Six additional community members, from a variety of interesting backgrounds, have been recruited to participate in the second year of the NJTPA’s innovative pilot Outreach Liaison Program. Two previous participants also are continuing with the program, which kicked off in 2021. Profiles of the eight liaisons are here.
Participants receive training about the NJTPA and conducting outreach and then go on to serve as trusted advocates, leveraging their community connections to help to gather public input for various projects and programs across the region.
The Outreach Liaison Program is intended to increase diversity, inclusion, and participation of groups that have been traditionally under-represented in transportation planning work. The new recruits include individuals with experience working with low-income families, senior citizens and care givers, individuals with disabilities, children, minorities, and those with limited English proficiency.
Outreach liaison activities might include attending community events on behalf of the NJTPA, distributing information about projects or public surveys, organizing and conducting community conversations, or sharing information through their social media and other online networks. Outreach liaisons who are bilingual may also provide translation services.
In the program’s first year, NJTPA outreach liaisons helped engage the public in the development of a Regional Active Transportation Plan, which will be completed this year and aims to establish a safe and functional regional network of pedestrian and bicycle facilities. Outreach liaisons have also helped promote subregional studies in Essex and Somerset counties.
Beyond providing the NJTPA with valuable insights for its projects and programs, outreach liaisons also gain valuable skills in networking, communication, event planning, meeting facilitation, and public outreach and engagement techniques. Participants are required to live in the 13-county NJTPA region and receive a stipend for their time.
The NJTPA is conducting the Outreach Liaison Program with support from the Public Outreach and Engagement Team at Rutgers University’s Voorhees Transportation Center. To learn more about the program visit www.njtpa.org/OutreachLiaisons.