MDRC is a non-profit located in New York City and Oakland, CA, and they are at the forefront of the science of doing good.

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No matter what you’re doing, finding out what works and what doesn’t is the key to success. It may sound overly simple, but it’s amazing how many people, companies, and organizations keep doing things that don’t work based on thoughts and feelings. Hard, scientific research is often the only real way to figure out what works. Unfortunately, science and non-profits often don’t mix (remember how much trouble I had finding a math-related non-profit last week). One exception is MDRC, an organization that “is best known for mounting large-scale evaluations of real-world policies and programs targeted to low-income people.” They’re at the forefront of the science of doing good, and “over the years, MDRC has brought its unique approach to an ever-growing range of policy areas and target populations.”

Researching for the Greater Good

I hate to make this post mostly quotes, but MDRC’s site does a great job of communicating what they’re all about. I think the following paragraph sums MDRC sum exceptionally well:

Too often, public policies that profoundly affect the lives of low-income families are shaped by hunches, anecdotes, and untested assumptions. Ineffective policies waste precious resources and feed public cynicism about government. Most important, such policies may hinder the very people they are designed to help. MDRC was created to learn what works in social policy — and to make sure that the evidence we produce informs the design and implementation of policies and programs.

MDRC has 5 policy areas that are their main focuses – K – 12 Education, Higher Education, Families & Children, Workers & Communities, and Welfare & Barriers to Employment. If you’re passionate about any of these areas and stimulated by social science when it’s actually practiced scientifically, then working at MDRC might be a dream come true. Your first move should be to check out their Jobs page. You’ll see 5 job postings – a couple of which appear to be entry level friendly. Those include Research/Management Assistant – Accountability and Deployment Department (New York, NY) and Technical Research Assistant/Analyst – Welfare and Barriers to Employment (Oakland, CA), and Technical Research Assistant/Analyst – Young Adults and Postsecondary Education (New York, NY). You can apply for these positions by sending a cover letter and resume to jobs@mdrc.org , and you can find out more about working at MDRC on their website.

Links to Help You Begin Your Research

What do you think about taking a scientific approach to doing good?

We've identified MDRC as having career opportunities in the following categories:


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