Urban Policy Researcher
The Pew Charitable Trusts uses data to make a difference. For more than 70 years, we have focused on serving the public, invigorating civic life, conducting nonpartisan research, advancing effective public policies and practices, and achieving tangible results. Through rigorous inquiry and knowledge sharing, we inform and engage public-spirited citizens and organizations, linking diverse interests to pursue common cause. We are a dedicated team of researchers, communicators, advocates, subject matter experts, and professionals working on today’s big challenges – and we know we are more effective and creative collectively than we are individually. With Philadelphia as our home town and the majority of our staff located in Washington, DC, our U.S. and international staff find working at Pew personally and professionally rewarding.
Wise stewardship of resources allows Pew employees to pursue work that strategically furthers our philanthropic mission in significant and measurable ways. We collaborate with a diverse range of philanthropic partners, public and private organizations, and concerned citizens who share our interest in fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society. Pew attracts top talent, people of integrity who are service-oriented and willing to take on challenging assignments. We provide competitive pay and benefits, a healthy work-life balance, and a respectful and inclusive workplace. Pew employees are proud of their colleagues, proud of where they work, and proud of the institution’s reputation.
Philadelphia Research Initiative
The Philadelphia Research Initiative produces timely, well-documented and highly readable reports and issue briefs on issues facing Philadelphia for the benefit of decision makers, the news media and the public at large. Topics come from a number of subject areas including demographic trends, government performance and innovation, tax and fiscal policy, K-12 education, economic development and job creation, and public safety. In addition, the Initiative performs research in conjunction with the Philadelphia Policy Exchange, designed to stimulate focused conversations among policymakers and policy influencers on a range of issues. Those issues include, but are not limited to, evaluating tax incentives, improving tax collections, managing revenue volatility through rainy day funds, strengthening public sector retirement systems, delivering cost-effective corrections services, and reducing opioid abuse.
The Initiative’s staff conducts research using a range of methodologies, including representative-sample polling, and looks beyond the city for relevant information from comparable cities. The research typically is based on public or proprietary data, peer-reviewed research methodologies, close consultation with subject-matter experts, and regular interaction with officials of local governments and organizations. Most of its reports lay out the facts and findings on a given issue. Some go further to discuss the data-based pros and cons of various policy options. In either case, however, the Initiative does not advocate for specific solutions or favor any particular point of view. Its mission is to be an honest broker on the issues and effective contributor to civic discourse in Philadelphia and, where applicable, other cities. The goal is to be a consistent and effective contributor to civic discourse in Philadelphia. Examples of the Initiative’s work are available at www.pewtrusts.org/philaresearch.
The Initiative’s work products consist of the following:
- Major research reports that get to the bottom of complex and important issues, often making use of data-based comparative examples from other cities.
- Research briefs on issues that require illumination or updating but not full-length reports.
- Shorter “web analyses” that provide updates on issues, especially those covered by previous reports or briefs, and highlight new, city-related data.
- An annual “State of the City” report that tracks key indicators about Philadelphia’s condition—from crime to employment to demographic change—over time and in relation to comparable cities.
- Random-sample polling to measure Philadelphians’ attitudes about the city in general, policy issues in particular, elected leaders, city services, and residents’ own situations.
- A monthly e-newsletter that reports on work that the project has published and intends to publish, developments related to past reports, and the work of other Pew programs.
- Public presentation of research findings to civic groups, other research organizations, and governmental bodies or officials, including City Council.
The Initiative’s work products are produced primarily by staff members working collegially and effectively within the team and across the larger Pew organization, as needed. When specialized expertise is required, the Initiative hires external consultants but continues to manage the product.
In addition, working with the Philadelphia Policy Exchange, staff help organize convenings to highlight the Initiative’s work and engage the public and policymakers in conversation about issues and policy options.
