Policy Research Assistant

Position Details

Organization: Kleinman Center for Energy Policy Location: Philadelphia
Type: Job Timeframe: ​Spring Compensation: Paid Level: Graduate Start/End Dates:
January 11, 2017 to May 15, 2017
Application Deadline: December 16, 2016 Application Document: PDF icon KCEP Power Grant RA 112916.pdf Contact Information: Christina Simeonecsimeone@upenn.edu 215-573-4906

The Kleinman Center is seeking two (2) graduate student research assistants for Spring 2017 to assist with completion of research tasks and deliverables in conjunction with a federal grant award investigating the use of Pennsylvania’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) to expand economic and workforce development in Pennsylvania’s coal-impacted communities. 

The positions begin January 11 and will continue through May 15, with the potential to be extended during the 2017-2018 academic year. The research assistants will report directly to the Center's Director of Policy and External Affairs.


Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative

Pennsylvania is the fourth largest coal producing state in the nation. The recent downturn in domestic and international coal markets has reduced demand for the state’s coal, translating into increased unemployment and economic distress for many communities depended on the coal industry.

The PA SBDC (headquartered at Wharton) and the Kleinman Center have received a federal POWER grant to investigate strategies to assist small businesses, workers, and communities impacted by the coal downturn.

The Policy Research Assistants are expected to work collaboratively and will be responsible for performing specific research and other tasks to support this grant initiative.

Job Tasks and Responsibilities

  • Initial Research. Quickly perform targeted background research to prepare for the stakeholder interview tasks.  This includes reviewing the Center’s report on coal community initiatives, coordinating with the PA SBDCs to understand and summarize existing (and potential) services that are offered by the SBDCs, and reviewing additional materials as needed.
  • Stakeholder Interviews and Outreach. Schedule and conduct interviews (primarily over the phone) with government, industry, and community stakeholders to collect information about economic and workforce development opportunities for distressed coal communities and small businesses. These inputs will help inform development of research reports that are grant deliverables.
  • Assistance with Compliance Report Research and Writing. Assist with additional research, writing, and outreach efforts related to development of research reports and stakeholder coordination initiatives.
  • Presentation. Attend and assist in presenting research findings to stakeholders at up to three (3) meetings in Pennsylvania.  This requirement can be waived if it conflicts with class schedules.

Qualities of an Ideal Candidate(s)

The idea candidate(s) will have a strong interest and at least some educational focus on social policy, economic development, and/or workforce issues. Additional interests in small business management and/or energy policy will be seen as a beneficial.

The candidate must be detail oriented with exceptional writing skills, and must be comfortable and confident in interviewing various stakeholders over the telephone in a professional manner. The candidate must be able to efficiently summarize, organize, and clearly present research information.

Candidates may work remotely, but must commit to a regular, weekly, in-person or skype meeting. Candidates should be able to commit 15 hours per week to the duties outlined above. This is a paid position.

Application Details

To apply, please send the following to Director of Policy and External Affairs, Christina Simeone (csimeone@upenn.edu):

  • Resume
  • Writing sample
  • Email introduction – please briefly highlight relevant experience and interests related to the topics and tasks identified in this job description.

Applications will be accepted through December 16, 2016.