Assistant Director, Workforce Initiatives

  • MIT Blueprint Labs
  • Cambridge, MA
  • Jun 08, 2022
Full time Administrative Project Manager Management

Job Description

MIT Blueprint Labs seeks an Assistant Director to lead its workforce and automation research portfolio. Blueprint Labs is an initiative at MIT that uses data and economics to uncover the consequences of policy decisions and improve society. Our scholars apply their unique expertise to pressing problems in education, healthcare, and the workforce. Our workforce initiatives currently focus on studying labor market inequalities and the impacts of automation on employment, productivity, and innovation (see previous work). These projects have been covered by The New York TimesNPR Planet MoneyThe EconomistWGBH, and other national outlets.  

The Assistant Director will work with Blueprint Co-director David Autor and Faculty Affiliate Daron Acemoglu to scale activities related to completing research, hiring, fundraising, reporting, and collaborating across MIT and with other universities. The Assistant Director will act as the day-to-day manager to Blueprint’s full-time staff of five research fellows and oversee its part-time undergraduate and graduate student researchers.

This is a highly independent position that works with other Blueprint staff, collaborators across MIT, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), nonprofit and government organizations, and at affiliated universities.

The Assistant Director will receive a full-time, one-year appointment that is renewable annually (contingent on funding). An employment term of 3 years or longer is strongly preferred. The starting annual salary range is between $79,500-131,000, calculated based on experience.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities (Essential Functions**):

1. Hiring, onboarding, and management: (30%)

    • Recruit and hire for research fellowship and support positions, including graduate RAs and post-docs. Work with Blueprint staff to draft and post new positions. Review resumes and conduct interviews
    • Onboard and support staff, conduct regular check-ins, provide feedback and resources for professional development
    • Meet regularly with senior faculty to determine project needs and provide support or new resources
    • Develop recommendations for operations and process improvements. Implements new systems to increase team efficiency and performance
    • Contribute to Blueprint’s collaborative and supportive team culture by organizing events and opportunities to recognize employee performance

2. Financial reporting and contracts: (20%)

    • Manage financial accounts, which includes gifts and grants. Analyze past expenses and forecast future spending. Allocate staff and spending to accounts and ensure funds are properly spent according to MIT and contract guidelines.
    • Facilitate contracts, data agreements, and memorandums of understanding between MIT or NBER and partners such government organizations and private companies. Duties include drafting agreements and negotiating terms with outside partners in conjunction with contract administrators
    • Interprets, implements, and ensures compliance with MIT policies and external guidelines around gifts, grants, and data agreements.
    • Ensure administrative processes run smoothly and effectively, documenting best practices and streamlining as needed

3. Communications: (20%)

    • Develop and implement a strategic plan for Blueprint’s workforce communications activities, including through events, media, and online presence
    • Summarize the research conducted and communicate the work to outside parties
    • Partner with external organizations and universities to organize regular research seminars, webinars, and an annual conference
    • Work with third parties to create a new website for workforce initiatives. Supervise branding process and web development for timely completion.

4. Physical space (20%)

    • Oversee the acquisition, renovation, and management of new office space on campus

5. Fundraising: (5%)

    • Compile, write, and submit financial and narrative reports to funders, including no cost extensions, adhering to reporting guidelines and requirements.
    • Liaise with stakeholders, including grant sponsors and prospective funders.
    • Seek new funding and prepare grant proposals in coordination with research team and grant administrators
    • Contributes to strategic planning and brainstorms new methods of funding

6. Research management (5%)

    • Maintaining servers in collaboration with MIT IT to ensure adequate storage and processing speed
    • Obtaining clearance for the use of sensitive data.
    • Onboarding research fellows to the secure data room at NBER.
    • Keeping track of DUA contracts and IRB protocols to ensure research compliance.

Other duties as needed or required.

Supervision Received:

This position reports to the Blueprint Executive Director. The Assistant Director will work closely with Faculty Co-Director David Autor and affiliate Daron Acemoglu, and in coordination with administrative leadership at MIT, specifically the Department of Economics, Foundation Relations, Research Administration Services, as well as NBER. This position receives minimal supervision.

Supervision Exercised:

Recruit, mentor and supervise 5 Blueprint fellows; oversee 2-3 graduate-level research assistants and 1-2 part-time undergraduate research assistants.

Qualifications & Skills:


  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field
  • Minimum four years of administration or operations experience and/or project/program management.
  • Candidates should have strong analytical, management, leadership, communications, writing, and presentation skills. Demonstrate confidence in communicating with executives and the public and exhibit professionalism and discretion.
  • Candidates should be strategic thinkers. Should be able to handle multiple projects at once, push forward external stakeholders, meet deadlines, and effectively manage time. Be comfortable working in a high-volume, fast-paced environment.


  • A Master’s degree in public policy, political science, economics, or a related field
  • Experience in an academic research setting, non-profit financial management, and high-level fundraising.
  • Experience with organizational operations duties, including hiring, budgeting and data management.
  • Advanced understanding of MIT practices, policies, and operating norms; as well as experience with SAPgui, Kuali Coeus, and Atlas.

Applications should be submitted via the MIT hiring site. This is job #21369.




Listing Logo