Research Associate

Job Title

Research Associate

Job Description

The Research Associate will work collaboratively to conduct applied regional economic research focused on the American Heartland. This individual will have a sophisticated understanding of how to find and interpret economic and financial data and will construct regional data sets and execute econometric estimation. Familiarity with federal and commercial sources of regional economic, industry, financial and demographic data is important. In addition, the incumbent will be responsible for generating data visualizations for use in Heartland Forward publications, social media and presentations.

As a member of the research team of Heartland Forward, this position will support the organization’s mission to enhance the economic performance in the center of the United States by advocating for fact-based solutions to foster job creation, knowledge-based and inclusive growth, and improved health outcomes.

This research will deploy traditional and transformative methods and data at both the state and regional levels to depict how global, national and regional trends have been affecting particular states, places, and groups in recent decades in four focus areas:

• Innovation and entrepreneurship
• Regional competitiveness
• Human capital and workforce development
• Health risks and wellness


Specific duties include the following:

• Recommend research topics, develop methodological approaches and conduct research
• Build, maintain, organize and update data sets, participate in the development and execution of econometric models and functions that can be integrated into a wide range of projects
• Co-author findings and recommendations that can be shared with stakeholders and disseminated to impact public policy
• Work with Heartland Forward’s research team to conduct broader economic and statistical analysis
• Assist with developing presentations for conferences and forums
• Create data visualizations for use in publications, social media and presentations


Who we are looking for:

Basic qualifications required for your success

• Bachelor’s degree in economics, public policy or related field with 3 years of experience
• Ability to understand and work with complex economic and financial data. Must be able to maintain, organize and update large data sets
• Demonstrated research experience in a think tank, corporate or university setting
• Must be a self-starter who takes initiative
• Ability to meet deadlines, prioritize assignments, and juggle multiple tasks simultaneously
• Statistical estimation and model-building skills, including econometrics using statistical software such as R, STATA, SAS, SPSS or EViews
• Experience in developing PowerPoint presentations and managing complex data with Excel spreadsheets, particularly related to chart creation and pivot tables
• Outstanding written and oral communication skills. Must be able to translate complex economic and financial issues for an educated lay audience
• Proficiency with additional data visualization software such as Power BI or Tableau

Preferred experience

• Master’s degree
• Capacity to use geographical information systems to capture existing data at a different geographic scale or generate new variables
• Familiarity with publicly available government data sets both on the state and federal level is a strong plus
• Entrepreneurial and/or start-up research experience a plus


About Heartland Forward

Heartland Forward is a 501 (c) (3) nonpartisan, nonprofit “think and do tank.” Heartland Forward's mission is to improve economic performance in the center of the United States by advocating for fact-based solutions to foster job creation, knowledge-based and inclusive growth and improved health outcomes. We conduct independent, data-driven research to facilitate action-oriented discussion and impactful policy recommendations. Recently, it launched its inaugural program -- an idea accelerator, in Oxford, Mississippi, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, as part of Heartland Forward’s Community Growth Program and Toolkit (CGPT). The CGPT is providing communities with the resources needed to help inspire new ideas, build upon existing programs and connect with resources to achieve success. In addition, Heartland Forward has launched an initiative called Connecting the Heartland to help spread the word to millions of people in the Heartland about available federal funding available to expand access to high speed internet. It also hosts a flagship event in Bentonville, Arkansas, called Heartland Summit.

Heartland Forward defines the central United States to include the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

Heartland Forward is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to building and maintaining a culturally diverse workplace. We encourage women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status of protected veteran, or status as a qualified individual with a disability.

Basic Qualifications

• Bachelor’s degree in economics, public policy or related field with 3 years of experience
• Ability to understand and work with complex economic and financial data. Must be able to maintain, organize and update large data sets
• Demonstrated research experience in a think tank, corporate or university setting
• Must be a self-starter who takes initiative
• Ability to meet deadlines, prioritize assignments, and juggle multiple tasks simultaneously
• Statistical estimation and model-building skills, including econometrics using statistical software such as R, STATA, SAS, SPSS or EViews
• Experience in developing PowerPoint presentations and managing complex data with Excel spreadsheets, particularly related to chart creation and pivot tables
• Outstanding written and oral communication skills. Must be able to translate complex economic and financial issues for an educated lay audience
• Proficiency with additional data visualization software such as Power BI or Tableau