Job Opening: Economic/Demographic Research Analyst

San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)
Job Opening: Economic/Demographic Research Analyst

Close Date:

With its suite of highly-sophisticated tools, including the Demographic and Economic Forecasting Model (DEFM), the Interregional Commute Model (IRCM), the Urban Development Model (UDM), TransCAD, and ESRI’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the Regional Models team supports numerous research and planning studies as well as policy development initiatives. Each model runs from a database of detailed, accurate, and integrated GIS transportation network and socio-economic/land use information.

As regional issues become more complex, the demands and expectations of our modeling program have also increased. To meet these challenges, SANDAG has committed the resources necessary to develop a more robust, agile, and integrated modeling infrastructure. This effort includes deploying the economic land use simulation model PECAS and migrating to an activity-based transportation model. The resulting tools will provide more accurate answers to the cause-effect debate that is often central to land use and transportation policy decisions.

Research Analyst Role

The Research Analyst will be a member of the Regional Models section of the Technical Services Department and will be part of a 14-person team currently developing an economic-based land use model (PECAS) and an activity-based transportation model (ABM). This position will identify data sources, gather and compile information, provide support to the integration between PECAS and ABM, and assist in testing the reliability and credibility of the models.

This is a limited term employment opportunity. The position will be funded for a minimum of one year with the possibility of an extension of one additional year. Limited Term Employees are considered to be “at-will” and receive many of the benefits of regular employees.

Job Responsibilities

This position is ideal for a research professional with a strong interest in furthering their expertise in the field of economic and demographic research. We anticipate significant career development will occur while working on the types of duties and responsibilities described below and through mentoring and close collaboration with senior staff and consultants. Examples of primary responsibilities include:

* Participate in the enhancement, maintenance, and quality control of a complex land use model use to support regional forecasting and estimation projects.
* Develop, implement, and monitor systems and procedures used to assemble and structure data for use in the land use model; prepare documentation of processes, analyses, and results.
* Identify, gather, and compile various types of small area or parcel level demographic, economic, social, geographic, and other quantitative data from various local, state, and federal agencies, the Internet, surveys, government publications, and other sources; review data for quality and accuracy and resolve data inconsistencies; participate in the import of new data sources into the land use model.
* Identify and collect available data on small area commercial and residential real estate characteristics including floor space, rents, vacancy rates, zoning, land use, cost of development, cost of redevelopment, and other real estate data.
* Assist with identifying and matching firm-specific employment data to the appropriate parcel for the San Diego region.
* Assist with creating social/economic accounting matrices using data from the Minnesota IMPLAN Group.
* Participate in the analysis and evaluation of land use model outputs in terms of credibility and consistency using descriptive and inferential statistics.
* Participate in the development, maintenance, and quality control of an activity-based transportation model with focus on the integration between the land use and transportation models.
* Identify, gather, and compile small area data sources to support the integration between the land use and transportation model; coordinate with transportation modeling staff to determine which data from the land use model would be appropriate to use as inputs to the transportation model.
* Support the preparation of documentation regarding model development and application.
* Participate in scenario testing using the integrated land use and transportation models.
* Assist with the preparation of written technical, analytical, and policy reports, including tables, charts, and maps to present findings and recommendations to technical and policy committees, the SANDAG Board of Directors, member agencies, committees, community groups, private organizations, and members of the public.
* As a member of the Regional Models team, interact with other MPOs, state agencies and consultants on developing the land use and transportation models; develop productive working relationships with other agencies and collaborate with the staff of outside agencies to coordinate tasks.
* Participate in project teams; complete concurrent assignments in an efficient and responsive manner.
* Respond to information requests from member agencies and the public.

Experience and Qualifications

Numerous factors contribute to an individual’s ability to be successful in any given role. For this position, we are searching for a candidate with an aptitude for analytical thinking and problem solving who is organized, flexible, and can be relied upon to meet deadlines while working on multiple projects. Excellent communication skills, the ability to work collaboratively, and the use of sound judgment are important.

The minimum education, training, and experience qualifications include a bachelor’s degree with major course work in demography, economics, statistics, geography, or a related field and one to three years of progressive career development in a research environment.

The following information describes the specific types of career experiences that are most relevant to this position.

* Demonstrated knowledge of research principles and data acquisition methods used for gathering and compiling economic, demographic, social, geographic, and other types of information; experience compiling data for large, complex databases is highly desirable.
* Demonstrated knowledge of small area and parcel level data sources, preferably those related to regional land use and transportation planning.
* Demonstrated ability to independently compile and document data from a variety of sources with speed and accuracy; ability to identify and resolve data inconsistencies and test for reasonableness.
* Ability to perform mathematical and statistical calculations including descriptive and inferential statistics and identify trends.
* Experience or familiarity with creating social/economic accounting matrices using data from the Minnesota IMPLAN Group is highly desirable.
* Demonstrated proficiency with ESRI’s ArcGIS Desktop software to create, edit, document, analyze, and map geospatial data.
* Knowledge of fundamental design principles for relational database management systems; experience creating SQL queries, stored procedures, and data views; familiarity with MS SQL Server is highly desirable.
* Working knowledge of object oriented programming languages, such as C#, Java, and Python, that interface with relational databases.
* Some familiarity with transportation modeling is desirable.
* Ability to draft/prepare reports that document research procedures and present research results including the preparation, analysis, and interpretation of maps, charts, and tables.
* Demonstrated ability to maintain and foster positive working relationships with other agencies.
* Demonstrated ability to communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing.
* Effective time management and organizational skills and the ability to prioritize multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment; ability to exercise good judgment and work independently.
* Demonstrated computer software proficiency using the Microsoft Office Suite, conducting research on the Internet, and other PC-based applications.

Salary and Benefits

SANDAG rewards the efforts of its employees with a comprehensive compensation package. Competitive salaries are supplemented with a flexible and generous offering of health, financial security, and time-off benefits to meet the work and life needs of employees and their families.

This limited term Economic/Demographic Research Analyst position will be filled at the Analyst I, II, or Associate level depending on qualifications and experience of the selected candidate. The annual salary ranges are: Analyst I - $39,871 to $63,793 per year; Analyst II - $43,958 to $70,332 per year; Associate Analyst - $48,463 to $77,541 per year.

The benefits we offer include traditional health, dental, and vision insurance as well as employee assistance, wellness, and work/life balance programs. To support the need to rest and rejuvenate, employees are provided with a bank of paid time off in addition to paid holidays. And contributions to financial security are provided through a pension plan and deferred compensation program.

How to Apply

We encourage all interested candidates to apply for this position by completing a SANDAG Employment Application form. Resumes, cover letters, and work samples may be submitted in addition to the Employment Application but are not a substitute for this document.

The Employment Application can be downloaded in PDF format from the SANDAG Web site. Alternatively, a copy can be requested by calling (619) 699-1900 or e-mailing [email protected] Completed applications and related materials can be submitted via e-mail, fax, regular mail, courier, or delivered by hand. See our Careers / How to Apply Web page for additional information.

Applications for the Economic/Demographic Research Analyst position will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Friday, March 12, 2010.

Applicants requiring an accommodation due to a disability should state their needs in writing when submitting an application.

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