Working at MDRC | Glassdoor

MDRC Overview

New York, NY
201 to 500 employees
Nonprofit Organization
Social Assistance
$100 to $500 million (USD) per year
MDRC is committed to finding solutions to some of the most difficult problems facing the nation — from reducing poverty and bolstering economic self-sufficiency to improving early child development, public education, and college graduation rates. We design promising ... Read more

Mission: We strive to maintain our reputation as rigorous, mission-driven, respected, and high-quality, while we continue efforts to be more influential, versatile, creative, innovative, cost-conscious, and inclusive.

Company Updates

  • On October 15, Virginia Knox became the fifth president of MDRC in its 45-year history. A former MDRC vice president, Knox brings to her new role 25 years of leadership in developing, evaluating, and improving social programs.

    Virginia Knox Assumes Presidency of MDRC, Announces New Leadership Roles

    On October 15, Virginia Knox became the fifth president of MDRC in its 45-year history. Knox, a former MDRC vice president, has led the organization's Families and Children Policy Area since 2004. She brings 25 years of leadership in developing, evaluating, and improving social programs.

  • In the first year after random assignment, welfare recipients who participated in Minnesota’s subsidized employment program were more likely than control group members to have been employed; this modest effect continued after the subsidies ended.
     With MEF Associates and Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation - OPRE

    Implementation and Early Impacts of the Minnesota Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration

    Introduction Recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) often face barriers such as limited education and work experience, health issues including substance abuse problems, and other obstacles that stand in the way of finding employment.

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MDRC Video

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MDRC – Why Work For Us?


Work on the Cutting Edge of Social Research Methodology

MDRC conducts experimental studies using methods that provide the best evidence to build knowledge in the social and education policy fields. It is not enough to find out what works; research must learn why and how programs work. MDRC is known for large-scale studies using random assignment and other rigorous quantitative methods, but our staff also call upon an array of qualitative techniques — ethnography, case studies rooted in field research, surveys, focus groups, classroom observations, case file reviews, and in-depth interviewing — to complement our quantitative analyses.

Unique Blend of Rigorous Research and Hands-On Involvement in Real Programs

In addition to evaluating current programs, MDRC develops demonstration projects to field-test the best practices identified in our research. Playing the dual roles of technical assistance provider and evaluator, our challenge is to build strong programs worthy of rigorous testing and reliable research designs that can tell us whether the next generation of policies and interventions are effective.


Impact on Policy

MDRC's mission is to ensure that our evidence informs policy and practice and is accessible to a broad audience. We produce clearly written research reports as well as policy briefs, "how-to" guides, and videos that distill the results of our studies and discuss their implications.

With the active participation of our research staff, we widely disseminate our findings — to the media and public interest groups, in testimony before Congress and state legislatures, through news bulletins e-mailed to more than 12,000 people, and via our award-winning Web site, which receives more than 100,000 visitors a month.

Created in 1974 by the Ford Foundation and a group of federal agencies, MDRC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social policy research organization dedicated to learning what works to improve programs and policies that affect the poor. MDRC is best known for mounting large-scale demonstrations and evaluations of real-world policies and programs targeted to low-income people. We helped pioneer the use of random assignment — the same highly reliable methodology used to test new medicines — in our evaluations. From welfare policy to high school reform, MDRC’s work has helped to shape legislation, program design, and operational practices across the country. Working in fields where emotion and ideology often dominate public debates, MDRC is a source of objective, unbiased evidence about cost-effective solutions that can be replicated and expanded to scale.

Over the years, MDRC has brought its unique approach to an ever-growing range of policy areas and target populations. Once known primarily for evaluations of state welfare-to-work programs, we also study public school reforms, employment programs for ex-prisoners and people with disabilities, and programs to help low-income people succeed in college. We are known not only for the high quality, integrity, and rigor of our research, but also for our commitment to building evidence and improving practice in partnership with school districts; community colleges; federal, state, and local governments; foundations; and community-based organizations.

MDRC has worked in nearly every state and most major cities, in Canada, and in the United Kingdom. We are funded by government agencies and some 70 private, family, and corporate foundations. With a staff of more than 250 in New York City and Oakland, California, MDRC is engaged in close to 80 projects in five policy areas: Family Well-Being and Children’s Development, K-12 Education, Young Adults and Postsecondary Education, Low-Wage Workers and Communities, and Health and Barriers to Employment.

