Communications Specialist III (0.8 FTE Risk Communications Specialist)

King County   Seattle, WA   Full-time     Advertising / Marketing / Public Relations
Posted on September 12, 2022
Apply Now

The Risk Communications Specialist III (CSIII) will serve as part of Public Health - Seattle & King County's Communications Team, which is a unit of the Office of the Director. The CSIII position will carry out a wide range of risk communications functions related to public health emergencies, communicable disease outbreaks and other health-related urgent events that support department-wide and program goals and activities aimed at protecting and improving the community's health.
The candidate selected for this position will be an outstanding project coordinator, a skilled writer and presenter, and a creative and innovative communications strategist with experience using innovative tools to promote health. Successful candidates will demonstrate interpersonal savvy, ability to work independently and with multiple stakeholders both inside and outside the department, composure, and ability to learn on the fly and produce quickly in a fast-paced environment that requires frequent re-prioritization of tasks. Integrity, trustworthiness, a commitment to countywide equity and social justice principles, and quality peer relationships are important values we seek in our next Team member.

This 0.8 FTE Career Service position works 32 hours per week.
Commitment To Equity And Social Justice: As the only county in the United States named after Martin Luther King Jr, one of the most influential civil rights leaders in our nations' history, King County is a vibrant community with residents that represent countries from around the world. It is a region with increasing diversity that cherishes the artistic and social traditions of many cultures. Together, we're changing the way government delivers service and winning national recognition as a model of excellence.

We continue to build on an enduring legacy of shared values of equity and social justice, employee engagement, innovative thinking, and continuous improvement. With this commitment, King County has adopted a pro-equity agenda aimed at advancing regional change and is developing the systems and standards necessary to achieve better outcomes for all of our residents, regardless of their race or income. All of these qualities make King County one of the nation's best places to live, work, and play.

Job Duties

Support the health department’s preparedness and response to public health emergencies:

  • Develop and distribute communication campaigns, content, and outreach materials to communicate effectively about public health emergencies and urgent health issues. 
    1. Create content for the web, social media, press releases, video, print materials, and blog posts, (among other channels) to reach and engage priority audiences; 
    2. Develop effective distribution methods and networks; 
    3. Coordinate communications efforts across King County government and divisions; inform and coordinate internal communications plans with sister agencies;
    4. Create talking points and messaging for Public Health leadership and staff; 
    5. Provide technical support to help programs effectively communicate with audiences they’re serving.
  • Ensure that risk communication strategies and content meet needs of diverse communities in King County, with a focus on those communities that have disproportionate impacts from public health emergencies. 
    1. Collaborate with community partners and external communications staff to ensure risk communications center community concerns and needs.
    2. Ensure communications address health literacy, accessibility, and language access needs.
  • Serve as a public information officer on occasion. 
    1. Write news releases and talking points, coordinate media events, field media inquiries and serve as spokesperson on topics related to public health emergencies. 
    2. Develop strategic messaging and approaches to address emerging media issues. 
  • Support the health department’s social media (e.g. Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter). 
    1. Develop strategies and content to communicate urgent health information via social media. 
    2. Monitor and respond to public concerns on social media. 
    3. Plan, develop stories for, write and edit our public-facing blog. 
Support communications functions of the health department’s Public Health Preparedness Section:
  • Coordinate Public Health’s Emergency Communications Response Team. 
    1. Develop and update the Emergency Communications Plan with strategies for communicating health information rapidly, with a focus on equity. 
    2. Train communications staff to the Emergency Communications Plan, including leading trainings and developing emergency exercises, in collaboration with the Public Health Preparedness Section.
  • Provide strategic counsel and other support on risk communications to the Public Health Preparedness Section and their partners. 
    1. Review communications components of emergency plans;
    2. Participate in trainings and exercises with local and state emergency management and public health partners; 
    3. Develop alert and notification procedures;
    4. Develop and deliver risk communication trainings; 
    5. Participate in evaluation of the health department’s responses to emergencies; and
    6. Support communications activities in grant-funded projects;   

