Valparaiso City Hall

Valparaiso City Hall

John Scheibel, The Times

VALPARAISO — The city soon will hire a director of community engagement.

Heath Carter, chair of the city's advisory Human Relations Council, said at his group's meeting Tuesday that more than 80 job applications have been received, and he expects the position will be filled before the HRC has its next meeting on Jan. 23.

The director will be selected by Mayor Jon Costas and will report to the city administrator. Annual salary is estimated at $50,000 to $60,000 and will be funded through the city's budget with economic development income tax reimbursement.

Primary job duties include cultivating safe and vibrant neighborhoods, working with city leaders to attract diverse talent for city jobs and developing leaders from currently underrepresented groups such as women, people of color, the young and the disabled.

In other business:

  • Carter said the HRC plans to launch a cultural arts grant program in 2018. The grants would support initiatives that promote diversity and traditionally underrepresented groups in the community. Eligible initiatives could be events, speeches, exhibitions, classes or workshops.
  • The HRC heard a presentation by staff from the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. The agency wants to establish relationships with cities and towns, and increase awareness and education of its services. To learn more, visit in.gov/icrc.
  • The HRC heard a presentation by the Valparaiso Community Schools' Culture and Student Services Team. Information about the VCS Teen Court program also was presented. By empowering students and responding to their diverse needs, the schools are fostering a climate that enables all students and staff to achieve success, leaders said.

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