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Human Services Researcher - SNAP Employment and Training and Workforce Development Programs

Job ID 1498-7

Position Description:

We are seeking researchers to lead evidence-based program development and technical assistance primarily for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services and state and local agencies that implement the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Mathematica is seeking researchers who will collaborate with clients and stakeholders to identify, design, guide, and carry out innovation and quality improvement efforts; analyze policy and operations to make recommendations for improvements; deliver program technical assistance and training; analyze program data; research policy and procedures; and lead the development of products, such as trainings, written tools, best practices guides, guidance documents, reports, and videos. Researchers are needed to lead projects focused on the SNAP employment and training (E&T) program but may also support other projects in the area of food assistance, workforce, or family support.

The following projects illustrate the type of work we currently have under way.

  • Working collaboratively with SNAP agencies to iteratively test implementation strategies and gather information on their success, using techniques such as rapid cycle evaluation.
  • Advising SNAP workforce development programs on evidence-based ways to increase program engagement and on continuous improvement approaches to learn, innovate, and improve.
  • Assessing how federal, state, and local SNAP E&T agencies collect, validate, and use data for program monitoring and program improvement and what technical assistance is needed.  
  • Providing federal staff with support to conduct research and analysis of SNAP E&T data and develop policy, guidance, and TA materials for regional offices and states; monitor state E&T programs; and provide federal staff with policy training.
  • Helping agencies and grantees build their own capacity to use data and evidence to drive decisions.
  • Assessing program implementation, cost, and quality.

Duties may include:

  • Leading analysis of policy, regulations, and operations of SNAP and workforce programs
  • Engaging with groups of clients and stakeholders to build trust and rapport, gather input, and provide thoughtful recommendations
  • Using human-centered design, behavioral economics, and rapid cycle evaluation principles to guide program staff and policymakers in making evidence-informed decisions about program selection and adaptation
  • Developing products, such as (1) memoranda and executive summaries of key findings, recommendations for improvement, and practice-focused lessons learned; (2) practitioner-focused documents, including implementation guidance, training curricula, and strategic planning tools; (3) case study summaries; and (4) toolkits to help stakeholders improve policy implementation
  • Presenting findings and developing innovative approaches to disseminating information to policy, practitioner, and researcher audiences
  • Contributing to proposals for new projects for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, other government agencies, and foundations
  • Mentoring staff to support their professional development and growth

Position Requirements:

  • Master’s degree in public policy, economics, sociology, psychology, social work, or a related field
  • Five or more years of work experience focused on program improvement and policies related to SNAP, SNAP E&T, other food assistance, or other workforce programs
  • Prior experience working with/in federal, state, or local agencies with communities that have been marginalized is strongly preferred
  • Ability to use evidence to inform decision making or make concrete recommendations
  • Ability to identify and collect data, and perform quantitative and/or qualitative data analysis
  • Ability to work well in teams
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including ability to deal tactfully with clients and stakeholders, engage with diverse partners, and facilitate joint problem solving
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including for non-technical audiences
  • Demonstrated success in managing and leading teams, collaborating, mentoring, and delegating
  • Experience using human-centered design and rapid cycle evaluation principles is strongly preferred

About Mathematica:

Mathematica applies expertise at the intersection of data, methods, policy, and practice to improve well-being around the world. We collaborate closely with public- and private-sector partners to translate big questions into deep insights that improve programs, refine strategies, and enhance understanding using data science and analytics. Our work yields actionable information to guide decisions in wide-ranging policy areas, from employment, education, early childhood, and supports for families, to nutrition, health, disability, and international development. Mathematica offers our employees competitive salaries, and a comprehensive benefits package, as well as the advantages of being 100 percent employee owned. As an employee stock owner, you will experience financial benefits of ESOP holdings that have increased in tandem with the company’s growth and financial strength. You will also be part of an independent, employee-owned firm that is able to define and further our mission, enhance our quality and accountability, and steadily grow our financial strength. Read more about our benefits here:

One of Mathematica’s core values is a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our research is more robust because it is informed by a variety of diverse perspectives, and our mission to improve societal well-being is strengthened by a greater understanding of issues and challenges facing the populations we serve. Mathematica’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion is woven into our everyday actions, policies, and practices. We are dedicated to maintaining a work environment in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity. We offer Employee Resources Groups on a variety of topics, local diversity and inclusion activities in each office, and a Diversity council.

A cover letter and CV and a writing sample or presentation on a policy-related topic for a relevant area that demonstrates analysis skills must be submitted at the time of application via our online application system. The deadline for applying to be considered for an interview is December 31, 2021.

Additionally, three letters of recommendation should be submitted directly by your references to

This position offers an anticipated annual base salary range of $90,000-$130,000. This position may be eligible for a discretionary bonus based on company and individual performance.

Available locations: Princeton, NJ; Washington, DC; Cambridge, MA; Chicago, IL; Oakland, CA; Seattle, WA; Ann Arbor, MI. While the company is currently working from home, we ask candidates to identify their preferred location for when we return to working in-person.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, and basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, and basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.

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