Associate I, Research, Strengthening Public Sector Retirement Systems

Location US-DC-Washington
Posted Date 3 months ago(4/22/2020 4:16 PM)
Job ID
2020-6282
Department
Program-Government Performance
Company
The Pew Charitable Trusts

Overview

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 some of today’s big challenges – and we know we are more effective and creative collectively than we are individually. With Philadelphia as our hometown and the majority of our staff located in Washington, D.C., 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 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 initiatives 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.
 
The Government Performance Portfolio within Program
Pew’s government performance work identifies and advances effective approaches to help solve complex challenges at all levels of government in the United States. 
 
The portfolio’s work can be traced back to our founders’ early efforts to improve the lives of Americans by supporting efforts that promoted health, civic engagement, and democratic ideals. Today, we conduct research on emerging topics, develop data-driven reports, and highlight innovative approaches in addressing complex problems at the federal, state, and local levels. Current initiatives focus on health and human services, government management and budget, family economic stability, and safety and justice.
 
Our teams explore and advance effective policy reforms using credible, timely, and accessible research, assessing public support for change, identifying approaches that have proved successful elsewhere, and bringing together diverse perspectives to find common ground. In addition, our teams use strategic outreach and dissemination to ensure that good information is widely communicated to decision-makers, media, influential stakeholders, and the public.
 
Strengthening Public Sector Retirement Systems 
Public pension reform is one of the most significant fiscal challenges facing states and municipalities today. In fact, our research shows that as of 2016, state governments had pension debts totaling $1.4 trillion. Although some plans are well-funded, in other places, if changes are not made, retirees, workers, and taxpayers will be left with rising costs and unpaid promises for years to come.
 
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every state and municipality has a unique set of policy preferences and budgetary challenges. Given the high stakes for states’ budgets and workers, policymakers need trusted information and guidance to help them consider possible options, understand what is known about each, then make decisions based on the best available information. This project will work with states to examine their challenges and help policymakers consider data-driven policies that result in sustainable retirement systems while maintaining states’ ability to recruit and retain skilled workers.
 
Specifically, the project will: 
  • Provide highly credible, independent, and nonpartisan research, including 50-state reports, to help answer critical questions about which policy actions are most effective at controlling costs, meeting states’ policy goals, and providing workers with retirement security;
  • Provide selected states with customized technical assistance informed by tailored research; and
  • Engage influential stakeholders to build the support necessary to enact reform.
Position Overview 
The associate I will perform data analysis and policy research related to state and local public pension plans, while supporting the entire spectrum of activity under the project. The ideal candidate has an educational and employment background in public policy or related field with experience synthesizing data and research to produce effective and clear written materials useful to policymakers and/or the public. 
 
The position, based in Pew’s Washington, D.C., office, reports to the manager, research, strengthening public sector retirement systems. 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. 

Responsibilities

  • Working collaboratively across a team of researchers, policy analysts, reporters, and communications professionals, help develop and implement research—including but not limited to 50-state assessments and state-specific analyses—on public sector retirement benefits. Contribute constructively at every stage of the project, including:
    • Conducting background research and helping conceptualize policy-relevant project ideas and plans;
    • Helping design and conduct rigorous collection and compilation of quantitative and qualitative data, literature reviews, and other research; and
    • Analyzing and communicating results accurately, both verbally and in writing; and
    • Identifying and developing contracts with external advisors or researchers.
  • Gather information from the field and build internal knowledge and expertise by:
    • Helping build and maintain an internal collection of relevant research and datasets on public sector retirement benefits;
    • Monitoring relevant developments on state pension and retiree health care systems and identifying key emerging trends;
    • Attending and reporting on conferences, trainings and other professional development opportunities;
    • Critically synthesizing information sources, including careful consideration of the limitations and opportunities presented by each; and
    • Building team expertise through internal memos and presentations.
  • Contribute to communication and outreach efforts by helping to develop and execute programming and logistics for in-person and online convenings of policymakers and other key audiences; research and write web-only content; prepare talking points and presentations for senior staff; and other tasks as assigned;
  • Contribute to a high level of quality and accuracy in work by:
    • Maintaining a constant commitment to accuracy in all Pew’s work;
    • Participating fully in Pew’s rigorous internal quality control process.
  • Contribute to and participate in tasks within the department as well as broader Pew-related projects and activities.

Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree is required, advanced degree preferred. 
  • At least one year of applicable experience in a policy arena. 
  • Demonstrated research and analytical skills applied to public policy issues, including an ability to synthesize and summarize large amounts of information and to focus quickly on the essence of an issue. A keen understanding of the importance of such research and disseminating it effectively to policymakers, the media, and the public.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Excel required.
  • A clear, effective writing and presentation style.
  • Ability to think strategically and creatively, adjust to changing circumstances, remain attentive to details and exercise sound judgment in problem-solving. 
  • Ability to develop and move complex projects forward with a high degree of independence within a creative, fast-paced, action-oriented and collegial environment.
  • Demonstrated time and project management skills, including an ability to meet multiple deadlines by maintaining a high level of organization. Ability to establish a systematic course of action to ensure project completion.
  • Political awareness and a nonpartisan perspective and approach would be highly valued. 
  • Able to work in a complex environment with varying partners and extensive analysis and writing skills. Familiarity with state or federal budget challenges or procedures and knowledge of public sector retirement and benefit systems is a plus.
Travel
This position requires occasional domestic travel to meetings and conferences.
 
Total Rewards 
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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