Special Project Coordinator, Unemployment Compensation Unit

Position:                                 Special Project Coordinator, Unemployment Compensation Unit

                                                Full-Time Position

Anticipated Start date:         July 2020

Application requirements:   Cover letter, resume, three references and a five-page writing sample

Background:

Philadelphia Legal Assistance (“PLA”) is the federally funded civil legal aid provider for Philadelphia’s indigent community, providing high-volume, high-quality legal services including community education, advice, referral, pro se assistance, and representation at administrative hearings as well as at all levels of state and federal courts in the areas of basic human needs: family safety, health, income maintenance, and home preservation.  PLA has been working remotely since March 16 due to the Covid19 crisis and has provided staff with all the necessary resources to continue serving clients.

The Unemployment Compensation Unit is a national leader in unemployment compensation litigation and advocacy.  They have been on the forefront of the worker response to the Covid19 crisis in Pennsylvania and work closely as a team, even virtually!  The Unit has coordinated other legal services organizations, community groups, and local officials across the state to provide resources and information to workers who have lost their jobs or income due to Covid19.  As the law and policy around unemployment benefits changes constantly in this new environment, the unit is looking for a Project Coordinator who is willing and able to quickly adapt to new challenges.

Unemployment compensation is a vital social safety net that provides temporary income replacement to workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.  The Unit typically represents over 600 clients a year through counsel and advice, representation at administrative hearings, and briefing in administrative appeals. However, due to the current crisis, we expect that number to at least double.

Over the last several years, unit attorneys have filed over 25 impact cases in Pennsylvania appellate courts, appearing before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and Commonwealth Court.  As the fallout of Covid19 makes its way through the administrative appeal system, the unit expects to see an increase in these cases as we explore new legal issues.

PLA also strives to have a larger impact on our clients’ lives through our advanced use of data collection and analysis.  We use this information to inform our advocacy with the PA Department of Labor and Industry and to continuously improve our outreach and community education efforts.   

Responsibilities:

PLA is seeking a Special Project Coordinator in the Unemployment Compensation Unit to oversee and coordinate the Unit’s COVID-19 response.  This full-time position will eventually be located at 718 Arch Street, but currently all staff are working remotely.  The Special Project Coordinator will oversee and administer new pro bono projects related to COVID-19, such as the UC Application Service Hotline.  The Coordinator will also be tasked with improving the Unit’s community education efforts by developing new materials, updating current materials as new issues develop, and facilitating translation to ensure equal access for non-English speakers. The Coordinator may also perform additional  administrative functions utilizing legal terminology, procedures and documents, as well as preparing research papers and correspondence.

Tasks will include but are not limited to:

Coordinate Volunteer Assistance with the UC Application Service Hotline

  1. Recruit and manage volunteers
    1. Recruit volunteers from local law schools and law firms
    2. Oversee volunteer training and instruction
    3. Schedule volunteer shifts on the hotline
  2. Monitor UC Application Hotline
    1. Actively observe UC Application Hotline back-end system during hotline hours
    2. Manage UC applicant spreadsheet.  Track volunteers and flag callers for intake callbacks, foreign language callbacks, or referrals to other legal aid organizations.
    3. Respond to volunteer questions via the chat
  3. Tracking Project Progress
    1. Organizing and tracking information across PLA’s client management system and multiple spreadsheets
    2. Quantify impact of project and collect stories from workers who have been assisted
    3. Evaluate and propose changes to the project as the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects continue to develop

Track Client Stories and Data for Media and Advocacy

  1. Database management, including data entry, maintain mailing lists, report generation and statistical analysis.
  2. Develop story bank for clients who have benefited from the Unit’s COVID-19 related work
  3. Improve Unit’s tracking mechanism for clients with impactful stories for media and advocacy
  4. Maintain and track good stories through the UC Complaint System database and other databases developed to respond to COVID-19

Managing Communications and Outreach Related to COVID-19

  1. Track and organize UC outreach and community education materials
  2. Develop new community education materials
  3. Facilitate translation of UC materials into multiple languages using staff and volunteer resources
  4. Coordinate and track UC Unit media pieces
  5. Manage online UC resource bank
  6. Update PLA’s website and Facebook page with new UC resources
  7. Coordinate the development and implementation of a new state-wide UC resource website

Office Tasks

  1. Copy editing/proofreading
  2. Backup IT support
  3. Meeting scheduling and logistics
  4. Taking and distributing meeting notes
  5. Compiling data and reports for various contracts

Qualifications:   

High school diploma or GED required.  Proven commitment to and passion for workers’ rights and employment issues will be looked upon with favor.  Spanish fluency helpful, but not required.

The current 4-person unit works closely together and prioritizes teamwork.  Individuals who work well in teams and appreciate a family-like atmosphere will be a good fit for the unit.  Driven and task-oriented self-starters preferred. 

Additionally, we are looking for an applicant with:

  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks, deadlines and priorities
  • Fast learner and someone who can adapt to and excel in a fast changing environment
  • Strong background in planning and/or coordinating trainings, outreach, or other community focused engagements
  • Web design or graphic design experience
  • Experience effectively managing volunteers

Salary and Benefits:

Salary commensurate with experience and comparable to other public interest salaries. PLA provides excellent benefits including fully paid medical for employees and their dependents, a 403B retirement plan, and generous paid leave.

Application Process:

Philadelphia Legal Assistance (PLA) is an equal opportunity employer. PLA values a diverse work environment and strongly encourages women, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ, people with disabilities, people who have experienced poverty or homelessness, and people who have had prior contact with the juvenile, criminal, or child welfare systems to apply. PLA invites all applicants to include in their cover letter a statement about how your unique background and/or experiences might contribute to the diversity, cultural vitality, and perspective of our staff and legal services practice.

Application deadline is July 10, 2020.  Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and the position will remain open until filled.  We encourage applicants to submit applications early.

How To Apply: 

Send application to: work@philalegal.org