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Innovation Team Seeks Outreach and Intervention Workers

September 11, 2012

With a population of more than 675,000, Memphis is the 18th largest city in the United States. Memphis has a majority African-American population and a disproportionately high percentage of young people; nearly 27 percent of the population is under the age of 18, compared to the national norm of 23 percent.

Violent crime in the city mirrors these demographics. Memphis has a growing culture of gang and group affiliation among young black men; over 51 percent of shootings are gang-related in some way.  While there have been successful efforts to reduce crime in general across the city, the same success has not been realized with violent crime involving area youth.

The Mayor of Memphis is launching a comprehensive strategy to reduce gun violence among young people in Memphis.  To complement law enforcement activities, social intervention strategies will be employed to safeguard at-risk youth from the adverse effects of gun violence as either the victim or perpetrator, and to break the cycle of violence after a violent act has been committed.  The goal of this comprehensive strategy is to reduce the rates of gun violence among young people by at least 10 percent city wide, and by at least 20 percent in focus areas of Frayser and South Memphis.

To that goal, the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team is seeking candidates to apply for the following positions: Community Outreach Worker, Violence Intervention Specialist, and Community Violence Prevention Supervisor.

All interested applicants should e-mail their resume to:    info@innovatememphis.com  no later than September 21, 2012.  Applicants selected for interview will be contacted no later than October 1, 2012.  The expected start date for these positions is October 15, 2012.

To view the job descriptions, please continue reading.

Community Outreach Worker

Basic Functions:  Under the supervision of the Community Violence Prevention Supervisor, the successful candidate will be responsible for reaching out to identified gang members and linking them to services and institutions, providing access to resources, reducing attachment of project youth to gangs and gang activities, and assisting in community mobilization in the target area. The incumbent will be a member of and participate in all Intervention Team meetings.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Identify appropriate youth to participate in the project based on target characteristics.
  • Recruit and retain project youth by providing access to job skills training, information, resources, pro-social role modeling, and encouragement.
  • Provide outreach services, including street, home, and institutional contacts with project youth.
  • Manage a caseload of up to 50 clients.
  • Serve as an advocate for project youth in securing social services, education, and job- related opportunities; providing information about services; and assessing needs.
  • Possess strong communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Work effectively with agency staff and service providers and with gang members and their family members.
  • Work a flexible schedule, including nights and weekends.
  • Clearly communicate ideas in both written and verbal form.
  • Understand and relate to the needs of project participants of diverse ethnic, cultural, educational, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Work effectively with high-risk, gang-involved populations.
  • Operate a computer to enter data, maintain records, and generate reports.
  • Network effectively with various types of organizations, including government agencies, law enforcement agencies, schools, social service agencies, courts/probation/corrections, and grassroots organizations.
  • Work effectively with community residents, diverse population groups, and youth.
  • Exercise judgment regarding appropriate information sharing, confidentiality requirements, and human relations.
  • Prioritize tasks and work independently in the absence of supervision.

Qualifications

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Extensive experience working with at-risk youth and gang members
  • Excellent communication skills
  • At least one year in performing client-directed services in a field such as social service, grassroots organizations, community advocacy, or youth intervention.
  • Valid TN driver’s license, insurance, and good driving record preferred.
  • Individuals who have served time for violent crimes against women and children are not eligible for hire.
  • Eligible candidates cannot have any pending criminal cases and must submit to pre- employment background check.

Position Type:  Full time requires evenings, late night and weekend hours as needed.  Grant funded position.