The Philadelphia Research Initiative is a Trusts-operated project that is part of Pew’s Philadelphia Program. Examples of the Initiative’s work are available at the Philadelphia Research Initiative. The officer, who is based in Pew’s Philadelphia office, reports to the Director, Philadelphia Research Initiative. The officer’s job is to help conceptualize, design and complete research and analysis on key issues affecting the city of Philadelphia. A research background, relevant experience, expertise in one of the Initiative’s key subjects, and/or strong writing skills are desirable. The position has a set time frame that could be extended based on the success of the program, funding sources, and board decisions on continued support.
- Contribute to the conceptualization, design and implementation of research and analysis on key issues affecting the city of Philadelphia.
- Identify possible topics and develop the scope of research needed to fully explore the topics.
- Conduct background and primary research, including empirical analysis; compilation, analysis and presentation of data sets; literature reviews; and interviews.
- Active engagement with and presentation of research findings to relevant policymakers and other stakeholders.
- Conduct pre-survey literature searches and help draft public opinion surveys.
- Develop and write major policy research reports and shorter issue briefs that are relevant to policy deliberations and easily understood by the public, media and policymakers, often in collaboration with external writers and consultants.
- When appropriate, consult and work with Pew subject-matter experts based in Washington, DC and elsewhere.
- Prepare charts and tables as needed. Edit and proof draft documents for accuracy.
- Contribute to and/or supervise the monthly newsletter and web analyses.
- Manage external consultants hired for specific expertise as needed.
- Recommend and implement effective dissemination techniques, including written products and online communications strategies, working with Pew’s communications department.
- Monitor and identify emerging urban policy issues that are relevant to Philadelphia and to the priorities of the Philadelphia Research Initiative.
- Maintain, strengthen and expand a broad knowledge of research methodologies and practices.
- Participate in conferences, seminars and other professional development activities to keep current in a broad range of urban policy issues.
- Contribute to and participate in other work tasked to the Initiative as well as broader Pew-related projects and activities.
- Direct Initiative staff in writing internal documentation and processing contracts for outside consultants. Ensure that contracts and sub-grants submitted to the Director are complete, accurate and timely.
- Bachelor’s degree required; an advanced degree preferred.
- At least eight years of applicable experience in the field gained through professional education, training and professional experience, including demonstrated research, data collection, analytical, and writing skills, including a proven facility with quantitative data.
- Relevant experience in public policy, the public sector, academia, journalism or with nonprofits preferred, with evidence of increased responsibilities over time.
- Special expertise in at least one city-focused subject area—public safety, transportation, human services, government operations, etc.—or proven knowledge and command of city-related data sources.
- Excellent written and oral communications skills, including ability to briefly summarize the essence of issues and means to address them. Clear, effective writing style.
- Ability to synthesize and summarize large amounts of information and to focus quickly on the essence of an issue, determine whether it is ripe for in-depth analysis, and identify the means to examine it.
- A task-oriented style, with focus on achieving clear and ambitious goals. Demonstrated ability to meet multiple deadlines by maintaining a high level of organization.
- Ability to develop and move projects forward with a high degree of independence and autonomy.
- Strong interpersonal skills; ability to develop and manage productive relationships with consultants, partners, and others who contribute to the development of a project by anticipating possible outcomes.
- Excellent listening skills.
- Ability to work professionally and collegially within a culture that emphasizes excellence and teamwork.
- Experience working successfully with a broad range of stakeholders.
- Attention to detail, including exacting standards to maintain accuracy and impartiality in all work products.
- Knowledge of current trends and issues affecting Philadelphia specifically and cities in general preferred.
The position is based in Philadelphia with overnight travel for meetings and conferences as required, as well as occasional trips to Pew’s Washington, DC office.
As this is a full-time position, we offer a competitive salary and benefit program, including: comprehensive, affordable health care through medical, dental, and vision coverage; financial security with life and disability insurance; opportunities to save using health savings and flexible spending accounts; retirement benefits to help prepare for the future; and work/life benefits to maintain a good balance.
The Pew Charitable Trusts is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. Pew considers qualified applicants for employment without regard to age, sex, ethnicity, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity, military/veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.
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Job posted: 2019-05-06