Social Research Scientist - Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County

King County   Seattle, WA   Full-time     Social Service
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Posted on April 23, 2021

The Social Research Scientist (SRS) evaluates emerging health, environment, and community priorities and works with teams to evaluate projects. This person consults with and provides guidance to project teams on using social science and community-based participatory research approaches to design, implement, and apply findings. The SRS also guides the application of research findings to inform policy and intervention strategies for program management.
Through the work of over 150 dedicated employees, the Environmental Health Services Division identifies and sustains environmental conditions that promote health equity and healthy people and communities in Seattle and King County. Our vision is healthy, safe, and vibrant communities that are free of health disparities based on race, gender, or economic status. The Division's core values include equity and social justice, integrity, community service, collaboration, a supportive work culture, and learning from each other and the communities we serve. To learn more about EHS, please visit
 The Hazardous Waste Management Program (Haz Waste Program) is a coalition of local governments. Partners work in multi-agency teams, drawing on their strengths and expertise to protect public health and the environment. “At the Hazardous Waste Management Program, we come to work every day because we want to protect and improve public and environmental quality in King County. Together with our partners, we are working towards a shared vision: A Puget Sound region that’s the cleanest in the country, free from hazardous chemical exposure.” To learn more about the Haz Waste Program, please visit

 As the only jurisdiction in the world named after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the most influential civil rights leaders in our nation's history, King County is a vibrant international community with residents that represent countries from around the world. It is a region with increasing diversity that cherishes the traditions of many cultures.
 We have a deep commitment to equity and social justice and advancing practices, strategies, and policies that promote fairness, justice, and opportunity for all – in our workplaces and our communities. With this commitment, King County has adopted a pro-equity agenda to advance regional change and ensure that residents from vulnerable communities are incorporated into our emergency planning and public outreach efforts. To learn more, please visit

Job Duties

Program and Community Needs Assessment 
Develop and implement methods for monitoring emerging health and environmental issues and behaviors related to the Haz Waste Program’s mission using socioeconomic, demographic, consumer/market, behavioral, and community data.

Monitor key social, health and environmental indicators that reflect environmental and population-based priorities for the Haz Waste Program.  
Use strategies, including literature reviews, and qualitative (focus groups, interviews, ethnographic studies, etc.) and quantitative (surveys, consumer data, etc.) research methodologies, to identify community needs, consumer behavior, and program service levels.

Develop recommendations for the Haz Waste Program based on needs assessments. 
Applied Research, Program Planning, and Project Support 
Consult with Haz Waste Program staff and management, community partners, policy liaisons, environmental and health planners, public officials, and other stakeholder groups to assist in policy development, planning for community needs, and developing interventions based on research findings. 
Design participatory-based research approaches that support co-designing research and evaluation activities and co-developing recommendations with community organization and other partners. 

Develop multi-disciplinary research and evaluation strategies, including design, data management, implementation, data analysis, reporting, and application to projects. Methods may include interviews, focus groups, community conversations, surveys, assessments, market research, or other quantitative or qualitative methods.


Provide technical support, training, and consulting to Haz Waste Program work teams and program partners around social science research and evaluation and application of data for planning. 

Promote and apply research standards, including quality assurance and human subjects protection protocols.
Share results in a style that is appropriate for a wide variety of audiences, including 
Haz Waste Program managers and partners, community groups, elected officials, and research scientists.

Administration and Contract Management 


Manage projects in an environment of changing priorities with time and budget constraints and multiple stakeholders; guide project scope of work; and lead and coordinate research and evaluation efforts with departmental and program staff, community partners, and investigators in other agencies.

Manage contracts in support of research projects, including: working with contracts and procurement staff, writing requests for proposal and scopes of work, performance monitoring and reporting, and technical assistance provision, as appropriate.
Coordinate research with other federal, state, and local public health agencies.

