Outreach and advocacy specialists are critical to the diversability (diverse ability) community. They provide much-needed services and help individuals speak up for themselves and handle issues related to their disabilities. Moreover, advocacy and outreach specialists provide information to the wider community to help people understand more about the challenges of people living with disabilities.
What Makes a Good Outreach and Advocacy Specialist?
Often, the people who excel in this field are those in minority groups or who have experienced disabilities themselves. While there are courses that help individuals prepare for a career in outreach and advocacy, ultimately experience is the best teacher.
Those who have advocated for themselves often know the ins and outs of social systems, as well as how to handle advocacy both respectfully and effectively. They can support people more easily because they have been in their shoes.
Some of the traits that people who do well in this career have include:
- Ability to listen without judgment
- Strong communication skills
Advocates work with different types of people and need to be effective in a wide variety of environments.
What are the Primary Jobs of an Outreach and Advocacy Specialist?
This job consists of two primary roles. The first is working directly with people in disability and disenfranchised communities to both advocate for them and teach them to advocate for themselves at local, state, and national levels.
The second is to handle community outreach and raise awareness. This can help bring in more advocates and speed up processes. Additional advocates may coordinate events, speak before government entities, or perform a number of other duties.
Generally, these individuals specialize in working with a specific group of people or cause rather than a variety of things. It allows them to dig deep into the issues and really learn the policies and laws involved.
How Can Government Agencies Work with Advocates?
The federal government as well as many state governments have affirmative action policies in place or endeavor to employ a certain percentage of individuals with disabilities. To be successful often requires a different approach to recruiting and hiring.
Outreach and advocacy specialists are able to work with government agencies to refine this approach and assist in outreach efforts to these communities. Some activities for federal agencies might include:
- Hosting a booth at a job fair
- Working with local community groups to advertise open positions
- Creating both digital and collateral materials for the agency
- Educating stakeholders on the importance of diversity in the workplace
- Auditing the current process for hiring and making recommendations
If your organization needs outreach and advocacy specialists, Applied Development can help. Our team of specialists has extensive experience working with government agencies to help them improve their outreach efforts. Give us a call today at 410.571.4016 or contact us online for more information.