Public Outreach and Engagement Liaisons

As a city, we value the wonderful diversity of races, cultures, gender identities, sexual orientations and socio-economic status that represent the people in our neighborhoods. To ensure that all voices are heard, it is especially important that the City's outreach and engagement efforts are respectful and appropriate for everyone.

To do this work, we have Public Outreach and Engagement Liaisons (POELs), a team of professionals located throughout Seattle who serve as resources and liaisons for community members. Together, we assist City departments in their outreach and engagement needs ensuring that the City provides information to all community members, forges connections, fosters relationships, and receives rich, diverse, and meaningful civic participation.

POELs are expert "bridge-builders" who are bi-cultural and bi-lingual. Their work is conducted in a culturally-specific manner allowing participants some comfort and familiarity while navigating the City's processes. POELs are paid as independent contractors; and participate in the POEL Institute, a training opportunity to support their work.

POELs serve these historically underrepresented groups:

  • Immigrants and Refugees (languages spoken below)
    • Afaan-Oromo
    • Korean
    • Amharic
    • Somali
    • Arabic
    • Spanish
    • Cambodian (Khmer)
    • Swahili
    • Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese)
    • Thai
    • French
    • Tigrinya
    • Filipino (Tagalog and Ilocano)
    • Vietnamese
  • African Americans
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives
  • Homeless
  • Homeless Youth
  • People Living with Disabilities
  • Seniors
  • Youth

POELs at Work
Our staff dispatch the POELs to support City departments with:

  • Quality translations
  • Fair and equitable facilitation (in native language)
  • Simultaneous interpretation
  • Constituent support at City-hosted events
  • Feedback and expertise on cultural concerns and barriers
  • Accurate records and reports of participant feedback and concerns
  • Community workshops and events that parallel larger City-hosted meetings

POELs also meet with individuals, organizations, small businesses, and others based on the needs of the community and each City department's outreach goals. They share information, connect groups with services, respond when issues arise, and provide technical assistance. They truly serve as a liaison to both the community and the City.

Clinics and Resource Fairs
Our staff works with community-based organization to host clinics and resource fairs where City departments share information on the programs, resources, and opportunities they have to offer. We organize the clinics, bring POELs in all relevant languages for interpretation, and provide a meal for the group. If you are a community-based organization who is interested in hosting us, email