Research Intern

INTERNSHIP OPENING: Research Intern, Better Builder Program – Austin, TX

Internship Dates: Summer semester; mid June – mid August

Applications accepted until position is filled



Created in 2002, WDP is a statewide, membership-based organization devoted to workers’ rights, advocacy, and building power among Texas construction workers. Each year, WDP serves over 2,500 workers through offices in Austin, Dallas, and Houston by way of various social service and organizing programs.  WDP concentrates its efforts on winning better working conditions in the construction industry. The Texas construction industry is among the most dangerous in the country employing over 900,000 workers statewide, half of whom are undocumented. The New York Times described WDP as “one of the most creative organizations for immigrant workers in the country”.


WDP is one of the few organizations in Texas using organizing to address workplace abuse faced by low-wage laborers. Our campaigns have helped recover over $1,150,000 in back wages for 1,100 low-wage workers through negotiation, legal, and direct action; won paid rest breaks for Austin’s 60,000 construction workers by holding a “thirst strike” with WDP construction worker members and leaders; and passed a statewide wage theft law that allows police departments across Texas to arrest employers who don’t pay their workers.


The Better Builder Program was established in 2012 as a tool to improve working conditions for construction workers by certifying construction projects that achieve higher wage and safety protections for workers. To become Better Builder certified, a construction project provides a living wage, OSHA-10 safety training to all workers and OSHA-30 for safety supervisors, workers’ compensation insurance, local hiring goals, and periodic on-site interviews with construction workers from an independent third-party certified by the Better Builder program.   



The Better Builder Program Intern position is a 40-hour/week commitment and will run approximately 8 weeks during Summer 2018. Better Builder is working to expand its operations, and interns will have an exciting opportunity to help build out an organization from the ground up that will raise working conditions in the construction industry. This is not an internship with busy work. Interns will build their writing and research skills, learn project management, and become integral members of a team dedicated to helping working families in Texas. A qualified intern will have a demonstrated commitment to social, economic, and racial justice, as well as a proficiency in Spanish. Compensation will include a stipend of $150/week, possible course credit, and direct experience in building a sustainable social enterprise and raising working conditions for working families in Texas.



  • Conducting research on corporations, development projects, and key actors affecting the fight for justice in the Texas construction industry.  


  • Using open databases, public records, and other online sources to collect data, as well as conduct field research including site visits, interviews, and other human sources.  


  • Generating written materials to support existing Workers Defense Project campaigns.



  • Experience conducting basic social science and/or economic research, including reading and understanding primary and secondary sources, citing sources, and compiling information for use by external audiences.


  • Ability and/or willingness to understanding basic business, financial, and public policy concepts especially related to economic development, regulatory and political environments, and the construction industry overall.


  • Microsoft Word and Excel proficiency. Ability to use quantitative data to create tables, graphs, and visual presentations is a plus.



Send resume and cover letter to


As an equal opportunity employer, Workers Defense Project embraces diversity and does not discriminate in employment on the basis of age, race, color, creed, gender, religion, marital status, veteran’s status, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation. Women and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply.