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Director, Human Capital & Workforce Development

Heartland Forward

Heartland Forward

Bentonville, AR, USA
Posted on Thursday, June 27, 2024

Director, Human Capital & Workforce Development

Job Locations US-AR-Bentonville
Posted Date 3 days ago(6/26/2024 5:08 PM)
Requisition ID
# of Openings
Category (Portal Searching)


The research director will lead Heartland Forward’s research in human capital and workforce development by developing and delivering evidence-based and applied research to position Heartland Forward as a leader and a resource, help strengthen Heartland communities, increase brand awareness and create new partnerships. The director will assist Heartland Forward and its leadership team to engage leaders, investors, education institutions and our broader heartland network at the state, local and national levels.
The ideal candidate will:
- have extensive experience in developing and leading applied research projects with demonstrated impact (e.g., changes to policy or regulation, implementation of new practices, metric increases).
- work closely with the Heartland Forward team to implement the research agenda for human capital and workforce development as set by the team.
- contribute toward the broader strategy for the human capital and workforce development pillar, aligning with Heartland Forward’s 3-year strategy and beyond.
Additionally, the director must be extremely effective at identifying new opportunities for applied research and align partners to implement the current organizational strategy. This position reports to the Chief Research Officer.

About the Position

About Heartland Forward
Heartland Forward is a think-and-do tank dedicated to being a resource for states and local communities in the middle of the country. We do this by studying broad economic trends and building data-driven and community-tested partnerships, programs and policies to address the needs of the heartland - all while helping to change the narrative about the middle of the country and kick-starting economic growth.
Heartland Forward is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to building and maintaining a culturally diverse workplace. We encourage women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status of protected veteran, or status as a qualified individual with a disability.



  • Perform research and analytical tasks, including reviewing and recommending changes to initiatives; analyzing data; drawing conclusions and recommending policy and/or social changes.
  • Manage multiple research projects.
  • Develop junior staff in research methods, analytical techniques and data sources.
  • Build and maintain a network of researchers and thought leaders in topic areas.
  • Become known as a thought leader in the topic area:
    • Write up findings and recommendations that can be shared with stakeholders and disseminated to impact public policy.
    • Participate in developing presentations for conferences and forums.
    • Make presentations and participate in discussions with the media and stakeholders.
  • Identify and vet potential partners for collaboration and funding.
  • Implement a multi-year research strategy for human capital and workforce development.
  • Track research efforts of peer organizations and academia.
  • Participate in the development and execution of methodological techniques that can be integrated into a wide range of projects.
  • Build, maintain, organize and update data sets.
  • Other duties as determined by the supervisor.


Who we are looking for:

Basic qualifications required for the role:

  • Master’s degree in economics, social science or other analytical field.
  • 5-7 years of applied research experience on labor markets, including occupational trends and pathways, post-secondary education systems and workforce development (e.g., career and technical education, certifications and credentials).
  • Human capital and workforce development implementation and policy awareness.
  • Exposure to regional economic and demographic data.
  • Demonstrated experience in a “think tank,” corporate, consulting or government setting.
  • Efficacy in using Python, R and/or Stata to conduct statistical analysis.
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills.
  • Must be able to translate complex economic and policy issues for internal and external audiences.

Additional preferred qualifications and helpful experience includes:

  • Doctorate degree in economics, social science or other analytical field.
  • Experience working in a small to medium sized organization or a start-up environment.
  • Demonstrated record of applied research leading to policy, regulatory or societal change.
  • Familiarity with issues in heartland states.

Characteristics that support success:

  • Unquestionable ethics and integrity.
  • Must be a self-starter who takes initiative.
  • Ability to meet deadlines, prioritize assignments and juggle multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Effective independently and in a semi-remote environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to protect privacy and maintain discretion in dealing with highly confidential information.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, professional demeanor and ability to maintain grace under pressure when adapting to a rapidly changing environment, including reprioritization or reassignment of responsibilities.
  • Team-player, solution-oriented, intellectual agility and the ability to analyze and think critically.
  • Remain accessible and responsive beyond business hours.


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