MDRC was founded as the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation. However, in 2003, we made “MDRC” the registered corporate identity of our organization, thereby formally adopting the name by which we had become best known to our professional colleagues and the general public.

P-12 Education

In little more than a decade, MDRC has built a strong reputation as a respected, trustworthy source of information about what works to improve students prospects for academic success in elementary, middle, and high school and about what it takes to put effective interventions into place.

Focus Areas:

  • Preschool
  • Elementary and Middle School
  • High School
  • Afterschool/Out-of-school time
  • Transition to Postsecondary

Higher Education

For low-income people, community colleges offer an important pathway out of poverty and into better jobs. But a host of factors, including inadequate financial aid or student services and poor developmental classes, can keep them from enrolling in and completing postsecondary education.

Focus Areas:

  • Developmental Education
  • Financial Aid
  • Student Services
  • Institutional Reform
  • Instruction and Curricula

Disconnected Youth

Only 68 of every 100 ninth-graders in public schools will complete high school on time. Among those who do graduate, many leave high school without developing the skills they need to succeed in the workplace or in postsecondary education.

Focus Areas:

  • High School Dropouts
  • Youth in Foster Care
  • Youth with Disabilities

Work and Income Security

Long regarded as the premier investigator of policies designed to improve the lives of low-income families on welfare, MDRC is bringing its research skills and reputation for methodological rigor to the new challenge of learning what works best to improve the economic and social health of low-income workers and communities.

Focus Areas:

  • Job Retention

Families with Children

MDRCʼs families and children studies aim to deepen public understanding of how the life chances of low-income children and youth are influenced by policies that affect their familiesʼ economic circumstances, family relationships, or the opportunities available for child and youth development.

Foucs Areas:

  • Family Relationships
  • Child Care and Early Education
  • Two-Generation Programs

A Collegial and Harmonious Work Environment

MDRC is committed to a culture of inclusiveness on every level of the organization and an environment that fosters teamwork, information sharing, harmonious and productive working relationships, and mutual respect. We welcome diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints, encourage initiative, and recognize the contributions of all employees.

A Diverse, Multidisciplinary Staff

MDRC’s staff of nearly 300 are multicultural and multidisciplinary, with broadly diverse professional backgrounds and experience. We employ economists and statisticians • sociologists and psychologists • scientists and public policy analysts • demographers and ethnographers • educators and urban planners • program operations and survey specialists • editors • accounting and budget specialists • and systems analysts and programmers.

Opportunities to Realize Your Professional Potential

MDRC encourages and assists our employees in their professional development. MDRC staff work in interdisciplinary project teams with leading social policy researchers, learn to employ diverse and innovative methodologies, and contribute to published reports. Through a formal mentoring program, experienced staff help to orient employees to MDRC and advise them on advancing their careers.

Our Research Technology Unit provides on-the-job training in SAS programming, report production and presentation software, data management, statistics, and qualitative data management and analysis. Regular lunchtime forums keep the entire staff abreast of the latest policy developments.

MDRC’s mission is to create and widely disseminate rigorous, nonpartisan, credible evidence on the effectiveness of policies and programs aimed at improving the lives of low-income families, children, and communities. With this in mind, MDRC recognizes the importance of diversity and strives to recruit, retain, and develop the talents of a diverse workforce that reflects the communities that participate in our projects.

At MDRC, diversity encompasses not only race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, but also age, educational background, class, and cultural and political perspectives. MDRC is an equal opportunity employer. Candidates and applications will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.

Outreach, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiatives

MDRC is committed to a culture of inclusiveness on every level of the organization that fosters teamwork, information sharing, harmonious and productive working relationships, and mutual respect. We welcome diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints; encourage initiative; and recognize the contributions of all employees. Specifically, MDRC develops strategies to promote retention of diverse staff and implements written policies, trainings, and dispute resolution practices to prevent bias in the workplace.

