Who we are:

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is a nonprofit criminal justice organization that strives to build just government institutions and safe communities free from the scourge of racism, white supremacy, profit, and inequity that is pervasive in this country’s legal systems. We are an “inside” lane organization that drives change at scale with ambitious public sector leaders who share our commitment to building anti-racist, reparative systems that deliver justice. We leverage our access to government to transform these systems and work collaboratively with stakeholders across many movements—including advocacy, grassroots, and grasstop organizations. Our role is to pilot solutions that are transformative and achievable, harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice, and use advocacy and communications to change narratives and norms.

Vera has a staff of 300 people and offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. We are an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace. We expect our staff to embody respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, anti-racism, and equity—both in our outward-facing work and the internal culture of our workplace. We value a range of experiences in people’s educational backgrounds and encourage people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to apply.

About the Project: 

Involvement in the criminal legal system has a profound and persistent impact on the economic well-being of people and their loved ones. People of color, and particularly Black Americans, are incarcerated at much higher rates than their white counterparts and, as a result bear, the brunt of the economic impact of incarceration, further exacerbating longstanding racial disparities in income and economic opportunity. However, despite these disparate population-level and intergenerational effects, there is a lack of general awareness of the impact that incarceration has on economic mobility over the life course.  

The Vera Institute of Justice is leading an initiative to address this gap by highlighting the nexus of incarceration and poverty as a national research and policy priority. Over a three-year period, Vera’s research, data science, and communications teams will: construct datasets that describe the connections between incarceration and economic outcomes; develop an online visualization tool that can be used by wide-ranging audiences to elucidate these connections; conduct research, to inform policy and practice; and implement a strategic communications campaign, with the goal of increasing awareness of incarceration as a driver of poverty and income / wealth disparities. 

About the Role:

We are seeking an accomplished Project Manager, with demonstrated abilities or experience working in a product management setting, to work across the three core pillars of this work – data science, research, and communications – driving the strategic vision and execution of the various project components and deliverables. The Project Manager will be responsible for coordinating across the different teams, managing timelines, ensuring that the various project components are integrated and completed in a timely manner, and managing the production of all internal and externally focused deliverables. This role is suited for someone with excellent planning, management, and coordination skills. Experience working on technical research / data science initiatives and / or communications campaigns is preferred.

Who You Are:

As the Project Manager, you will spend 100% of your time dedicated to this project. Economic Impacts of Incarceration is part of a broader effort by Vera’s research unit to build a robust “public interest data science” capacity and this role is a unique opportunity to support the development of data products that address issues of economic injustice and systemic racism. You will report directly to the Vice President for Research and MEL. 

The successful Project Manager:   

  • Works strategically, with the ability to plan a complex process, involving multiple and diverse stakeholders – including Vera’s data science, research, communications, legal, and IT collaborators, as well as external vendors and stakeholders – and on a specific timeline.  
  • Executes effectively, leading and collaborating as appropriate, and is mindful of important details as well as the overall goals and outputs, with sufficient technical skills for the work at hand, and, critically, communicates progress regularly to both technical and non-technical colleagues.  
  • Remains focused on the needs of the core users of the project – PEOPLE (including those who interact with the project's deliverables and those who are most impacted by what the data aims to represent). 

The core responsibilities of this role include:     

  • Developing and managing a detailed project plan, designed in collaboration with other members of the project team
  • Establishing project management, internal communication, and knowledge management systems to ensure efficient coordination between the data science, research, and communication teams
  • Working with Vera’s legal, fiscal, and technology teams to coordinate budgeting, contract management, technical resource procurement, internal policy setting (e.g. data usage and rights), and other project management tasks
  • Coordinating technical development (through SCRUM or similar frameworks) of a robust data architecture and management system that enables periodic updates and continued maintenance of a unified dataset that pulls from many disparate sources  
  • Leading the process of securing a data visualization vendor and managing the vendor once contracted to ensure 1) their product development aligns with data science and research work products, and 2) that Vera will be able to maintain the tool past the vendor’s engagement with Vera.   
  • Coordinating community stakeholder meetings, a research symposium, and other meetings and events, as needed
  • Aligning data product development with research deliverables and timelines 
  • Leading deliverable launches, working with Vera communications on strategy and the execution of external releases of data products and research outputs  
  • Coordination of periodic grant reporting across pillars and other administrative project management tasks as needed   

What qualifications are we looking for?

