Nelson Lim

Photo of Nelson Lim
Director, Manpower, Personnel, and Training Program, RAND Project AIR FORCE; Senior Social Scientist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Off Site Office

Education

Ph.D. and M.A. in sociology, University of California, Los Angeles; B.A. in economics, University of California, Los Angeles

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email media@rand.org.

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Overview

Nelson Lim is director of the Manpower, Personnel, and Training Program in RAND Project AIR FORCE, and a senior social scientist at the RAND Corporation. Lim has worked with federal and local government agencies to improve their human resource management (HRM) practices for close to two decades. His clients include the Department of Defense, the United States Armed Forces, the United States Secret Service, National Security Agency, the Department of Justice, the City of Los Angeles, and the City of San Diego, as well as several large corporations. He applies rigorous quantitative as well as qualitative methods to uncover root causes of HRM challenges ranging from outreach, recruiting, talent management, workforce development, and retention. In 2009, Lim led the Military Leadership Diversity Commission (MLDC), a congressionally mandated commission to improve the diversity of top military leaders as the research director. The MLDC provided 20 specific recommendations to the United States Congress and the President of the United States. Congress has adopted the MLDC recommendations in a series of National Defense Authorization Acts, and DoD accepted and implemented the MLDC recommendations. In addition to working with federal agencies and large corporations, Lim has worked with cities specifically to assist police and fire departments with their recruiting. He assisted the Los Angeles Police Department and the San Diego Police Department to identify potential barriers for minorities and women to complete the recruiting process and improve the recruiting and diversity of their recruits. Lim earned his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Recent Projects

  • Shaping Policy to Improve Recruiter Access to Secondary Schools
  • Research and Analysis Support for Task Force to Address Interpersonal Violence and Threatening Behaviors
  • Research and Analysis Support for the Department of Defense Board on Diversity and Inclusion
  • Holistic Study & Analysis for Recruiting & Retention of Underrepresented Minorities
  • Further Development of Staffing Models for the Operational Mission-Support and Administrative, Professional and Technical (APT) Workforce

Selected Publications

David Schulker, Nelson Lim, Albert A. Robbert, Determining Staffing Needs for Administrative, Professional, and Technical Workers in the U.S. Secret Service: Methods and Lessons Learned, RAND (RR-3206-DHS), 2020

David Schulker, Nelson Lim, David Knapp, Bruce R. Orvis, Improving Strategic Resource Management in the Air Force Recruiting Enterprise: Challenges and Next Steps for Policymakers, RAND (PE-A304-1), 2020

Kimberly Curry Hall, Kirsten M. Keller, David Schulker, Sarah Weilant, Katherine L. Kidder, Nelson Lim, Improving Gender Diversity in the U.S. Coast Guard: Identifying Barriers to Female Retention, RAND (RR-2770-DHS), 2019

Maria C. Lytell, Kimberly Curry Hall, Nelson Lim, Improving U.S. Military Accession Medical Screening Systems, RAND (RR-2780-OSD), 2019

Nelson Lim, Bruce R. Orvis, Kimberly Curry Hall, Leveraging Big Data Analytics to Improve Military Recruiting, RAND (RR-2621-OSD), 2019

Kimberly Curry Hall, Kirsten M. Keller, David Schulker, Sarah Weilant, Katherine L. Kidder, Nelson Lim, Why Do Women Leave the Coast Guard, and What Can Be Done to Encourage Them to Stay?RAND (RB-10058-DHS), 2019

Kirsten M. Keller, Kimberly Curry Hall, Miriam Matthews, Leslie Adrienne Payne, Lisa Saum-Manning, Douglas Yeung, David Schulker, Stefan Zavislan, Nelson Lim, Addressing Barriers to Female Officer Retention in the Air Force, RAND (RR-2073-AF), 2018

Agnes Gereben Schaefer, Darrell D. Jones, Andrew M. Naber, Thomas Goughnour, Nelson Lim, An Assessment of Options for Increasing Gender Integration in Air Force Basic Military Training, RAND (RR-1795-AF), 2018

Honors & Awards

  • President’s Award, 2004, RAND
  • PAF Research Excellence Award, 2009, RAND
  • IACP/Sprint Excellence in Law Enforcement Research Award, Honorable Mention, 2009, IACP

Commentary

  • Police form a line after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown, Ferguson, Missouri, November 24, 2014

    Progress After Ferguson? Good Ideas Need Good Implementation

    President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing has done a great service by providing dozens of sound recommendations—good ideas that could help avoid another Ferguson. Now we need good implementation to go along with them.

    Mar 9, 2015 The RAND Blog

  • A man holding a 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot' pose and wearing an 'I Can't Breathe' mask outside City Hall, New York City, December 10, 2014

    Can Big Data Help Build Trust in the Police?

    After two controversial grand jury decisions not to indict police in the deaths of unarmed African Americans, a White House task force has 90 days to provide recommendations for promoting accountability among law enforcement agencies to cultivate trust between police and communities. The timeline may seem impossible, but, sadly, these issues are old and the solutions are well known.

    Dec 11, 2014 Newsweek

  • Young man working at computer outside

    The Realities of Silicon Valley's Lack of Workforce Diversity

    Major Silicon Valley tech firms have released statistics indicating their workforces are largely made up of white men. Corporate America is on the receiving end of a complex chain of social and educational factors that continue to leave minorities behind in terms of college graduation, and both minorities and women behind in terms of STEM degrees.

    Oct 2, 2014 San Francisco Chronicle

  • Pickpocket stealing a woman's wallet

    Crime Victims: Silicon Valley Tech Industry Can Get Them the Help They Need

    A broader approach is needed to better address the needs of millions of American victims of crimes like sexual assault, family violence, financial exploitation, gun violence, identity theft, burglary and stalking. And that's where Silicon Valley's tech community can step up.

    Aug 11, 2014 San Jose Mercury News

  • The Decline of Racial Profiling

    President Obama called the arrest of Professor Henry Gates a "teachable moment." This is a moment to learn the facts of race and policing these days. Racial profiling has indeed been an ugly reality for many years. But our research finds little evidence that it continues to be a major problem, write Greg Ridgeway and Nelson Lim.

    Jul 30, 2009 CNN.com

Publications