Posted: Sep 19, 2022

2022-54 Research Associate

MDRC - New York, NY
Application Deadline: N/A

MDRC is seeking a Research Associate to join its Economic Mobility, Housing, and Communities (EMHC) policy area to develop and conduct program evaluations and studies in the areas of occupational skills training, workforce development, career pathways, and work-based learning. The ideal candidate would have deep content knowledge in the research literature, policy environment, and programs and practices related to workforce training operated by community colleges, nonprofit organizations, for-profit providers, and workforce intermediaries. This position is open to qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods researchers, and the individual will work on projects within MDRC’s EMHC policy area and projects housed within MDRC’s Center for Effective Career and Technical Education.

We are looking for PhD-level candidates with strong academic backgrounds in higher education, sociology, public policy, or other related fields. The ideal candidate will have extensive subject area knowledge, an interest in equity-based research and approaches, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a desire to help develop MDRC’s growing body of work in this area. The candidate should also have a significant interest in social policy and in producing and disseminating policy research for non-research audiences, working with government agencies and with education and training providers, including community colleges, non-profits, for-profits, and intermediaries that operate in the workforce development space. An interest in and knowledge of the intersection between workforce development, the future of work, and the growing green economy is also a plus. The ideal candidate will also have experience applying the principles of culturally responsive research or evaluation to new and existing projects.     



  • Conduct research. Work with multidisciplinary teams to design and conduct studies to understand the effects of education and training for individuals and families with low incomes with a focus on occupational skills training, employment, and education programs. Help to develop research plans, including proposals to develop projects for both public and private funders. Conduct research studies and evaluations, including writing analysis plans, leading data collection and analyses, and writing reports summarizing research results.
  • Project leadership and development. Work with multidisciplinary research and technical assistance teams to develop ideas for new projects and topic areas. Identify opportunities for additional evaluation and technical assistance work and build a portfolio of new projects.
  • Team leadership and management. Work collaboratively and in an inclusive manner with colleagues at all levels of the organization to contribute to oversight of project budgets, schedules, and staffing to ensure high-quality project delivery. Contribute to the development of, and build relationships with, government agencies, education institutions, and workforce organizations to participate in program evaluation and technical assistance projects.
  • Dissemination of findings. Improve future policy and program implementation by authoring publications and developing strategies to disseminating findings to relevant audiences. Communicate with funders, policymakers, practitioners, social scientists, and new audiences through conference presentations, publications, and other communications mediums.



  • PhD or equivalent with relevant research expertise as evidenced through publications, presentations, and overall body of work.
  • Candidates should have knowledge of research designs; strong communication, organizational, and analytical skills; and the ability to both lead and manage research projects involving external partners that include communities served or affected by the research. They should be a team player with the ability to work creatively and effectively with staff at all levels.
  • Demonstrated ability to build relationships with external constituents, including funders, the research community, policymakers, practitioners, and participants.
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate with staff from diverse backgrounds and experiences, including the ability to mentor and help develop staff who are earlier in their careers.
  • Willingness to build and establish an inclusive work environment on projects led by the candidate.
  • Comfortable working in a team-oriented environment.
  • Ability to work independently, handle multiple tasks simultaneously, and meet deadlines.
  • Expertise in qualitative, quantitative, or mixed research methods, including leading original data collection.
  • Background in one of the following areas strongly preferred: workforce training and education, community-college career pathways and technical education, work-based learning.
  • Strong writing, oral communication, interviewing, and interpersonal skills.


This position is part of a collective bargaining unit under Social Policy Worker United (SPWU) – Local 57 of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME).


Location: The position is ideally based in MDRC’s New York City, Los Angeles, or Washington, DC, office. MDRC is also open to remote work and anticipates a hybrid work environment through November 2022, regardless of location.


This search is being managed by our Executive Search Partner, Insight Executive Search. For more information or to apply for the position, please contact:

Aaron Schmidt, President

[email protected]

Instructions: When submitting your application, please include:

  • Resume
  • Cover letter
  • Written research


Only candidates selected for further consideration will be contacted. Please note that the health and safety of our employees and candidates is very important to us and that interviews (when scheduled) will be conducted via video conferencing. As a Federally Contracted employer, MDRC is in full compliance with all applicable regulations including, but not limited to, recent changes that require vaccination of employees of federal contractors. All employees are required to be fully vaccinated with one of the available COVID-19 vaccinations, unless they have sought and received an exemption from this policy due to a disability or other medical condition, or because of a sincerely held religious belief. Accommodations are granted in accordance with applicable law and regulations. Applicants must submit proof of vaccination or request and submit an applicable request for accommodation during the offer stage.

MDRC is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. No qualified applicant, employee, intern, volunteer, or apprenticeship trainee will be discriminated against on the basis of his, her, or their race (including traits historically associated with race, including but not limited to hair texture and protective hairstyles), color, national origin (including physical, cultural or linguistic characteristics), marriage to or association with persons of a national origin group, tribal affiliation, membership in or association with an organization identified with or seeking to promote the interests of a national origin group, name that is associated with a national origin group, accent, language use, immigration status, citizenship, possession of a driver’s license issued to persons unable to prove their lawful presence in the United States, and other definitions under California or other states’ laws, ancestry, creed, religion, religious creed (including religious dress and grooming practices), age, citizenship, veteran and/or military status, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender, gender identity (including transgender status), gender expression, gender transitioning or perceived gender transitioning, marital status or civil partnership/union status, physical or mental disability (actual or perceived), medical condition (including cancer and genetic characteristics), genetic information, protected medical leaves (requesting or being approved for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act) or similar state family medical leave laws, domestic violence victim status, political affiliation, or any other basis prohibited by applicable federal, state or local law. Legal work authorization is required. To request a reasonable accommodation during any stage of MDRC&’s employment process due to a disability, please contact [email protected]

MDRC’s dedication to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion exceed compliance requirements. We believe that recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce of all backgrounds and perspectives improves the quality and relevance of our research, as well as the daily experiences of our staff. By fostering an equitable culture of inclusivity and belonging, we seek an environment in which staff feel welcomed, valued, and engaged in their work.