MDRC has allocated resources to foster diversity within the organization. A few noteworthy initiatives include:

  • The Diversity Council: MDRC’s Diversity Council was created to raise awareness about, advocate for, and celebrate diversity at MDRC and to advocate for equity in the workplace. Diversity Council members represent all departments and seniority levels. Standing committees on the Diversity Council include the Events and Communications Committee, the Research Committee, and the Recruitment, Hiring, and Supervision Committee. The Diversity Council organizes events, trainings, facilitated conversations, and written communications about diversity, equity, cultural competency, and social justice.
  • The Judith Gueron Minority Scholars Program: Through our Judith Gueron Minority Scholars Program, MDRC is actively developing a diverse recruitment pipeline by raising the profile of MDRC and the work we do among underrepresented communities and institutions. Specifically, the Gueron Minority Scholars Program offers paid internships for undergraduates and master’s-level students and doctoral fellowships (with stipends) for students engaged in dissertation research. The program is designed to introduce students to the organization, with a focus on those who may not be aware of the policy research field in general or MDRC’s work in particular. All interns and fellows participate in the intellectual life of MDRC by attending seminars and project meetings. Doctoral fellows receive the advice and support of MDRC’s staff in completing their dissertations.
  • The Mentoring Program: This company-wide program promotes valuable mentoring partnerships within and across all departments, policy areas, and locations at MDRC. The goal of MDRC’s Mentoring Program is to enhance the professional development of staff by improving their understanding of MDRC’s mission and organizational culture, increasing their access to advice about career growth, promoting inclusion, and diminishing feelings of isolation. The Mentoring Program serves an important role in breaking down silos across the organization and fostering a sense of community at MDRC. 


Crystal Byndloss, a Senior Associate in our Policy Research and Evaluation Department, serves as MDRC’s Director for Outreach, Diversity and Inclusion. In this role, she develops, strengthens, and manages MDRC’s relationship-building activities with undergraduate and graduate programs and professional associations with an eye toward outreach to scholars from underrepresented groups. Byndloss works collaboratively with MDRC’s Human Resources Department, the Diversity Council, and senior leadership at MDRC to develop strategies and tactics for further promoting diversity and inclusion.

In addition, John Martinez, MDRC’s Director of Program Development, serves as Chair of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management’s (APPAM’s) Diversity Committee where he is working closely with member institutions, particularly academic institutions, to develop strategies to address the pipeline issue in public policy programs.

MDRC Reviews

  • Featured Review

    "Great Mission and a very collaborative environment"

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at MDRC full-time (More than a year)


    I've been working at MDRC for a little while now and it's been a positive experience thus far. The organization has a great mission and my colleagues are all passionate about the work they do. They've been intentional about having an inclusive environment set in place and strive to strengthen it by providing staff training and communications around topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion. There's also been a push for more consistent feedback to both staff and management across the organization aside from the norm of annual performance reviews.


    Being too collaborative has also lead to any decision that needs to be made, on the slow side, as often times there may be too many cooks in the kitchen.

    Advice to Management

    -Continue to think about ways to improve upon internal communications in innovative ways
    -Continue to encourage staff involved in the hiring process' to cast a wide net, check potential unconscious bias' and pursue candidates that represent the populations that we serve. It's a great way to give back to those communities!
    -Do pulse checks from staff via employee surveys to check on engagement and morale

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MDRC Photos

MDRC photo of: MDRC
MDRC photo of: Last week we were pleased to welcome a contingent of great students from St. John's University who learned about what it was like to work at a social policy research organization like MDRC!
MDRC photo of: NYC Photo Wall!
MDRC photo of: Views!
MDRC photo of: Collaboration Space!
MDRC photo of: Views!
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MDRC Interviews



Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview





    Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview


    I applied online. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at MDRC.


    I usually don't write in these forums but I thought I'd warn others thinking about MDRC. I applied online and received an email to schedule a phone interview about a month later. The interviewer was unprofessional - not only was she late in calling me, she also did not seem prepared or have a ready set of questions. It seems like their HR process is long and just disorganized. MDRC did not email me after the interview - and as you can read in other reviews, it seems like it's what they often do to applicants. It's incredibly disrespectful and unprofessional.

    Interview Questions

    • Interviewer: "Do you have more questions for me?"   Answer Question
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MDRC Awards & Accolades

Let us know if we're missing any workplace or industry recognition – Add Awards

Pledges & Certifications

Veteran Hiring Commitment

Committed to helping America's military veterans find work

Pay Equality Pledge

Committed to paying equitably for equal work & experience

Tech Hiring Commitment

Helping to train, hire and promote more technology workers

Career Advancement Program

Helping employees "upskill" into higher-paying positions

Diversity Commitment

Has programs that support a diverse and inclusive workforce

First Job Programs

Maintain entry-level hiring and career development programs to give people career starts

Fair Chance Pledge

Maintain hiring/training programs for those with criminal records as an opportunity for a second chance

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