Position Description

Technical Assistance/Senior Operations Associate
Location New York, NY; Oakland or Los Angeles, CA; Washington DC
Job Code 2021-51
# of Openings 1
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About MDRC

MDRC’s mission is to conduct primary research to identify public policies and program services that improve the lives of low-income individuals, families, and children. We not only carry out the research but also strive to make sure policymakers and practitioners understand and can use our research findings. MDRC designs promising new interventions, studies existing programs, and provides technical assistance to help practitioners build better programs. With an annual budget of about $100 million, a staff of more than 300 people, and offices in New York City, Oakland, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC, MDRC seeks to provide reliable, nonpartisan evidence to its public and private partners. We constantly seek ways to do our work better, including designing new tools to help partner organizations improve their programs and pioneering new quantitative and qualitative research methods. MDRC is recognized as a national leader in postsecondary education research and technical assistance.

About the Opportunity

MDRC is seeking a Technical Assistance & Operations Associate to join our Postsecondary Education policy area. MDRC’s Postsecondary Education policy area conducts rigorous research on the effectiveness of programs and policies designed to help low-income students succeed in community colleges and other postsecondary institutions, designs programs and policies using findings from our and other research, and provides evidence-based technical assistance to help colleges and higher education agencies implement proven programs and practices. Examples of current research in the Postsecondary Education policy area can be found here.

For its growing postsecondary education agenda, MDRC is seeking a person to work as part of multiple interdisciplinary teams focused on providing institutions with technical assistance on institutional reform, comprehensive student services, financial aid, and developmental education projects. This position covers a range of activities within MDRC’s national and state-level postsecondary work, focusing on technical assistance and operations with participating colleges and partners, as well as research, external affairs, project development, and dissemination. Candidates should have an interest in postsecondary education programs and strong analytical, communication, and organizational skills. The position requires the ability to lead and manage projects or engagements with external partners or to lead technical assistance activities in collaboration with education researchers.

Responsibilities and Areas of Leadership:

  • Project leadership, development, and management: Work with multidisciplinary research teams to conceptualize and implement rigorous evaluations of postsecondary education initiatives. Conduct reconnaissance and recruit colleges, government agencies, or nonprofits into MDRC evaluations and technical assistance projects. Develop and manage relationships with funders, government agencies, education institutions, and nonprofit organizations to participate in program evaluation and technical assistance projects. Write grant proposals to continue building a portfolio of new projects funded through public and private grants and contracts.
  • Provide technical assistance to colleges: Develop and deliver technical assistance and program-related support to postsecondary education service providers. Serve as liaison between evaluation sites and MDRC project directors. Assess and monitor ongoing program planning, implementation, and operations in program locations and provide formative feedback.
  • Team leadership and management: Work with colleagues at all levels of the organization and develop organizational capacity, including mentoring junior staff in research design and methods, project management, client relationships, and research publication.
  • Conduct qualitative research: Conduct interviews and observations with a broad group of administrators, program staff, policymakers, students, and other key stakeholders. Analyze data, synthesize findings, write reports, and disseminate results to policymakers, practitioners, and social scientists.

Key Qualifications:

Prospective candidates should possess the following qualifications:

  • Education and Experience: Graduate-level degree (either master’s degree with relevant program operations experience or Ph.D.) in education, social policy/science, or a related field preferred. Work experience in postsecondary education institutions preferred. Understanding of social science research methods preferred.
  • Mission and Values Alignment: Demonstrated commitment to education and social policy issues affecting people with low incomes and people of color. Demonstrated cultural competence to understand the lived experiences of low-income students, first-generation college students, and/or students of color and to conduct research and technical assistance in diverse communities.
  • Inclusive Team Management: Strong interpersonal skills, desire to work in a team-oriented environment, and ability to collaborate with many levels of staff and postsecondary partners. Ability to handle multiple tasks and meet deadlines.
  • External Partnership Development: Outstanding communicator with the ability to translate research to a wide array of audiences and to build relationships with various external constituents, including funders, the research community, policymakers, practitioners, and participants. Demonstrated ability to build rapport with and liaise with college and university administrators, state-level higher education leaders, and program officers.

The position is currently remote through January 2022. The position requires travel and is ideally based in MDRC’s New York City, Oakland, Los Angeles, or D.C. office, but location is flexible. Salary and level will be commensurate with education and experience. Comprehensive benefits offered.

Only candidates selected for further consideration will be contacted.

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 HRQuestions@mdrc.org.

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.

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