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MDRC Overview

New York, NY
201 to 500 employees
Company - Private
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 public education and college graduation rates. We design promising new interventions, evaluate ... Read more

Mission: "The driving force behind MDRC is a conviction that reliable evidence, well communicated, can make an important difference in social policy."

Company Updates


    MDRC's New Corporate Report Highlights Recent Successes, Future Directions

    Every other year, MDRC publishes a corporate report that highlights what we're doing to accomplish our mission of finding solutions to some of the most difficult problems facing the nation - from reducing poverty and bolstering economic self-sufficiency to impr


    American Dream Machine

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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

MDRC Reviews

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    I have been working at MDRC full-time


    Learning opportunities; great health insurance; up 20 days vacation plus holidays and sick days


    Work life balance could be better; work pace not steady - periods of high and low intensity

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MDRC Photos

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MDRC Interviews



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    Technical Analyst Interview

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    I applied online. I interviewed at MDRC.


    I applied online, had a phone interview, and was then invited to come into their office for an in-person interview two weeks later. The interview process involved meeting with multiple employees and conducting two tests on-site. The majority of the interviewers were good, but it felt unorganized and they did not seem interested in me as a person. I left feeling like I could not get the job and not really care. I had to follow up multiple times before they told me I did not get the position about a month later.

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