Public Outreach Officer

  • San Diego Association of Governments - SANDAG
  • San Diego, CA, USA
Full Time Communications Marketing

Job Description

Overview of the Communications Office

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. 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. Examples of current major agency projects include the under-construction 11-mile extension of the Mid-Coast Trolley from Downtown San Diego through the communities of Linda Vista, Clairemont, La Jolla, and University City; Bus Rapid Transit service in the I-15 and I-805 corridors, infrastructure for extended FasTrak service throughout the region, regional traveler information services through iCommute and 511, and San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan.

Public Outreach Officer Role

The Public Outreach Officer will coordinate public involvement and information strategies that promote the Mid-Coast Trolley Project and ensure a strong, positive identity among all audiences. This work includes coordinating multiple concurrent projects, developing and implementing outreach and communication plans, responding to requests for information, developing news stories for mass media, and contributing to a variety of internal and external publications.

This is a Limited-Term employment opportunity and it is expected to be funded through June 30, 2022. Limited-Term Employees are considered to be “at-will” and receive many of the benefits of Regular employees.

This position will be based in the downtown SANDAG office and at the Mid-Coast Trolley construction offices in University City along the Mid Coast Trolley project corridor. Time will be spent at construction sites and community meetings.

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 for this position include:

  • Provide public outreach and communication efforts during the planning and construction phases of the Mid-Coast Trolley Project; collaborate with project managers and employees to increase awareness of significant project milestones.
  • Provide project management and coordination support for communications consultants and contractors; prepare project plans, and identify deliverables, resources, and activities; ensure work products are completed at a consistent high-quality level.
  • Visit the construction sites along the Mid-Coast Trolley corridor to develop a detailed understanding of upcoming milestones; 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.
  • Support the development, preparation, implementation, and coordination of a diverse range of communication, public information, and community outreach plans, 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.
  • Work with project managers to provide information to various municipal planning groups, service organizations, businesses, and other stakeholders.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Assist in the preparation of 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.

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, and customer service. Strong project management, writing, and public speaking skills, 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 one to four years of progressive career development in a fast-paced communication/public information environment, preferably supporting regional planning and/or capital improvement projects.

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

  • Experience supporting the development, implementation, and coordination of proactive and effective community involvement and public outreach programs and activities.
  • 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.
  • Outstanding writing and editing skills; experience writing engaging and compelling communications for a variety of audiences and purposes including social media; demonstrated knowledge of web-writing techniques and experience developing and maintaining website content.
  • Experience researching, analyzing, interpreting, organizing, and designing informational material for publication and presentation.
  • Experience planning and coordinating meetings and special events such as ribbon cuttings and community meetings.
  • Understanding of the practices and operations of news gathering and reporting organizations; experience arranging press conferences and securing media coverage to promote public understanding of projects; familiarity with regional information resources and local news media sources.
  • 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.
  • Experience coordinating outreach projects through consultants; experience coordinating with consultants to ensure that projects are completed on time, within budget, and at a high level of quality.
  • Familiarity with the SANDAG political environment and sensitivities; ability to function effectively within that environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to work well under pressure and perform multiple tasks simultaneously and to coordinate 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.
  • 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 and generous offering of health, financial security, and time-off benefits to meet the work and life needs of employees and their families.

This Public Outreach Officer position will be filled at the I, II, or Associate level depending on the qualifications and experience of the selected candidate. The annual salary ranges are: Public Outreach Officer I - $44,011 to $70,417 per year; Public Outreach Officer II - $48,522 to $77,635 per year; Associate Public Outreach Officer - $53,496 to $85,593 per year.

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 and providing responses to the supplemental questions. 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, September 28, 2018.

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, candidates 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. Briefly describe your professional experience, priorities, and approach in interacting with internal project teams, agency or company partners, the public, the press, community stakeholders, and elected officials.
  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 listed above, 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. Based on this evaluation, 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


Journalism, Market Research, Marketing Communications

Education Requirements

Bachelor's Degree


Public Outreach Officer I - $44,011 to $70,417 per year; Public Outreach Officer II - $48,522 to $77,635 per year; Associate Public Outreach Officer - $53,496 to $85,593 per year.