At CNA, work is a career of mission-focused investigation
“Our people are committed to doing research that will make a positive impact on the public interest and the world,” says a recruiter
Senior employment specialist Kelvin Miley is looking for research and technical staff members for CNA.
“I tell candidates we’re an R&D center, essentially a think tank,” says Miley. “Our product is our people and their thought processes. More than 96 percent of our research analysts have advanced degrees, and more than 70 percent have PhDs.
“We touch the needs of almost every agency in the Washington, DC area and beyond. We do much of our work with the government on national security and defense issues, but we’ve expanded into a broader range of public interest areas like education, healthcare and public policy, homeland security, human capital management and air traffic management.”
CNA is growing and hiring. It currently has 500 fulltime and 200 part-time workers and is looking for more.
Because of the type of work they’re involved in, CNA employees must be able to obtain and maintain security clearances. A pre-existing clearance is helpful but not required, Miley says. The clearance process takes about a year, and new hires can work on unclassified projects until it’s completed.
“The only positions that require a clearance up front are our IT support positions. This enables them to help any of our internal clients, even those working on classified projects,” he explains.
The IT division supports the organization in several areas, including the company’s own information security from data to email. IT also supports equipment, software and hardware, and handles the company’s conference center and telecom services.
Miley finds new candidates through colleges, search firms, publications and networking. “Many of our research analysts are hired directly from graduate school, but we also hire others with experience in the workforce, military, government and other areas. We aren’t necessarily looking for people with specific backgrounds who are already set and focused on specific areas or tasks. We are looking for people with strong analytical skills who can find solutions to tough problems.” An advanced degree, not surprisingly, is a definite plus.
Typical projects at CNA include studies and support involving troop safety, systems and technology investments, manpower and materials management, international policy issues, armaments, the impact of troop surges, environmental issues, and emergency response.
CNA’s approach to problem solving involves work on client sites to conduct analyses. Analysts are encouraged to take advantage of the many opportunities for fieldwork at CNA during their careers.
After research analysts have been on the job for a few years, they can talk with people who’ve been in the field and with the people who organize the field program, to learn about where they might provide direct support to operating forces. It might be Hawaii, Japan, Iraq or a host of other places. Field assignments usually last for two to three years.
CNA employees come from a variety of academic backgrounds: math, engineering, economics, international relations, education, healthcare, public policy, history, psychology, computer science and more.
Their demographic backgrounds are diverse too. Nearly half the employees at CNA are women or minorities. “A diverse workforce is essential to producing effective and insightful analysis,” Miley says. “We continue to emphasize bringing in a diverse workforce.”
To reach a diverse pool of candidates, Miley works through the National Society for Black Physicists and NSBE, SWE and other professional technical groups.
The CNA Corporation
||Approximately $100 million
||Research and analysis of complex problems for decision-makers in public-sector organizations