Good Jobs First Seeks Research Director

May 17, 2024

Location: Virtual in the United States

Research Director Job PostingGood Jobs First, a non-profit research center based in Washington DC and operating virtually across the United States, now seeks a Research Director to lead its economic development incentives research work.

Good Jobs First is the nation’s leading resource center promoting corporate and government accountability in economic development. Since 1998, it has set dozens of research precedents while leading the movement to win subsidy disclosure by state governments, as well as safeguards such as clawbacks and Job Quality Standards. It also led the successful campaign for local disclosure, winning GASB Statement No. 77 on Tax Abatement Disclosures, a municipal finance landmark.

Good Jobs First also promotes corporate social responsibility, through research publications and its globally popular database, Violation Tracker. Former Research Director Phil Mattera now leads that work as GJF’s Violation Tracker Project Director.

The Research Director will oversee all of GJF’s research functions on incentives, including publications, databases, and technical assistance. These include:

  • GJF reports, blogs, op-eds, and articles for other organizations primarily on state and local incentives, with a small share of work on federal incentives;
  • Timely technical assistance to GJF’s diverse user base of NGOs, journalists, unions, public officials, think tanks, and academics;
  • Trainings, speeches, and testimony on incentives provided by GJF staff in person and remotely;
  • Subsidy Tracker, GJF’s 14-year-old, deal-specific database spanning more than 1,300 federal, state, and local programs; and
  • Tax Break Tracker, GJF’s place-based database of local- and state-specific disclosures of revenues lost to incentive programs.

The Research Director will also:

  • Manage GJF’s mission fulfillment with the Executive Director, Deputy Executive Director/Communications Director, and Violation Tracker Project Director;
  • Explore connections and relationships between policy and race, ethnicity, income and geography.
  • Develop and maintain collegial relationships with a wide range of allied organizations working on state tax and budget policy, labor economics, public education finance, community organizing, labor organizing, Community Benefits, smart growth, and related fields; and
  • Participate in all aspects of research projects, from idea development to writing and publicizing final research products.

The Research Director must have:

  • Knowledge of and ability to critique programs and deals involving common incentives such as TIF districts, enterprise zones, property tax abatements, corporate income tax credits, and sales tax exemptions;
  • A demonstrated commitment to racial, social, and economic justice;
  • Three years or more of senior-level experience doing economic development or related research for a community-based organization, labor union, government agency, policy shop, or academic institution;
  • Proven skills managing people and projects, directing, mentoring, and managing their own and others’ time;
  • Strong communications skills ranging from big-picture economic justice framing to succinct media sound bites;
  • Strong writing, editing, and public speaking skills;
  • The ability to simplify and popularly communicate facially complex topics such as TIF;
  • The ability to work remotely on both team projects and solo assignments; and
  • Experience managing direct reports and in seeking professional development opportunities for themself and others.

Other desirable qualifications:

  • Knowledge of municipal finance; familiarity with public fiscal documents such as budgets and annual comprehensive financial reports;
  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree in economics, public policy, urban planning, journalism, business administration, or other relevant fields; or
  • Knowledge of tax justice, organized labor, community organizing and/or environmental advocacy networks.

Although this is a 40-hour-per-week remote position that can be done anywhere in the U.S., the Research Director must be generally available 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time weekdays for internal and external meetings and coalition work.  The Researcher Director may be asked to do work outside of normal hours, and must be able to do light travel, including to semi-annual in-person staff retreats. As a condition of employment, Good Jobs First requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination and boosters.


Salary range: $95,000 to $120,000, commensurate with experience, plus a benefit package that includes a platinum-level PPO healthcare policy plan (including dental and vision) with a 100% employer-paid premium, a 403(b) retirement plan with generous employer contribution, professional development fund, generous vacation, most federal holidays, paid time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and parental leave.

Good Jobs First is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from women and people of color.

Send a cover letter explaining your qualifications, résumé, and short answers (1-2 paragraphs) to the following questions to executive director Greg LeRoy at [email protected]. No phone calls, please.

Put “RD application” in your subject line.

  1. How can people best achieve meaningful participation in local economic development?
  2. What is the relationship between local development practices and state development legislation?
  3. Where other people find budgets and other financial documents confusing or boring, I [fill in the blank]

Road sign that says "Next Exit: Good Jobs First"

UPDATED MAY 30: The internship position has been filled. 

Good Jobs First is also looking for an intern to join us this summer. Your core responsibilities will include:

  • Gathering and extracting data from end-of-year government financial reports for states, cities, counties, and school districts;
  • Updating costs for the biggest economic development subsidy programs across states;
  • Updating our Tax Break Tracker user guides;
  • Tracking news media and academic uses of our data;
  • Writing blogs or other pieces based on interesting facts, trends, or situations.

Other desirable qualifications (yes, we know you probably won’t have them all!):

  • You’ve developed social and economic justice videos for social media platforms;
  • You’ve turned data into meaningful graphics;
  • You know Python or R other programming language;
  • You’ve used artificial intelligence to simplify data collection, standardization, and otherwise cleaning data.

Send a résumé, cover letter, and any video/graphics samples (if applicable) to [email protected]. Put “Summer Intern 2024” in the subject line.

This position pays between $17-20 per hour, depending on experience. It can be done anywhere in the United States but you must be generally available 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET most weekdays.

This positions starts immediately and can be up to 35 hours per week.