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Job Details

Human Services Program Improvement Lead
  • Job ID #: 933
  • Functional Area: Research
  • Position Type: Regular-Status Full-Time
  • Experience Required: 3 - 5 Years
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Department: Research
  • Education Required: Masters Degree
  • Relocation Provided:


Position Description:

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 health, education, early childhood, and family support to nutrition, employment, 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.

In our Human Services Division, staff work on projects in policy areas that include:

  • Family support (sample projects: advising state TANF administrators on evidence-based ways to increase program engagement, providing technical assistance to reduce youth homelessness, advising staff in healthy marriage programs on ways to improve program engagement)
  • Education (sample projects: building state and district capacity to use data, studying supports for teachers and principals, and conducting a systematic review of research on education interventions)
  • Early childhood (sample projects: facilitating and evaluation a Community of Practice with grantees in Detroit implementing high quality early childhood education and conducting a systematic review of research of home visiting programs)
  • Labor (sample projects: engaging workforce development programs in a continuous improvement approach, devising and testing behavioral-science informed changes in unemployment insurance programs)
  • Nutrition (sample projects: researching initiatives to address childhood hunger and estimating the impact of changes to the SNAP program)

We are looking for a Program Improvement Lead to join our team in the Human Services Division and focus on evidence-based technical assistance (EBTA) for TANF and other human services agencies. EBTA involves using evidence-informed practices to support and coach agencies as they seek to improve the services they offer. Program Improvement Leads typically work across multiple domestic policy areas. They may also work on primary research studies (e.g. program evaluations), perform secondary research (e.g. analyzing existing data or conducting a systematic review of research), or provide technical assistance on evaluation design and program implementation to other organizations.

Key project activities for Human Services Program Improvement Leads include the following:

  • Conduct site visits and phone calls to gather information, analyze results (includes diagnosing problems, identifying factors that can support or inhibit change, assessing program readiness for change).
  • Guide agencies as they develop plans for program improvement, such as adapting an evidence-based practice for use with their population. This typically includes facilitating strategic planning sessions in-person and by phone; helping the program prioritize its ideas; and ensuring that the connection between their strategies and outcomes is logical and feasible.
  • Support organizations as they pilot test new approaches. This involves collecting and analyzing data as well as developing implementation recommendations.
  • Train program staff on frameworks for evidence-informed program improvement, effective leadership and supervision, and other science-informed strategies.
  • Write products such as (1) memoranda, briefs, or reports summarizing key findings, potential recommendations for improvement, and practice-focused lessons learned and (2) practitioner-focused documents such as implementation guidance, training curricula, and strategic planning tools.

We offer our employees a stimulating team-oriented work environment, competitive salaries, and a comprehensive benefits package, as well as the advantages of employee ownership.

Position Requirements:

  • Master’s degree in public policy, public administration, organizational behavior, social work, sociology, economics, statistics, or a related field, or equivalent experience
  • Experience working in or providing technical assistance and support to human services agencies or non-governmental organizations
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including a demonstrated ability to deal tactfully and diplomatically with clients and other external stakeholders
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including the ability to present to large groups and facilitate group discussions
  • Analytic thinking about organizations: the ability to recognize inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and other program-wide factors that keep programs from accomplishing their goals
  • Patience and flexibility; being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in programs’ attitudes and capabilities
  • Ability and willingness to travel domestically
  • Working knowledge of current policy issues in TANF is required. Working knowledge of current policy issues in other human services programs is desirable
  • Rigorous training in quantitative and/or qualitative research methods is desirable
  • Experience using human-centered design or design thinking approaches is desirable

Please submit a cover letter, resume, transcripts (unofficial transcripts are acceptable), and contact information for three references. You will be asked to attach these materials during the online application process.

Various federal agencies with whom we contract require that staff successfully undergo a background investigation or security clearance as a condition of working on the project. If you are assigned to such a project, you will be required to obtain the requisitesecurity clearance.

Applicants must submit a cover letter, resume, writing sample that demonstrates analytic thinking (preferably illustrating research or analysis skills on a policy-related topic), transcripts (unofficial or official), and contact information for three references.

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.