Violence Intervention Specialist

Basic Functions:  Under the supervision of the Community Violence Prevention Supervisor, the successful candidate will work individually and as a team to prevent neighborhood shootings and killings. The incumbent will be a member of and participate in all Intervention Team meetings.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Form relationships with the highest risk persons in the community (as well as the people who know them) and meet with them on a daily basis to discuss issues.
  • Work to intervene in circumstances in which gun violence is likely, including possible retaliation.
  • Identify youth who are gang members and those at-risk for joining gangs and assist them.
  • Conduct outreach to the community (individually and as a team member) to build strong relationships with youth, residents, businesses, and community groups.
  • Gain information on potential conflicts in the assigned focus areas.
  • Participate, as necessary, in organizing responses to shootings and increasing visibility when shootings/killings take place.
  • Research causes of shootings/killings to assist in mediating situations and preventing retaliation between individuals and groups (e.g., working with the community, outreach programs to gain information that may be helpful in preventing additional killings).
  • Work with community partners to identify and diffuse “hot spots” for shootings and violence.
  • Work with hospital staff (social workers, patient advocates, etc.) to ensure shooting victims have access to appropriate supportive service; communicate with shooting victims to mediate possible retaliation and offer opportunity to connect with Street Outreach Workers, etc.
  • Document shootings and other acts of violence prevented.
  • Respond to shootings in other communities, when necessary.
  • Document all contacts with high risk individuals.
  • Distribute public education materials to targeted audience.
  • Attend community events and responses.
  • Attend weekly staff meetings.

Qualifications

  • Experience working with at-risk youth and gang members.
  • No pending criminal cases or prior convictions for sexual assault, child abuse or domestic violence.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Experience or training in crisis intervention.
  • An in-depth knowledge of South Memphis and Frayser focus areas and surrounding communities.

Position Type:  Full time; requires evening, late night and weekend hours.  Grant funded position.

Community Violence Prevention Supervisor

Basic Functions:  Community Violence Prevention Supervisor will work individually and as a team to prevent neighborhood youth gun violence.  The successful candidate will supervise two street outreach workers and two violence intervention specialists.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Plan the day to day and week to week activities with and for the street outreach and violence intervention staff.
  • Plan and hold daily meetings to review current violence in the two focus areas and assess what additional interventions are needed.
  • Coordinate and align violence prevention and intervention activities with the Memphis City School’s GRASSY Coordinator and the Hospital Violence Intervention Program staff.
  • Supervise two (2) street outreach workers and two (2) violence intervention specialists, including daily communication with each worker.
  • Conduct outreach to the community to build strong relationships with youth, residents, businesses and community groups.
  • Provide training to street and violence intervention staff on mandatory reporting requirements.
  • Ensure that street outreach workers and violence intervention specialists know how to handle clients with mental health and substance abuse issues.
  • Help street outreach workers and violence intervention specialists understand the boundaries of their positions when interacting with clients and families.
  • Provide guidance to staff regarding what types of personal and professional information about clients can be shared and with whom
  • Establish safety protocols for the team
  • Attend weekly Intervention Team meetings
  • Attend Shelby/Memphis Juvenile Justice Board and GRASSY Steering Committee meetings
  • Increase violence intervention staff visibility when gun violence take place (e.g. developing networks with outer outreach program workers such as the Defending Childhood Initiative Connectors; MCS GRASSY Outreach Workers, etc. to coordinate an inclusive and immediate strategic response.)
  • Research causes of shootings/killings to assist in mediating situations and preventing retaliation between individuals and groups (e.g. working with the community, outreach programs and local law enforcement to gain information that may be helpful in preventing additional killings.)
  • Identify and diffuse “hot spots” for shootings and violence (e.g. conducting eyeball surveys with residents and community based organizations to identify areas frequented by potential offenders.)
  • Attend and participate in meetings with law enforcement, community outreach workers, prosecution, probation, and agencies providing opportunities, to discuss recent situations and coordinate efforts to collectively to reduce youth gun violence.
  • Facilitate violence prevention and life skills workshops in local schools, parks and community based organizations.
  • Document detailed client case notes and overall coordination of all staff reports.
  • Ensure street outreach works and violence intervention specialists follow appropriate standards of dress when working in the community and with key partners.
  • Monitor staff’s documentation of client contacts and service provided.

Qualifications

  • BS in human services field or equivalent work experience
  • Extensive experience working with at risk youth and gang members
  • No pending criminal cases or prior convictions for sexual assault, child abuse or domestic violence
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Experience and/or training in crisis intervention and staff supervision

Position Type

Full time requires evenings, late night and weekend hours as needed.  Grant funded position.

 

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