Experience, Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills

  • Skills in synthesizing and communicating technical information in writing, orally, and visually to a variety of audiences including policy makers, diverse populations, public health employees and the general public. 
  • Knowledge of public health goals, concerns, and approaches. 
  • Demonstrated comfort with working under pressure and meeting deadlines
  • Experience in health promotion via digital and print media, social marketing and strategic communications, including social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, blogs and emerging social media tools.  
  • Ability and desire to problem solve and independently seek solutions to technical questions.
  • Demonstrated ability to identify and assess the communication needs of targeted audiences and determine the best communication methods and tools to reach them; 
  • Demonstrated ability to use graphics, photography or videography for story-telling and to effectively engage audiences in content.
  • Experienced trainer and public speaker.
  • Skilled in producing reports, news releases, fact sheets and education materials utilizing Microsoft Office Suite and Adobe design products, WordPress and/or other blogging platforms; 
  • Knowledge of crisis and risk communication principles and practice; 
  • Collaborative team player with skill in communicating about sensitive issues with diverse groups and stakeholders; highly tuned interpersonal savvy; demonstrated ability to foster effective partnerships
  • Demonstrated passion for public health, equity and social justice and our mission to improve the health and well-being of our residents. 
Desired Qualifications: 
  • Fluency in languages other than English; 
  • Experience in working effectively with news media, including developing key messages and acting as a spokesperson; 
  • Audience research skills; 
  • Incident Command System (ICS) training and emergency response experience, particularly in a communications or public information officer role;
  • Background in education, communications, English, journalism, public health, public administration, or a related field or comparable experience. The most qualified candidates will have a Master’s Degree in a related field or will have at least two years of public communications or journalism experience, preferably in a public health or health-related field. 

Supplemental Information

Forbes recently named King County as one of Washington State's best employers.

Together, with leadership and our employees, we're changing the way government delivers service and winning national recognition as a model of excellence. Are you ready to make a difference? Come join the team dedicated to serving one of the nation's best places to live, work and play.

Guided by our "True North", we are making King County a welcoming community where every person can thrive. We value diversity, inclusion and belonging in our workplace and workforce. To reach this goal we are committed to workforce equity. Equitable recruiting, support, and retention is how we will obtain the highest quality workforce in our region; a workforce that shares and will help advance our guiding principles--we are one team; we solve problems; we focus on the customer; we drive for results; we are racially just; we respect all people; we lead the way; and we are responsible stewards. We encourage people of all backgrounds and identities to apply, including Native American and people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ+, people living with disabilities, and veterans.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

King County Executive Branch employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are the successful candidate for the position you applied for, the County will send you a conditional offer letter.

As a condition of employment, prior to a final offer of employment, you will be required to:

  • submit proof of vaccination, or
  • have an approved request for medical or religious exemption and an approved accommodation. Philosophical, political, scientific, or sociological objections to vaccination will not be considered for an exemption or accommodation.

People are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two weeks after receiving the final dose of a vaccination approved by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Executive Branch includes employees in the Executive branch, the Assessor's Office, Elections, the King County Sheriff's Office, and the Executive Office.

King County is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Employer

No person is unlawfully excluded from employment opportunities based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy), age, genetic information, disability, veteran status, or other protected class. Our EEO policy applies to all employment actions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, selection for training, promotion, transfer, demotion, layoff, termination, rates of pay or other forms of compensation.

To Apply

If you are interested in pursuing this position, please follow the application instructions carefully. If you need this announcement in an alternate language or format, would like to request accommodation or assistance in the application or assessment process or if you have questions please contact the recruiter listed on this job announcement.

Who May Apply: This Career Service position is open to all qualified applicants. 

 Application Process: 
 The following items are required to be considered for this vacancy:
  • An electronic application through or (use the "Apply" link) including work history and position duties.
  • Responses to Supplemental Questions. Please do not copy and paste your resume or resume sections as responses to Supplemental Questions. Doing so will result in an incomplete application, unless the submitted information completely and directly answers the questions posed. 
  • A Cover Letter describing why you are interested in this position, and why you're passionate about the work performed in this position
Your application may be rejected as incomplete if you do not include the relevant information in the application. Cover letters and/or resumes are not accepted in lieu of a completed NeoGov application. Applications and/or Supplemental Questionnaires that state "see my resume" or "see my personnel file" are considered incomplete and will not be accepted.
  • The selection process may include but is not limited to: evaluation of application materials and supplemental questions, interviewing, and testing. For more information on our selection process, please refer to
  • Regular and reliable attendance, effective communication skills, and development of effective working relationships are requirements of all Public Health positions.
  • Staff may be required to play an active role in the event of a public health emergency, which may include changes in responsibilities, work location and working hours.
Necessary Special Requirements
  • The selected candidate will be required to pass a thorough background investigation.
  • Employees are required to protect the privacy and security of protected health information as defined in State and Federal Law.
  • Employees are required to adhere to OSHA/WISHA guidelines including but not limited to completing required training on time.
Work location: Currently, this position is fully remote. In the future, the position may be required to report with as-yet-undetermined frequency to Public Health’s Chinook Building, 401 Fifth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104. Applicants should be able to work full-time in downtown Seattle or full-time at home depending on the team’s needs.