  • Experience managing complex projects with multiple stakeholders and project partners
  • Excellent collaboration skills and an interest in working as part of a multi-disciplinary team
  • The commitment to using research and analysis to end mass incarceration and undo racism and inequity in the criminal legal system is required. 

Preferred:  

  • Understanding of the processes involved in applied quantitative and / or data product development projects (e.g. large-scale research reports, public-facing data visualization, etc.)
  • Experience supporting strategic communications and / or marketing campaigns to engage diverse audiences, (e.g. impacted communities, the general public, technical, academic, etc.)
  • Bachelors’ degree AND 4 or more years of relevant experience
    • In lieu of a bachelor's degree, applicable work or life experience may be considered
  • Lived experience, preferred

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities you'll bring: 

  • Proven project management experience, excellent collaboration skills, and an interest in working as part of a multi-disciplinary team.  
  • Commitment to using research and analysis to end mass incarceration and undo racism and inequity in the criminal legal system required. 
  • A commitment to the vision that data analysis can help drive evidence-based narrative and policy change when deployed strategically in support of social justice campaigns.  
  • Relevant knowledge of data architecture and data product development concepts (e.g. cloud computing, data modeling in relational databases, data ingestion and ETL pipelines, productionizing statistical or ML models, building an interactive data visualization tool, etc.).  
  • Hands-on experience with Agile, SCRUM, or similar product development framework  
  • Intellectually nimble and adept at working across multiple projects, often at the same time.  
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including the ability to elaborate and convey technical requirements to non-technical stakeholders  
  • Strong social and emotional awareness with your team and external partners, with an openness to opportunities to learn and grow.

Technical knowledge helpful for this role:

For candidates with experience in data engineering or data science projects, the current tech stack uses the following technologies, so some familiarity with the following is preferred: 

  • ETL & data analysis in Python and R
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • PostgreSQL 
  • Airflow
  • dbt
  • Selenium
  • Flask
  • Visualization tools (e.g. D3.js, Datawrapper, etc.) 
  • Zoom
  • Microsoft Office Suite 

Location:

Please note this role will report to our Brooklyn, NY, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, LA, or Los Angeles, CA office. Vera employees adhere to a hybrid schedule and are in-office on an alternating schedule that generally amounts to 10 days per month.

Compensation and Benefits:

The compensation range for this position is $112,000 - $116,000. Actual salaries will vary depending on factors including but not limited to experience and performance. The salary range listed is just one component of Vera Institute’s total compensation package for employees. As an employer of choice in our field, supporting Vera staff—both personally and professionally—is a priority. To do this, we invest in the well-being of our staff through other rewards including merit pay, generous paid time off, a comprehensive health insurance plan, student loan repayment benefits, professional development training opportunities and up to $2,000 annual for education costs and fees relevant to Vera work, employer-funded retirement plan, and flexible time. To learn more about Vera’s benefits offerings, click here

Applications may also be faxed to:

ATTN: People Resources / Project Manager, Economic Impacts of Incarceration
Vera Institute of Justice
34 35th St, Suite 4-2A, Brooklyn, NY 11232
Fax: (212) 941-9407
Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.
No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.

In order to ensure a healthy and safe work environment, Vera Institute of Justice is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccine before their start date. Employees who cannot receive the vaccine because of a disability / medical contraindication or sincerely held religious belief may request an accommodation (e.g., an exemption) to this requirement.

Vera is an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status, or caregiver status. 

Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission. 

For more information about Vera, please visit www.vera.org

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