Now accepting applications!
JLARC employs a full-time staff with backgrounds in public policy, public administration, program evaluation, political science, government, law, economics, and finance.
RECRUITING: Research Analysts
The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) is recruiting research analysts in Richmond, Virginia. JLARC is a highly respected organization that conducts in-depth nonpartisan public policy research to support the legislative decision-making process of the Virginia General Assembly.
JLARC analysts have the opportunity to engage in
- primary research through surveys, interviews, and other methods;
- advanced quantitative analysis; and
- synthesis of findings and development of recommendations.
Successful JLARC analysts have strong analytical and statistical skills, sharp critical thinking and writing skills, and work well in multi-disciplinary teams. A master’s degree in public policy, program evaluation, or a related discipline is required. Applied research experience in a policy-related or program evaluation field is preferred. Some overnight travel may be necessary.
JLARC offers a competitive salary and benefits package. Salaries for entry-level positions start in the upper 40s, depending on education and experience levels, with a 9 percent merit-based increase after one year. The value of state-paid benefits—including health insurance, retirement, and life insurance—is between $14,000 and $24,000 per year at the entry level.
To apply for a position, email a letter, resume, graduate GPA, GRE or similar graduate admission test score, list of relevant graduate coursework, salary history, and a list of three references to email@example.com.
JLARC is an equal opportunity employer.
Why work at JLARC?
Working at JLARC presents a unique opportunity to influence public policy and improve state government. Working here represents a great balance between doing meaningful work, but also living in a vibrant community alongisde other talented colleagues committed to better government.
Our work saves taxpayer dollars and leads to major improvements in important state government programs
Since its inception in 1975, JLARC has made recommendations that have cumulatively saved more than $1 billion. We are often tasked with proposing ways to improve some of the state's most important programs. Some of our recent studies exemplify how working here allows analysts to play a key role in savings millions of dollars and fundamentally improving services.
Finding ways to ensure Medicaid program integrity
The General Assembly directed JLARC to review the eligibility determination process for Medicaid benefits in Virginia (click here for report). Virginia’s Medicaid program spent $8.6 billion in FY15, so ensuring only those eligible for services recieve them is critical. We found many ways the eligibility determination process should be improved. For example, Virginia’s local departments of social services struggle to make timely eligibility decisions, which can delay access to health care for eligible applicants such as pregnant women. These departments have also been unable to make some renewal decisions on time due to changes to the eligibility process and high workloads.
When renewals are performed late, Medicaid recipients who have become ineligible continue to receive benefits. We estimated that during FY14 alone, between $21 million and $38 million was spent on benefits for ineligible recipients whose renewals were processed late. Among our 16 report recommendations were to use the state’s central processing unit to address the backlog of overdue renewals. Doing so could save between $13 million and $24 million.
Making higher education more affordable
The General Assembly directed JLARC to review the state’s higher education system, with particular emphasis on understanding why it has become so expensive and ways to make it more affordable (click here for report). We found that spending per student, after adjusting for inflation, increased 24 percent between FY02 and FY12. The majority of this increase was on the non-academic services known as auxiliary enterprises, including intercollegiate athletics. In fact, twelve percent of what students paid in tuition and fees was used to fund college sports. At several schools, more than $1,500 from what each student paid in tuition in fees was used to subsidize athletics programs that did not generate sufficient revenue. Among our series’ nearly 40 recommendations or options were for the legislature to--for the first time--constrain how much tuition and fee revenue schools could use to subsidize athletics.
The General Assembly passed a new law limiting how much schools could rely on students to fund intercollegiate athletics. Further, to promote transparency and comparability, institutions are now required to use a standard way to calculate and report fees. Clear standardized fee information will be posted on each school’s website.
Richmond is a great place to live
We are located in the state’s capital of Richmond. Our city is increasingly lauded as one of the emerging metropolitan areas in the southeast region for things such as its restaurants (click here). The city offers many cultural and recreational options (click here), including a vibrant outdoor scene (click here). Richmond is only a short drive away from beaches, mountains, and popular destinations such as Washington, D.C. Richmond provides many of the advantages of larger metropolitan areas but with a lower cost of living and less traffic congestion.
We offer competitive compensation and a healthy work-life balance
Our agency offers high-performing staff members opportunities for advancement in rank and salary. JLARC employees are able to telecommute one day per week. We also offer flexible work schedules. State employees have access to comprehensive health care coverage, competitive retirement benefits, and flexible leave programs.
Our staff is collegial, talented, and dedicated
Our agency’s culture is defined by our people. JLARC analysts hold master’s degrees in public policy or related disciplines, and many have come to JLARC with a variety of professional experiences, such as policy research at the federal level, consulting, environmental law, and corporate finance. While many have had diverse professional experiences, everyone shares a passion for effective and efficient government.
Some of our newer analysts say that
- "JLARC’s organizational culture is different than what you might expect to find in a government agency. This is in no small part attributable to the team-based approach used to perform our research”
- "the close collaboration and sharing of ideas that occurs in a team-based structure makes JLARC a very collegial and ‘academic’ type of work environment."
Our studies are objective, nonpartisan, and research-driven
Although JLARC staff report to the General Assembly, the organization is nonpartisan and independent. Decision makers may sometimes not be pleased with our findings, but nonetheless expect and appreciate the objectivity and depth of our studies. As a result, staff are not constrained by outside pressures that could otherwise compromise the quality or integrity of our research.
Our research encompasses all facets of state government
JLARC can be directed to evaluate any program or entity that receives state funding. As a result, study topics can vary from year to year and provide staff with an opportunity be involved in a variety of policy areas, keeping the research process fresh and challenging. JLARC studies typically examine entire systems and programs rather than finite issues. In addition, staff are directed to examine high-profile and time-sensitive issues, such as our evaluation of the Port of Virginia (click here for report).
We are a recognized leader in legislative program evaluation
JLARC reports are consistently recognized for their quality and impact. The National Legislative Program Evaluation Society (NLPES), a section of the National Conference of State Legislatures, has awarded JLARC its Excellence in Research Methods Award for several studies and also recognized JLARC with its Impact Award nearly every year during the past decade.
State Legislatures magazine described JLARC as setting a “standard of excellence,” and “one of the oldest and most successful legislative oversight groups in the nation,” while Governing magazine characterized JLARC as “thorough in their review and evaluation of agency and program performance information.”
A recent higher education textbook, State and Local Government: The Essentials (Bowman and Kearney, 2012) notes that “Virginia’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) is regarded as a model for the rest of the country.” The Richmond Times-Dispatch noted in an editorial that “JLARC enjoys a reputation for solid research and sound advice” and that its recommendations “command respect” (2009).