meeting. I commend the Bridge and all involved for their efforts. This could be a means to create/foster local ad hoc teams that continue to explore ideas from the discussions and create methods for implementing locally or sharing for implementation/ refinement by others. I do think that project management skills will play a greater part in the success of the outreach program than political science degree. I would offer that there are more broadly educated people in this State that have been trained in and applied change management that could be very effective in the full and part-time roles. I would encourage the Bridge staff to look at the roles and responsibilities, the purpose and expectations, the project metrics before setting the limits on the background of the candidates. I wonder if Bridge is considering including some subscribers to get their thoughts on the project (purpose and scope).