JLARC is now recruiting

Methodologist—starting salary $105,000 to $130,000+ with upward potential

Job role

As the Chief Methodologist at the Virginia General Assembly’s research and oversight agency, JLARC, you will consult and advise research teams on technical aspects of research, ensuring rigor, objectivity, and quality. You will meticulously review the research design and analysis approach for 5 to 8 major research projects each year. You will periodically do complex quantitative analyses yourself and guide analysts doing complex analysis of their own. You will interact regularly with all JLARC analysts, providing one-on-one and group training to enhance their research skills. As a member of JLARC's internal quality assurance team, you will help ensure our findings are well supported by evidence and that analysis results are accurately interpreted.

Primary job responsibilities

  • Consult and advise study teams on research design, ensuring the most appropriate quantitative and qualitative methodologies are used;
  • Serve as a member of JLARC’s internal quality assurance team, reviewing progress at multiple points in every study;
  • Conduct complex quantitative analyses using appropriate statistical software;
  • Review survey design, develop sampling plans, and advise on survey administration;
  • Train and coach JLARC analysts as needed to strengthen their research skills; and
  • Conduct quick turnaround, complex reviews of fiscal or racial impacts of proposed legislation during the legislative session.

Required 

  • Advanced degree in research methods, economics, public policy, program evaluation, statistics, data science, or other quantitative social science discipline;
  • At least five years of applied research experience in a policy-related area;
  • Superior technical competence in research design, statistical modeling, and causal inference;
  • Experience with survey design, sampling, and administration;
  • Expert-level data analysis and data management skills, including working with very large data sets;
  • Expert-level knowledge of statistical analysis software such as Stata or SAS; and
  • Highly effective interpersonal skills.

Preferred

  • 10+ years experience in similar or identical role; and
  • Experience mentoring and training less experienced researchers.

About JLARC

The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) is a highly respected agency that has been providing nonpartisan program evaluation for the Virginia General Assembly for 50 years. We were recognized in 2020 by the National Legislative Program Evaluation Society for our organizational excellence. You can learn about our agency and the impact we have had improving state government on our website.

JLARC’s success is based on a highly collegial and supportive work environment that prioritizes teamwork. Our core values are integrity, rigor, objectivity, and nonpartisanship. Our skilled staff are driven by our mission to serve the public interest by making government work better.

What we offer

  • Starting salary range of $105,000 to $130,000 (negotiable for very highly qualified applicants), with opportunities for future salary increases for strong performance;
  • Good work-life balance, including teleworking two days per week when work demands permit; and
  • Comprehensive benefits package including health insurance, paid holidays, leave, and retirement plan.

Location

Richmond, Virginia, the state capital, is known for its beautiful neighborhoods, arts scene, outdoor recreation opportunities, and outstanding dining and breweries. VCU, a major research university and health system, is located downtown. The Blue Ridge mountains, beautiful beaches, and the nation’s capital are each within a two-hour drive.

To apply

Send a cover letter and resume to jlarc.jobs@jlarc.virginia.gov 

 

JLARC is an equal opportunity employer. The position will remain open until filled.

More information about working at JLARC and living in the Richmond metro area is shown below.

Why work for JLARC?

 

Working for JLARC presents a unique opportunity to influence public policy and improve state government. Working here represents a great balance of meaningful work with talented colleagues and life in a vibrant community.

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, a section of the National Conference of State Legislatures, recognized JLARC as the nation's top office with its prestigious Excellence in Evaluation Award in 2020. The organization 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 "one of the oldest and most successful legislative oversight groups in the nation." Governing magazine characterized JLARC as “thorough in their review and evaluation of agency and program performance information.”

Our work supports major policy decisions and improvements in government programs
Since its inception, JLARC has made recommendations that have cumulatively saved about $1.2 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 shaping state policy and fundamentally improving government services.

Examining how Virginia could legalize marijuana and establish a regulated commercial market
In 2020, JLARC reviewed how the state could legalize marijuana, with a focus on how the prior harm to disproportionately affected individuals and communities could be redressed through legalization.

We explained the numerous legislative decisions the General Assembly would need to make to legalize marijuana, ranging from establishing a legal age for marijuana use to authorizing the development of a statewide market for commercial adult use marijuana sales. JLARC staff also analyzed the potential impacts to public health and the criminal justice system that would result from legalization.

We also found that Black Virginians were 3.5 times more likely to be arrested for a marijuana offense, and designed a variety of “social equity” initiatives the state could implement. In total, the report included 75 different recommendations and policy options for the General Assembly to consider as it contemplates legalization.

Transforming Virginia’s foster care system
In 2018, JLARC reviewed the state’s foster care system, which serves more than 5,000 children and families. We found that the state lacked a reliable and comprehensive way to identify problems in Virginia’s foster care system. In addition, Virginia did not have a confidential mechanism to receive complaints related to foster care.

We also found many children in Virginia’s foster care system are staying longer than necessary, which can negatively affect their development and outcomes later in life. Virginia had among the nation’s highest rate of children aging out of foster care. Local social services were not always filing for termination of biological parents’ rights when required and not always providing transition services. Many foster care managers were supervising too many caseworkers.

The 2019 General Assembly enacted 23 of JLARC’s recommendations to improve Virginia’s foster care system. The 2020 General Assembly implemented an additional 7 recommendations from the study.

The Richmond metro area is a great place to live

We are located in the state’s capital of Richmond, which is increasingly lauded as one of the emerging metropolitan areas in the southeast region for things such as its cuisine. The metro Richmond area is increasingly cited among the nation's most livable regions. The city offers many cultural and recreational options, including a vibrant outdoor sceneTime magazine found that Richmond attracted the second highest percentage of people 25 to 34 years old of any area in the nation. 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 have been telecommuting full time during the pandemic). 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, all share a passion for effective and efficient government. 

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. Staff are not constrained by outside pressures that could otherwise compromise the quality or integrity of our research.

Our research covers many different programs, agencies, and policy topics

JLARC can be directed to evaluate any program or entity that receives state funding. Study topics 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. Many JLARC reports, such as our evaluation of the state's worker's compensation system, address high-profile and time-sensitive issues.