ASPE – Economic Mobility Fellowship Research Internship Position


The Economic Mobility Fellowship is a 12- to 24-month full-time position in which candidates receive mentorship, training, and hands-on experience to enhance their policy analysis skills, collaboration and coordination skills, and qualitative and quantitative research skills, while working in a highly-respected federal office in Washington, DC.

Fellows are employed by the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) and work in-residence at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), Office of Human Services Policy (HSP).

HSP conducts policy research, analysis, evaluation, and coordination on various issues across the Department, including but not limited to, poverty and measurement, equitable benefits access and delivery, early childhood education and child welfare, family strengthening, economic support for families, and youth development. HSP serves as a liaison with other agencies on cross-cutting social issues and is the Department’s lead on poverty research and analysis. The Economic Mobility Fellow would work within HSP’s Division of Children and Youth Policy supporting interagency coordination on child poverty and child economic well-being as part of the newly-formed federal Children’s Interagency Coordinating Council.

Mentoring And Training

Fellows will be matched with a mentor and will develop an individualized training development plan. Fellows will also participate in quarterly trainings offered by IRP to all in-residence Fellows at HHS and have funding to attend a research conference each year.

Major Duties And Responsibilities

  • Coordinate with federal partners on child poverty and well-being programs and policies, inside and outside of HHS.
  • Help coordinate and manage a portfolio of research projects related to child poverty and well-being, contributing to the projects as appropriate.
  • Help prepare for and participate in frequent briefings of HSP leadership and meetings with other senior HHS and federal leadership.
  • Engage with individuals with lived experience related to child poverty and well-being to incorporate their feedback on federal policy and interagency activities.
  • Develop and review written materials, such as briefing documents, talking points, and convening resources.
  • Assist with designing and supporting child poverty- and well-being-focused convenings and other meetings for the public, working groups, and/or leadership.
  • Assist with project management and oversight, such as developing work plans, tracking milestones, and addressing challenges that arise.
  • Complete other related tasks as required.

Key Skills And Experience

  • Master’s degree in public policy, public administration, social welfare, public health, psychology, child development, education, economics, program evaluation, research methods, or a related field.
  • Training or professional experience working directly in or on issues around U.S. poverty reduction and child/family well-being. Personal or professional experience working with families with low incomes from diverse backgrounds in these programs is also preferred. Lived experience with accessing social service systems and/or navigating criminal justice systems is highly valued but not required.
  • High attention to detail, able to work independently and in a group setting under tight timelines and shifting priorities and employ strong problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to work well in a group and communicate effectively with a range of individuals, including federal staff, leadership, outside experts, people with lived experience, and contractors. Experience coordinating with colleagues at varying levels of seniority desired.
  • Through professional or academic experience, knowledge of and expertise in federal programs and policies affecting child poverty and well-being (such as tax credits, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, nutrition assistance, and early care and education).
  • Ability to efficiently track and meet multiple competing deadlines, prioritize assignments, and multi-task as needed.
  • Ability to synthesize complex ideas into plain-language written documents tailored to the intended audience.
  • Ability to communicate clearly and concisely with multiple audiences in person (verbally, or otherwise) and in writing.
  • Experience engaging individuals with lived experience and/or with community engagement.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office suite, including Microsoft Excel, is required.