Michigan Data & Policy Fellow - Youth Policy Lab, University of Michigan

United States of America (the)
Other advanced degree
Language Requirement 
Length of Commitment 
Two years
Start Date 

As part of a partnership with the State of Michigan, the University of Michigan Youth Policy Lab seeks two highly qualified candidates to join our team as Michigan Data & Policy Fellows. The goal of this fellowship program is to provide strategic research and policy support to State of Michigan agency leadership, while allowing Fellows to gain in-depth data and policy skills working in state government. Projects undertaken by the fellows will be determined in partnership with both Lab leadership and state agency leadership, but will all focus on improving usage of data in policy making and program implementation. Fellows will gain direct mentorship and support from U-Michigan faculty and top staff within a state agency. They will also participate in professional conferences, national training and networking events. Currently, we have fellowship opportunities beginning in early summer 2019 in the areas of (1) health and human services and (2) workforce development. 

Please note: These positions are a two-year fellowship. The Michigan Data & Policy Fellow will jointly report to the Executive Director of the Lab and state agency staff, and will work closely with faculty co-directors and Lab staff to coordinate work in Lansing with other Lab priorities and projects. This position will be primarily based in Lansing, Michigan, but will also require regular travel to UM’s campus in Ann Arbor.

The University of Michigan Youth Policy Lab helps community and government agencies make better decisions by measuring what really works. We’re data experts who believe that government can and must do better for the people of Michigan. We’re also parents and community members who dream of a brighter future for all of our children. At the Youth Policy Lab, we’re working to make that dream a reality by strengthening programs that address some of our most pressing social challenges. We recognize that the wellbeing of youth is intricately linked to the wellbeing of families and communities, so we engage in work that impacts all age ranges. Using rigorous evaluation design and data analysis, we’re working closely with our partners to build a future where public investments are based on strong evidence, so all Michiganders have a pathway to prosperity. For more information, please visit us at www.youthpolicylab.umich.edu.


Project Management: Plan and manage all phases of research projects undertaken in partnership with the State of Michigan, including timeline, data gathering and analysis, coordinating the work of others, project deliverables.

Agency Relations: Serve as key liaison for research partners to establish working relationships, build trust and gather data.

Data Translation & Visualization: Work with Principle Investigators, Data Analysts, and other team members to interpret and visualize data for non-technical and policy-making audiences.

Dissemination: Responsibilities include assisting in drafting memos, presentations, briefs, and reports; assisting in creating and maintaining web-based resources; working with graphic designers and printers to produce and distribute reports; presenting findings at public events; organizing and managing public events.

Research Administration: The Fellow will complete IRB research applications, ensuring compliance with University and Sponsor regulations, maintain data agreements and data security, and will also draft and manage project reports for the sponsor, maintain project records, and other administrative duties.

Supervision: Provide supervision to research assistants and data analysts as assigned.

Other duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications*

Graduate-level degree in public policy, education, public health, political science, economics or a relevant social science discipline, or equivalent and knowledge of all the following areas with a minimum of two years’ professional experience in at least two of them: 

Quantitative reasoning: Demonstrated understanding of causal inference; strong statistical analysis skills; experience with social science statistical software packages, particularly with STATA or R; experience translating statistical analyses for non-technical audiences.

Research and evaluation: Knowledge of social science research methods and concepts; understanding of program evaluation concepts and practices.

Public policy skills: Basic understanding of local/state/federal policymaking processes, funding mechanisms, and social program delivery.

Project management: managing all phases of a research project (project design, scheduling, personnel and resource management, data collection and analysis, delivery and dissemination); managing client relationships and expectations; managing risk.

Writing and communication: Drafting non-technical briefs and reports for a public and/or public-sector audience; using statistical analyses in persuasive, non-academic writing; synthesizing academic research and quantitative analyses into coherent and policy-relevant messages.

Personal commitment to high quality work, the ability to multi-task and prioritize effort across multiple projects, and strong organizational skills and attention to detail. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to work both as part of a cohesive team and individually while meeting deadlines.

Excellent computing skills.

Commitment to principles of social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. For more information on the University’s commitment to these principles, please visit: http://diversity.umich.edu/

Desired Qualifications*

Prior working experience with Michigan public agencies and/or social service agencies – specifically with health, human services, and/or workforce development programs. Experience working with large-scale, longitudinal, individual-level administrative datasets. Coursework in public policy of education, health, social welfare, or criminal justice; coursework in program evaluation.