Communications Specialist III - Zero Youth Detention

King County   Seattle, WA   Full-time     Law Enforcement / Security
Posted on January 5, 2022
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Public Health is seeking a term limited / special duty Communications Specialist III to serve as part of Public Health - Seattle & King County's Zero Youth Detention Team, which is a unit of the Office of the Director. This role will carry out a wide range of external and internal communications functions that support goals and activities committed to the values of racial equity, responsible stewardship, and problem solving.

We are looking for candidates with excellent writing skills along with a variety of communications experiences. Successful candidates will be able to demonstrate significant professional experience with some or all of the minimum skills and qualifications: Using innovative and established social media tools to promote health; translating complex data into digestible information for the public; storytelling and editing skills; knowledge of and experience working with media, including community/multi-lingual media; skills involving summarizing, synthesizing and presenting public health information; ability and comfort with oral and written presentation; social media, graphics and design skills; videography skills.  

Successful candidates will have a high degree of integrity, trustworthiness, a commitment to countywide equity and social justice principles and quality peer relationships, as well as a passion for the health and well-being of all King County residents. Our communications specialists demonstrate experience collaborating with subject matter experts to develop communications approaches and materials. Comfort with quick turnaround times for work products and shifting priorities. Our team is highly collaborative and we welcome applicants with the ability to work independently along with the capability to learn on the fly in a very fast-paced environment.

Commitment to Equity and Social Justice: 
We have a deep commitment to equity and social justice and advancing practices, strategies and policies that promote fairness, justice and opportunity for all – in our workplaces and our communities. With this commitment, King County has adopted a pro-equity agenda to advance regional change and ensure that residents from vulnerable communities are incorporated into our emergency planning and public outreach efforts. Our communications specialists will have a commitment to addressing institutional racism through communications work.
The selected candidate will integrate King County's Equity and Social Justice principles into the daily functions of this position.

Job Duties

Develop multi-media content that seeks to sustain and build the department’s social media capacity, using tools such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Develop and use visual communications tools and techniques to increase the effectiveness of messages. Create graphics for social media and other uses. Shoot and edit short videos. Promote social media tools to the public. Develop and/or run campaigns, using Facebook Manager. Monitor and respond to comments, analyze sentiment. 

Create written content: Plan, write and edit for our public-facing blog. Solicit and develop content from program staff; write original content; utilize images, photos and videos to engage audiences. Create materials, including news releases, fact sheets, educational materials, policy messaging, website content and other formats. 

Develop communication strategies for health. Work in cooperation and coordination with subject matter experts throughout the department and in other agencies. 

Serve as a public information officer. Develop strategic messaging and approaches to address emerging media questions and concerns. Develop media strategies to engage regional media outlets including community and multi-lingual media outlets; write talking points, identity and train spokespeople, work with existing staff to provide timely information to the public via communicating with media outlets. Write news releases and speaking points, coordinate online media events, field media inquiries and serve as spokesperson. Set up, manage zoom press conferences. 

Provide additional support for communications response related activities.

Experience, Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills

  • An understanding of and passion for public health and our institutional mission to improve the health and well-being of our residents; experience working in diverse communities;
  • Background in communications, journalism, public health, education, public administration, or a related field or comparable experience. 
  • Skills in synthesizing and communicating health and science information in writing, orally, and visually to a variety of audiences including policy makers, communities of color and language communities;
  • Skilled in producing news releases, fact sheets and/or other types of educational materials utilizing Microsoft Office Suite products, WordPress and/or other blogging platforms; experience in Sharepoint and Teams. 
  • Demonstrated ability to identify and assess the communication needs of targeted audiences and determine the best communication methods and tools;
  • Knowledge of communications principles, methods and materials; and
  • Demonstrated ability to act in a tactful and diplomatic manner with diverse groups.  
The most competitive applicants will also have some or all of the following desired experiences and qualifications: 
  • Bilingual (able to read, write and speak) in English and another language spoken by significant numbers of King County residents; 
  • Significant expertise in public health communication and/or health promotion via a variety of channels including social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, blogs or other social media tools;
  • Significant demonstrated ability to create and use graphics and photography for story-telling and to effectively engage audiences in content; experience developing infographics; videography experience; 
  • Understanding of working effectively with news media; Knowledge of and experience working with community and multi-lingual media in King County; 
  • Experience working in communications-specific roles in the government sector, preferably public health;
  • An advanced degree in a related field or a combination of significant experience / education in public communications or journalism, 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 position is open to all qualified internal and external candidates. To be considered as a Special Duty applicant, you must be a current Career Service, King County employee who has successfully passed probation and must get your supervisor's approval if this assignment is offered to you.

This position is open continuously until filled, with first review done for applications received by December 14, 2021. 

Duration of position
The work performed in this position is anticipated to last until the end of December 2023.

Application Process
The following items are required to be considered for this vacancy:

1. NEOGOV/Government Jobs on-line or paper application.
2. Responses to the supplemental questions.
3. A current resume or curriculum vitae.
4. A cover letter that summarizes your interest and qualifications for the position.
You can attach multiple documents if necessary or required, such as your cover letter or resume to your application. Your options are:
  • Copy and paste one or more documents into the text resume section of the application.
  • Attach multiple documents/files in the resume attachment section.
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 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 schedule
This position is exempt from the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and is not overtime eligible. The regular workweek is 40 hours, Monday through Friday.
Work Location and Telecommuting 

Chinook Building, 401 5th Avenue, 13th Floor, Seattle, WA 98104 with telecommuting by agreement with supervisor. Currently the work is performed mainly through teleworking. However, this may change in the future with requirement to report in office and to meetings as needed.

Employees will have access to shared workspaces at various King County facilities. Employees must reside in Washington state and within a reasonable distance to their King County worksite to respond to workplace reporting requirements.
Employees will be provided with a County issued laptop and must maintain a workspace with an internet connection (access may be supplemented in some situations) where they can reliably perform work and remain available and responsive during scheduled work hours. Please note that when an employee conducts work that is likely to bring them in contact with another individual, safety precautions are required, including the wearing of masks in some situations. King County is doing its part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and remains committed to reducing our carbon footprint.
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 that is redefining how we work as we transition to the department's hybrid environment. 
Union affiliation:
This position is not represented by a labor union.
If you have questions, please contact Nic Horea, Human Resource Analyst at or 206-263-8736.

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.

Please describe your experience identifying and assessing the communication needs of targeted audiences and determining the best communication methods and tools to reach them. Please limit your response to 1 - 2 paragraphs. If you don't have this experience, type N/A.
Please describe your experience communicating health and science information in writing, orally, and/or visually to a variety of audiences including media, communities of color and/or language communities. Please limit your response to 1 - 2 paragraphs. If you don't have this experience, please type N/A.
Are you applying to this position as an eligible Current or Previous King County Employee Priority Placement Program Participant AND 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 AND 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. AND 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