Future of Work

The Joint Center’s future of work program is focused on identifying the challenges and opportunities of the changing nature of work for Black communities. Automation, the "gig economy," and globalization are changing the nature of work, and can either deepen or eliminate racial disparities in the future based on today's policy decisions. Our work concentrates on creating solutions to help workers in Black communities as the economy changes. To see all of our research and activities on the future of work, click here.

An Introduction to the Future of Work in the Black Rural South

By Joint Center | February 24, 2020

The Joint Center’s report, An Introduction to the Future of Work in the Black Rural South, is the first in a series of reports about Black Rural South and the future of work. We define the Black Rural South as 156 counties designated as rural by the USDA and have populations that are at least…

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Joint Center Hosts Convening on the Future of Work in Philadelphia

By Joint Center | February 10, 2020

On February 7, 2020, the Joint Center, Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation, and The City of Philadelphia hosted a day-long convening at the Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia, PA to discuss the challenges and solutions for the Black residents of Philadelphia regarding the future of work. Joint Center President Spencer Overton kicked off the conversation with a…

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Joint Center Hosts Convening on the Future of Work in Atlanta

By Joint Center | November 7, 2019

On October 29, 2019, the Joint Center, Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation, and the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies hosted a day-long convening at the Andrew Young School in Atlanta, GA to discuss the challenges and solutions for the Black residents of Atlanta regarding the future of work. Participants, including scholars, community leaders, entrepreneurs, technologists, members of…

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Joint Center Shares New Data at Rep Lisa Blunt Rochester’s CBC ALC Forum

By Joint Center | September 16, 2019

On September 13, Joint Center President Spencer Overton shared new data and a 6-page fact sheet, Improving Training to Brighten the Future of Black Workers, at Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester’s CBC ALC forum, Disruption or Innovation: A Blueprint for the Black Community in the Tech-Age. Ahead of the forum’s conversation, Spencer revealed the Joint Center’s new findings that…

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Improving Training to Brighten the Future of Black Workers

By Joint Center | September 13, 2019

The Joint Center’s fact sheet, Improving Training to Brighten the Future of Black Workers, summarizes the research that will be detailed in our forthcoming report, Evaluating African American Outcomes to Improve Workforce Training Programs. The report urges for better analysis and disclosure of outcomes by race to ensure that training programs are effective for African Americans. Effective…

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The Future of Work in The Black Rural South

By Joint Center | August 9, 2019

The Joint Center’s fact sheet, The Future of Work in The Black Rural South, summarizes the research that will be detailed in our forthcoming three reports on rural counties with populations that are 35% Black or higher. Click the following for the… 4-page fact sheet Author Joint Center

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Joint Center President Spencer Overton Gives Keynote Talk on the Black Rural South and the Future of Work with Local Mississippi Leaders

By Joint Center | August 9, 2019

On August 9, Spencer was a keynote speaker at One Voice Mississippi Black Leadership Institute in Tunica, Mississippi. During the event, Spencer presented on the Joint Center’s current “Future of Work and the Black Rural South” research to over 25 local elected and emerging leaders. After quickly reviewing the role of Black enslaved persons in…

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Joint Center Talks Black Rural South and Future of Work at CBC Institute USDA Session

By Joint Center | August 8, 2019

On August 8, Spencer presented on the Joint Center’s current work on the “Future of Work and the Black Rural South” at the USDA session at the Congressional Black Caucus Institute’s Mississippi Policy Conference in Tunica, Mississippi. After quickly reviewing the role of Black enslaved persons in establishing U.S. economic dominance, Spencer explained how the…

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Racial Differences on the Future of Work: A Survey of the American Workforce

By Joint Center | July 24, 2019

Technological changes in the workplace are increasing productivity and opportunities for some American workers, displacing others, and requiring many to develop new skills. At the same time, demographic changes suggest that people of color will become the majority of the U.S. population between 2040 and 2050. In light of these factors, the perspectives of people…

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Policies to Help Black & Latino Businesses Use Mobile Apps to Grow

By Joint Center | June 10, 2019

The Joint Center’s report, Policies to Help Black & Latino Businesses Use Mobile Apps to Grow, provides an introduction to policymakers, chambers of commerce, libraries, incubators, and other local institutions on how Black and Latino entrepreneurs can use apps to grow. Click on the following for the… 2-page executive summary 22-page full report Key Points:…

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Joint Center Hosts Convening on the Future of Work in Chicago

By Joint Center | April 30, 2019

On April 26, 2019, the Joint Center, Comcast-NBCUniversal, and Black Action in Public Policy Studies (a student group at the University of Chicago) hosted a day-long convening at the UChicago to discuss solutions for the Black residents in Chicago as it relates to the future of work.Participants, including local workforce boards, community leaders, coding groups,…

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Joint Center Moderates Rep. Blunt Rochester’s CBC Future of Work Session

By Joint Center | September 15, 2018

On Saturday, September 15 Joint Center President Spencer Overton moderated Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester’s 2018 CBC ALC Policy Session workshop: “The Future of Work: What’s Next?” Congresswoman Blunt Rochester (D-DE) is a member of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Workforce, and is a former Delaware Secretary of Labor and CEO of the Metropolitan…

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National Urban League’s 2018 State of Black America Features Joint Center Essay

By Joint Center | May 31, 2018

A Joint Center essay was featured in the National Urban League’s annual State of Black America report. In “Black to the Future: Will Robots Increase Racial Inequality?” Joint Center President Spencer Overton discussed the importance of consciously moving forward with an equity mindset as industries become increasingly automated. From self-checkout lanes to robots in manufacturing…

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Race & Jobs at High Risk to Automation

By Joint Center | December 15, 2017

Innovation is changing America, from self-checkout lanes in grocery stores to driverless cars. New jobs will emerge, like technicians who service these technologies. Other jobs will be eliminated, such as some cashiers and drivers. To what extent are African Americans—whose unemployment rates are already twice as high as those of Whites—currently represented in jobs at…

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The Use of Digital Tools by Black and Latino Businesses

By Joint Center | October 24, 2017

New Joint Center Survey: The Use of Digital Tools by Black and Latino Businesses As we become increasingly reliant upon our devices — from finding the nearest gas station with our navigation systems to paying for our coffee with a swipe of our phones, businesses of color need to do an internal check and ask…

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The Impact of Automation on Black Jobs

By Joint Center | September 23, 2017

Almost a quarter of African-American workers are concentrated in just 20 occupations that are at high risk to automation, such as cashiers, retail salespersons, cooks, and security guards. The 20 occupations with a high risk of automation over the next 10-20 years (80-99 percent) that employ the most African Americans account for 24.1 percent of…

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5G, Smart Cities & Communities of Color

By Joint Center | January 20, 2017

Innovation is changing America, from self-checkout lanes in grocery stores to driverless cars. New jobs will emerge, like technicians who service these technologies. Other jobs will be eliminated, such as cashiers and drivers. How will these changes affect communities of color? How can leaders maximize new job and business opportunities, and mitigate challenges like job…

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