Experience, Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills

  • Applied knowledge of public health and/or environmental science practice and principles. 
  • Knowledge of equity and social justice principles and practices, and understanding of the effects of race-, place-, policy- & systems-based inequities on communities of color.
  • Demonstrated skill in participatory-based research approaches and working with community partners to design, implement, and learn from research and evaluation activities.
  • Demonstrated skill in designing, analyzing, and applying findings from qualitative and quantitative research methods that may include literature reviews, interviews, focus groups, community conversations, surveys, assessments, and market data.
  • Demonstrated ability to draw sound conclusions from quantitative and qualitative data, with application to program- and project- planning. 
  • Demonstrated ability to work on multiple tasks or projects simultaneously while meeting deadlines and time constraints. 
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate and work with diverse populations and community groups. 
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and manage major projects involving others in the synthesis, collection, and analysis of data. 
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with others and work as part of a diverse multidisciplinary team. 
  • Demonstrated ability to convene and/or collaborate in diverse community partnerships.
  • Demonstrated ability to translate research findings and conclusions into clear and concise information for non-technical audiences. 
  • Demonstrated ability to prepare Institutional Review Board applications to ensure that research projects abide by required human subjects protections.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in: Microsoft Office 365; spreadsheet development; database creation and maintenance; Statistical analysis software such as R, SPSS, or STATA; Qualitative analysis software such as Dedoose, Web survey software such as   SurveyMonkey or REDCap; Data visualization software such as Tableau or Power BI. 

Desired Qualifications:

The most competitive candidates will have: 

  • A Master's degree, or comparable life and professional experience, in social science, environmental science, or other public health related science (e.g. epidemiology, social impact assessment, health communication, community-based participatory research) or a closely related field. 
  • The ideal candidate will also have an additional 3–4 years of experience leading other people in applied research project(s) involving human subjects protection and data collection, synthesis, analysis, and application (or equivalent experience in applied research and program work).

 Licensing / Certification Requirements:

  • Valid Washington State driver's license, or ability to obtain before hire.

Supplemental Information

Forbes recently named King County as one of Washington State's best employers. 

Together, with leadership and our employees, we're changing the way government delivers service and winning national recognition as a model of excellence. Are you ready to make a difference? Come join the team dedicated to serving one of the nation's best places to live, work and play. 

Guided by our "True North", we are making King County a welcoming community where every person can thrive. We value diversity, inclusion and belonging in our workplace and workforce. To reach this goal we are committed to workforce equity. Equitable recruiting, support, and retention is how we will obtain the highest quality workforce in our region; a workforce that shares and will help advance our guiding principles--we are one team; we solve problems; we focus on the customer; we drive for results; we are racially just; we respect all people; we lead the way; and we are responsible stewards. We encourage people of all backgrounds and identities to apply, including Native American and people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ+, people living with disabilities, and veterans.

King County is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Employer
No person is unlawfully excluded from employment opportunities based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy), age, genetic information, disability, veteran status, or other protected class. Our EEO policy applies to all employment actions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, selection for training, promotion, transfer, demotion, layoff, termination, rates of pay or other forms of compensation.

To Apply
If you are interested in pursuing this position, please follow the application instructions carefully. If you need this announcement in an alternate language or format, would like to request accommodation or assistance in the application or assessment process or if you have questions please contact your recruiter listed on this job announcement.

Who May Apply: This position is open to all qualified candidates. 

This posted continuous until filled with consideration for applications received by April 21, 2021.

Application Process: 
The following items are required to be considered for this vacancy:

  • An electronic application through or (use the "Apply" link) including work history and position duties.
  • A cover letter describing your interest in this position and how do you meet the required qualifications for this job. 
  • A current resume
  • Responses to supplemental questions.
Your application may be rejected as incomplete if you do not include the relevant information in the application. Cover letters and/or resumes are not accepted in lieu of a completed application. Applications and/or Supplemental Questionnaires that state "see my resume" or "see my personnel file" are considered incomplete and will not be accepted.
  • The selection process may include but is not limited to: evaluation of application materials and supplemental questions, interviewing, and testing. For more information on our selection process, please refer to
  • Regular and reliable attendance, effective communication skills, and development of effective working relationships are requirements of all Public Health positions.
  • Staff may be required to play an active role in the event of a public health emergency, which may include changes in responsibilities, work location, and working hours.
Necessary Special Requirements
  • The selected candidate will be required to submit to a thorough background investigation. Records are not automatically-disqualifying. 
  • Employees are required to protect the privacy and security of protected health information as defined in State and Federal Law.
  • Employees are required to adhere to OSHA/WISHA guidelines including but not limited to completing required training on time.
Working Conditions & Physical Requirements
  • This position requires the ability to perform work duties in an office environment 
  • Exposure to individuals from the public who are upset, angry, agitated, and sometimes hostile, requiring the use of conflict management and de-escalation skills. 
Work Schedule: This full-time position is non-exempt (hourly) from the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and is eligible for overtime. The normal workweek is Monday – Friday. Occasional evening and weekend work is required.

Work Location: 
King County employees are required to telework until July 5, 2021. Home base for this position is in the Chinook Building, 401 Fifth Avenue. Suite 1100, Seattle, WA 98104. 