Employees will be provided with a County issued laptop and must maintain a workspace with an internet connection where they can reliably perform work and remain available and responsive during scheduled work hours.  Employees must reside in WA state and within a reasonable distance to their King County worksite to respond to workplace reporting requirements.  There will be situations where the employee is required to report to a County worksite.  Please note that when an employee conducts work that is likely to bring them in contact with another individual, safety precautions are required by the department in alignment with the Public Health Directive from the Seattle & King County Public Health Officer.
 o support employees during this time King County has a robust collection of tools and resources to support working remotely. The individual selected for this opportunity will be joining an innovative and progressive team. King County is doing its part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and remains committed to reducing our carbon footprint.
Work schedule: The person selected for this position will be required to work 32 hours a week during the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m; occasional weekend/afterhours work will be required, depending on outbreak and emergency events. This position is exempt from the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and is not overtime eligible.
Union affiliation:
This position is not represented by a labor union.

For more information about the application process, please contact Catherine Fitzpatrick, HR Analyst at    

King County offers a highly-competitive compensation and benefits package designed to meet the diverse needs of our employees and support our employees' health and well-being.  Eligible positions receive the following benefits and have access to the following programs:

  • Medical, dental, and vision coverage: King County pays 100% of the premiums for eligible employees and family members
  • Life and disability insurance: employees are provided basic coverage and given the opportunity to purchase additional insurance for both the employee and eligible dependents
  • Retirement: King County employees are eligible to participate in a pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems and a 457(b) deferred-compensation plan
  • Transportation program and ORCA transit pass
  • 10 paid holidays each year (plus 2 personal holidays)
  • Generous vacation and paid sick leave
  • Paid parental leave, family and medical leaves, and volunteer leave
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Wellness programs
  • Onsite gyms and activity centers
  • Employee giving program
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Flexible schedules and telecommuting options, depending on position
  • Training and career development programs
For additional information about employee benefits please visit our Benefits, Payroll, and Retirement Page.

This is a general description of the benefits offered to eligible King County employees, and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy.  If any information on this document conflicts with the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the CBA prevails.  Also, in the event of any incorrect information in this document, applicable laws, policies, rules, CBAs, or official plan documents will prevail.
NOTE:  Benefits for Term Limited Temporary (TLT) or Short Term Temporary (STT) positions, including leave eligibility and/or participation in the pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems, will vary based upon the terms and details of the position. Short Term Temporary positions are not eligible for an ORCA transit pass.
For inquiries about the specifics of this position, please contact the recruiter identified on this job posting.

Do you have experience in public health communications?
  • Yes
  • No
If you answered yes to question #1, please describe your experience in public health communications. If you do not have this experience, type N/A.
Do you have experience working with blogs and social media for strategic communications?
  • Yes
  • No
If you answered yes to question #5, please describe your experience working with blogs and/or social media for strategic communications. If you answered no, then type N/A.
Please tell us about your understanding of and commitment to equity and social justice.
Are you applying to this position as an eligible current or previous King County Employee Priority Placement Program Participant? Is this position the same or lower percentage of full-time when compared to the position held at the point of the notification of layoff? Do you possess the skills and abilities to qualify for this position?
  • Yes, I was given a layoff notice from my role at King County and I am within two years of the effective date of my layoff. Additionally, the position I was laid off from was the same or a higher percentage of FT status when compared to this one.
  • No.
If you answered yes to the question above and you are applying for this position as a Priority Placement Participant, to be considered, you must provide the following three pieces of information in the space provided: 1. The title you held when you received your layoff notice 2. The department you worked in 3. The effective date of your layoff

Required Question