Communications Specialist Iii

King County
Full Time $42 - $54 Per hour WA Public Health - Seattle & King County, 401 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104, United States Apply before 5/27/2024 11:59


Do you want to contribute to a shared understanding of how healthy and safe food, air, and water, and reduction of exposure to hazardous materials protect public health in King County? Are you passionate about environmental justice, climate change mitigation, and equity and social justice in Environmental Health? If so, Public Health – King County is seeking a to develop and carry out communications-focused functions in support of Public Health - Seattle & King County's Environmental Health Services Division.

This is a critical role in Environmental Health Service (EHS) Operations team under the direction of the EHS Deputy Director. The person hired for this job will carry out a wide range of external and internal communications activities that support public information and activities associated with the work of EHS programs.

We are looking for candidates with excellent writing skills along with a variety of communications experiences. This is not an entry level position, and in addition to professional writing skills, the successful candidate will be able to demonstrate professional or equivalent experience with a combination of communications-related skills.

Successful candidates will have a high degree of integrity and trustworthiness, a commitment to quality peer relationships, as well as a passion for the health and well-being of all King County residents. Our team is highly collaborative. We welcome applicants with the ability to work independently as well as part of a team, along with the capability to learn on the fly in a fast-paced environment (with a lot of support!).



Through the work of over 160 dedicated employees, the Environmental Health Services Division (EHS) promotes healthy and equitable environmental conditions and prevents disease through sanitation, safe food, air, and water (drinking, surface, and recreational), and reduction of exposure to hazardous materials. In addition to permitting and inspecting public pools, spas, pet businesses, plumbing installations, on-site septic systems, and solid waste facilities, the Division also works in partnership with community to address unhealthy environmental conditions and leads the department’s climate change efforts.

Our vision is healthy, safe, and vibrant communities that are free of health disparities based on race, gender, or economic status. The Division’s core values include equity and social justice, integrity, community service, collaboration, a supportive work culture, and learning from each other and the communities we serve.

To learn more about EHS, please visit .

This posting will create a list of qualified candidates that may be considered for selection of additional career service, term limited temporary (TLT), short-term temporary (STT), or special duty assignment (SDA) vacancies over the next 6 months. 

Commitment To Equity and Social Justice

Named after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the most influential civil rights leaders in our nation's history, King County is a vibrant international community with residents that represent countries from around the world. It is a region with increasing diversity that cherishes the traditions of many cultures.

The county government has 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 all communities are incorporated into our emergency planning and public outreach efforts.

We recognize that structural racism consists of principles and practices that cause and justify an inequitable distribution of rights, opportunities, and experiences across racial groups. Since declaring Racism is a Public Health Crisis in June 2020, King County and Public Health committed to being intentionally anti-racist and accountable to Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities.

To learn more, please visit:

Work Schedule

This position works Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, and is Exempt from the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Work Location

This position is based out of the Chinook Building, located at 401 5th Ave, Seattle, WA, 98104 on the 11th floor.


Some of the work associated with this position will be performed through teleworking, and will report to office location and to meetings as needed. Travel to other work locations may be necessary. 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 where they can reliably perform work and remain available and responsive during scheduled work hours.  To 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.

Job Duties

Technical Communications

  • Play a vital role in developing the organization’s capacity to communicate clear and accessible information to the public about environmental public health and EHS services and programs.
  • Create written content – work closely with program staff, as well as subject matter experts throughout the department and other agencies to plan, write, and edit materials including social media content, newsletters, policy messaging, briefing materials, presentations, website content, and other formats.
  • Develop and promote the enhancement, clarification, and consistency of the EHS Division “brand” for the public given its multiple and complex programs and services. Use storytelling to increase the internal and external visibility of our work and the impact it has in King County.
  • Coordinate and support communications within the division, department, and other departments by identifying compelling stories from programs and teams and using various channels to share these stories within King County.
  • Support developing, implementing, and evaluating new communication plans specific to target audiences and improve upon existing plans, including around sensitive and complex topics. 
  • Recommend and implement strategies to ensure the organization’s communications reach audiences in multiple language, cultural, and socio-economic groups, particularly those who experience negative health outcomes from poor environmental health conditions.
  • Serve as the division liaison to the department and county’s language access teams. Support division teams with language access needs, including access to translation and interpretation resources, as well as consultation on incorporating language access best practices into materials and communications.

Digital & Social Media

  • Maintain and update the EHS website, working with program teams to ensure information is easily accessible and accurate.
  • Support communications with internal and external audiences regarding a new permitting software, including website integration of the permitting system’s online portal.
  • Function within a matrixed relationship with public health department communication staff, acting as a liaison for the division and connecting division staff with department-wide communications tools, including social media tools and The Public Health Insider Blog.