Temporary Telecommuting Requirement
Some of the work associated with this position will be performed remotely, at least through July 5, 2021 in compliance with King County’s telecommuting mandate.  Employees will be provided with a County issued laptop and must maintain a workspace with an internet connection where they can reliably perform work and remain available and responsive during scheduled work hours.  Employees must reside in WA state and within a reasonable distance to their King County worksite to respond to workplace reporting requirements.  There will be situations where the employee is required to report to a County worksite.  Please note that when an employee conducts work that is likely to bring them in contact with another individual, safety precautions are required by the department in alignment with the Public Health Directive from the Seattle & King County Public Health Officer.

To support employees during this time King County has a robust collection of tools and resources to support working remotely. The individual selected for this opportunity will be joining an innovative and progressive team. King County is doing its part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and remains committed to reducing our carbon footprint. 

Union Affiliation:
This position is represented by Local 21 Union.

If you have questions about regarding the recruitment process, please contact Nic Horea, Senior Human Resource Analyst at or 206-263-8736. 

King County offers a highly-competitive compensation and benefits package designed to meet the diverse needs of our employees and support our employees' health and well-being.  Eligible positions receive the following benefits and have access to the following programs:

  • Medical, dental, and vision coverage: King County pays 100% of the premiums for eligible employees and family members
  • Life and disability insurance: employees are provided basic coverage and given the opportunity to purchase additional insurance for both the employee and eligible dependents
  • Retirement: King County employees are eligible to participate in a pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems and a 457(b) deferred-compensation plan
  • Transportation program and ORCA transit pass
  • 10 paid holidays each year (plus 2 personal holidays)
  • Generous vacation and paid sick leave
  • Paid parental leave, family and medical leaves, and volunteer leave
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Wellness programs
  • Onsite gyms and activity centers
  • Employee giving program
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Flexible schedules and telecommuting options, depending on position
  • Training and career development programs
For additional information about employee benefits please visit our Benefits, Payroll, and Retirement Page.

This is a general description of the benefits offered to eligible King County employees, and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy.  If any information on this document conflicts with the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the CBA prevails.  Also, in the event of any incorrect information in this document, applicable laws, policies, rules, CBAs, or official plan documents will prevail.
NOTE:  Benefits for Term Limited Temporary (TLT) or Short Term Temporary (STT) positions, including leave eligibility and/or participation in the pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems, will vary based upon the terms and details of the position. Short Term Temporary positions are not eligible for an ORCA transit pass.
For inquiries about the specifics of this position, please contact the recruiter identified on this job posting.

Do you have knowledge and/or experience addressing racial disparities?
  • Yes
  • No
If you answered "yes" to questions #1, please describe how you would address racial disparities related to hazardous materials exposure. If you answered "no", please type N/A.
Do you have experience with social research methods and techniques?
  • Yes
  • No
If you answered "yes" to question #3, please describe your experience with social research methods and techniques, human subjects protection, research synthesis, and how you have applied this knowledge to program decision-making. If you answered "no", please type N/A.
Do you have experience co-designing research and evaluation activities?
  • Yes
  • No
If you answered "yes" to question #5, please describe your experience co-designing research and evaluation activities and co-developing recommendations with community groups. Be specific and include where this experience was gained. If you do not have this experience, please describe how you would approach this work. If you answered "no", please type N/A.
Do you have project management knowledge and experience?
  • Yes
  • No
If you answered "yes" to question #7, please describe your project management skills and ability leading a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary team in the collection and analysis of data. Please provide a specific example and describe the team and leadership strategies used to ensure the project was adequately resourced, monitored, and completed on-time and within budget. If you answered "no", please type N/A.
Please describe a specific example of your experience providing guidance and consultation to program and/or project managers on project content, design, strategies, and/or evaluation. If you don't have this experience, type N/A.
Are you applying to this position as an eligible Current or Previous King County Employee Priority Placement Program Participant AND Is this position the same or lower percentage of full-time when compared to the position held at the point of the notification of layoff AND Do you possess the skills and abilities to qualify for this position?
  • Yes, I was given a layoff notice from my role at King County AND I am within two years of the effective date of my layoff. AND The position I was laid off from was the same or a higher percentage of FT status when compared to this one.
  • No.
If you answered yes to the question above and you are applying for this position as a Priority Placement Participant, to be considered, you must provide the following three pieces of information in the space provided: 1. The title you held when you received your layoff notice 2. The department you worked in 3. The effective date of your layoff

Required Question