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Research Associate, Income Security

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) is a nonpartisan research and policy institute that advances federal and state policies to help build a nation where everyone — regardless of income, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, ZIP code, immigration status, or disability status — has the resources they need to thrive and share in the nation’s prosperity.

CBPP combines rigorous research and analysis, strategic communications, and effective advocacy to shape debates, affect policy, and inform effective implementation both nationally and in states. It works closely with a broad set of national, state, and community organizations to design and advance policies that promote economic justice; improve health; broaden opportunity in areas like housing, health care, employment, and education; and lower structural barriers for people of color and others in communities that continue to face systemic barriers to opportunity. CBPP promotes policies that will build a more equitable nation and fair tax policies that can support these gains over the long term. CBPP also shows the harmful impacts of policies and proposals that would deepen poverty, widen disparities, and worsen health outcomes.

The Housing and Income Security team brings together CBPP’s housing and income security policy staff to work on improving housing and cash assistance for families with low incomes. The Research Associate, Income Security will work primarily with the Income Security team to promote federal and state policies to provide cash and employment assistance to families with children through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), child support, and related programs. This includes a focus on increasing TANF cash benefits, removing barriers that keep families from receiving benefits and child support payments, improving work opportunities, and emphasizing the importance of cash on the short- and long-term outcomes for children and families.

The Income Security team works closely with a strong network of state and national partners. The team is committed to lifting up the ways in which TANF and child support programs perpetuate structural racism and reinforce racial stereotypes, and advocating for policy changes to move the programs in an anti-racist direction. Our work includes proposing policy changes, analyzing policy changes proposed by others, providing technical assistance to federal and state policymakers and advocates, and conducting research on TANF benefits, caseload, spending, child support and employment programs.

This position is an exceptional foundational role for someone seeking to build a career in public policy. The Research Associate will also have the option to participate in a skill and knowledge development program for early career staff.


  • Conduct policy research on key aspects of TANF including benefits, access, expenditures, work opportunities and its impact on child well-being
  • Help plan and organize conferences, webinars, discussions, and other learning opportunities for state and federal advocates with other partners, including people with lived expertise, to improve their capacity to work on TANF and child support and to create a supportive TANF and child support advocacy network
  • Provide technical assistance to federal/state policymakers and advocacy organizations to improve their ability to identify and engage in opportunities to improve state TANF and child support programs
  • Track and summarize state legislative proposals related to TANF and child support
  • Prepare materials to respond to information requests from policymakers, the media, and other national organizations, often on tight deadlines
  • Contribute to or author reports, memos, blogs, public comments, and other products that translate complex policies and analyses into digestible information for different audiences
  • Attend coalition meetings, congressional briefings and hearings, and other events as needed


  • A bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as Political Science, Public Policy, Social Work, Economics, or Sociology and two years of related work experience. A relevant graduate degree or JD may be substituted for two years of work experience.
  • Commitment to achieving economic and racial justice for people with low incomes so they can meet their basic needs, and a desire to deepen your knowledge of how federal, state, and local policies can address institutional and structural racism and economic segregation
  • Lived expertise of being, or experience working with people who have been marginalized due to race, disability, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or being low income, is desirable
  • Familiarity with U.S. poverty-related programs, policies, and concepts and a desire to develop or deepen your understanding of TANF and child support
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to explain technical concepts to diverse audiences and to synthesize data and research into clear, effective arguments
  • Quantitative analysis skills, including the ability to manipulate data in Excel and interpret academic studies that rely on statistical analysis, and an exemplary commitment to the accuracy and transparency of your analytic work
  • Strong project management skills, including the ability to work independently and collaboratively, stay on top of multiple projects, anticipate obstacles, and meet strict deadlines

The Center is operating on a hybrid work schedule that includes at least two days per week in person at our Washington, D.C. office.

This position reports to the Deputy Director for Income Security.

Terms of Employment: full-time, exempt; this is a two-year term position.

Bargaining Unit Status: this is a bargaining unit position.

Compensation: Salary for the role starts at $58,655 with exact salary to be determined based on total relevant experience; excellent benefits (including health insurance, vision and dental coverage, life and long-term disability insurance, retirement, MERP, and DCAP), and generous vacation, sick leave, and holiday schedules.

Please upload a cover letter and resume. In your cover letter, please include a discussion of what draws you to the mission of the Center.

To apply, please submit your resume and cover letter here.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is an Equal Opportunity Employer that values and welcomes diversity in the workplace and strongly encourages all qualified persons to apply regardless of race, color, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, credit information, pregnancy or parental status, family responsibilities, personal appearance, creed, military or veteran status, religion, ancestry or national origin, union activities, disability, or other status protected by applicable law.