Public Relations

  • Serve as a public information/media relations officer as needed to: develop media engagement strategies with regional community and multilingual media; write talking points and news releases; identify and train spokespeople; work with existing staff to gain earned media with ethnic media outlets; coordinate online media events; respond to media inquiries and serve as spokesperson; and develop strategic messaging and approaches to address emerging media questions and concerns.
  • Work closely with staff from various programs on urgent media releases or disclosures for emergent issues (such as foodborne illness outbreaks or boil water advisories) which affect the public within short turnaround time.
  • Serve as the division liaison to the department and county’s language access teams. Support division teams with language access needs, including access to translation and interpretation resources, as well as consultation on incorporating language access best practices into materials and communications.
  • Identify and fill communication gaps in current community and partner engagement efforts.

Experience, Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills

Our ideal candidate will demonstrate the following (Minimum):

  • Three (3) or more years of communications-related experience in a professional capacity.
  • Advanced skills in writing, editing, and illustrating technical information in a clear and concise manner for multiple audiences.
  • Ability to identify, assess, and respond to the communication needs of targeted audiences.
  • Skill in identifying, developing, and evaluating short- and long-range communications plans and/or strategies.
  • Experience actively applying and centering race and social justice principles in approach to work and work product.

The most competitive applicants will have the following experiences and qualifications (Desired): 

  • A bachelor’s degree in communications, public relations or a closely related field OR equivalent professional experience.
  • Ability to use innovative and established social media and digital tools (newsletters, websites, etc.) to promote health.
  • Storytelling and editing skills.
  • Experience writing for and working with media, particularly community and multilingual media.
  • Knowledge of language access principles, including transcreation techniques for multi-lingual audiences.
  • Oral and written presentation skills and knowledge of presentation methods and techniques.
  • Knowledge of communication principles and methods.
  • Skill in analytical thinking, problem solving, and in handling multiple competing priorities and producing quality detailed work within tight timeframes.
  • Experience working in both government and community settings, preferably on public health-related topics.
  • Skill in navigating politically sensitive issues and being sensitive to the political environment.
  • Experience with training, coaching, and/or skill-building.
  • Facilitation, healthy conflict, and feedback skills.
  • Skill in using common workflow tools, including but not limited to web applications, Microsoft Office Suite: Excel, Power Point, Visio, and Word.
  • Demonstrated ability in graphic design and developing publications.
  • Experience writing proposals or budget requests to secure grants and funding.
  • Bilingual in one of the most common non-English language groups in King County (includes Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Somali, Chinese, Korean, Ukrainian, Amharic, Hindi and Punjabi).
  • Transferable skills gained through education, work experience (including the military), volunteer experience, or life experience that are relevant for this position.

Supplemental Information

Forbes 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?  dedicated to serving one of the nation's best places to live, work and play.

Guided by our , 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.

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 candidates.

Application Process

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.

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

  • NeoGov Job Application (The responses on your job application should be thorough and complete and will be used in the screening process)
  • Supplemental Questions (The responses to the supplemental questions should be thorough and complete and will be used in the screening process)
  • Writing sample (demonstrating a time you took scientific/technical information and made it understandable to a broader audience (500 word limit)
  • Resume (Outlining relevant experience)

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.

Necessary Special Requirements

  • The selection process may include evaluation of application materials and supplemental questions, interviewing, and testing. You must completely fill out the application with your relevant education and work experience.
  • The selected candidate must be able to pass a thorough background investigation, but findings may not necessarily disqualify an applicant for employment.
  • For more information on our selection process, please refer to . For tips on interviewing, please visit . 
  • Employees are required to protect the privacy and security of protected health information as defined in State and Federal Law.
  • Public Health relies on office automation (Microsoft Office) and web-based enabled tools, therefore candidates must be proficient and comfortable with computer use to perform functions associated with on-going work.
  • Employees are required to adhere to OSHA/WISHA guidelines including but not limited to completing their mandatory trainings on time and obtaining required immunizations.
  • Regular and reliable attendance, effective communication skills, and development of effective working relationships are requirements of all Public Health positions.
  • When Public Health responds to an emergency, and in accordance with relevant CBA language and/or KC policy and procedures, we may assign duties outside your regular job description. This may involve responding at any time, including nights and weekends, with possible deployment to locations other than the department. 
  • If you need a disability accommodation in the application or testing process, please call the contact number listed on the job announcement.

Union Membership

This is not a represented position.


For questions about this recruitment, please contact Salyse Duckworth, HR Analyst at .