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Joint Center Labor Day News

In August, we explored the implications of labor data on the Black community, put the finishing touches on our soon-to-be-released diversity among U.S. House staff report, honored advocate and Joint Center supporter Ron Dellums, and more.In August, we explored the implications of labor data on the Black community, put the finishing touches on our soon-to-be-released diversity among U.S. House staff report, honored advocate and Joint Center supporter Ron Dellums, and more.

Economic Studies: Future of Work
Joint Center Organizes Discussion of Black Job Numbers: Howard University’s Dr. Bill Spriggs, workforce expert René Bryce-Laporte, and the Joint Center’s Harin Contractor analyzed the impact of last month’s job numbers on Black communities. Despite lower unemployment, many Black workers remain disconnected from the workforce Read the blog here. Go to @JointCenter at 8:30 am on Friday, Sept. 7 when the Labor Department releases job numbers to follow the next conversation in real time.

Joint Center Speaks at 2018 National Urban League Conference:Joint Center President Spencer Overton joined the panel “Equity By Design: Educating and Supporting the 21st Century Workforce” with Black Educators Rock CEO Dr. Melissa Chester, Kapor Center Research Chief Dr. Allison Scott, ProMedica’s John Jones, LinkedIn’s Jacqueline Jones, Per Scholas Columbus’s Toni Cunningham, and IncluDe CEO Kristen Ransom. Read the blog here.

Joint Center’s Harin Contractor Appointed to Lead FCC Diversity Workforce Group: Harin, a member of the Federal Communications Commission Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment, will lead the group’s efforts to examine policy levers that could expand educational and up-skilling opportunities, and other workforce development efforts.

The Washington Informer Covers the Joint Center: The Joint Center’s commitment to increasing workforce development in Black communities was highlighted in coverage of our statement about the Trump Administration’s National Council for the American Worker. Story here.
In August, the Joint Center Analyzed Summer Employment for Black Youth. Harin found that the number of Black youth in the summer workforce remained stagnant, even though summer youth employment overall rose.More here.

Opportunity@Work CEO Byron Auguste busts through myths about the so-called “skills gap,” including not enough college grads, not enough STEM, and not enough salary. Read it here.

Comcast Released an Update on its Internet Essentials Program for Low-income Families: The program aims to connect the unconnected and provide greater access to broadband used for academic and job seeking purposes. The program has connected six million low-income Americans to high-speed internet, and distributed 85,000 affordable subsidized computers. Eighty percent of the program’s customers are people of color. Read it here.

Universal Basic Income (UBI) was discussed on Trevor Noah’s “Daily Show” when the New Yorker’s Annie Lowrey appeared as a guest to promote her book Give People Money.Watch it here. At an April Joint Center event, economist William “Sandy” Darity observed that UBI might cause private sector employers to keep wages low since UBI would subsidize their employees’ income. In contrast, Dr. Darity noted that a federal jobs guarantee could increase wages by causing the private sector to compete for talent.
Political Studies: Congressional Staff Diversity

Joint Center Prepares to Release Report on Diversity Among Top U.S. House Staff: In August, the Joint Center’s Don Bell met with several House offices to provide a preview and get feedback. The report will be released in September.

U.S. Senate Loses Only Black Communications Director: An outstanding communications director and a good friend of the Joint Center, Darrell “D.J.” Jordan, announced that he was leaving the office of Senator James Lankford (R-OK) to join a public relations firm. There are now only six African Americans in top positions in DC Senate offices—three work for Republicans, and three for Democrats. While African Americans account for over 13 percent of the U.S. population, they now account for only 1.8 percent of Senate top staff.More here.

Black Women’s Congressional Alliance (BWCA) Celebrates Communications Professionals: On August 21, the Alliance hosted a mixer at the Raben Group celebrating women in communications. Honorees included individuals from the private sector, advocacy world, and the civil rights community.

Monica Garcia has become Deputy Communications Director in office of U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV). Garcia previously served as Deputy Director of Communications at the Latino Victory Fund.Details here.

Think Tank Round UpConnor Maxwell at the Center for American Progress (CAP) wrote that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh threatens the right to vote. Full text here.

Several Brookings scholars recognized the one-year anniversary of the 2017 White supremacist march in Charlottesville. Camille Busette and Vanessa Williamson explained Charlottesville demonstrated America’s failure to address the brutal legacy of slavery. Nicol Turner-Lee argued that we need another Kerner Commission. Rachel Barker and Alan Berube argue that lasting change in cities requires not just the removal of Confederate moments, but also tackling deep, structural barriers reflected in segregation, limited opportunity, and continued discrimination.

The Center of American Progress’ Aastha Uprety and Danyelle Solomon wrote about combating hate, particularly White nationalism, in the digital space. The piece calls for platforms to do a better job implementing terms of use that ensure users promote transparency and accountability, and do not engage in promoting hate. Full piece here.

Janelle Jones from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) analyzed the latest Black unemployment data. DC has the highest Black unemployment rate at 12.4%, while West Virginia has the highest White unemployment rate at 5.1%.Read here.

In honor of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day on August 7, Madison Matthews and Valerie Wilson of the Economic Policy Institute wrote about how patterns of occupational segregation still affect Black women’s earnings.Read it here.


At Brookings Michael Hanson and Diane Quintero highlight the growing segregation of the teacher workforce. Read it here. Amanda Novello and Andrew Stettner at the Century Foundationwrote that the number of Black and Latino “gig economy” workers increased from 2005-2017 (contingent work and arrangement employment), while the number of White gig economy workers declined.Read it here.

Miranda Simes  at The Hass Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society argues that “green cities” must focus not just on lowering greenhouse gas emissions, but also the disproportionate exposure of neighborhoods of color to pesticides, hazardous waste, bus depots emissions, and other environmental harms.



Robert Manduca of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth explained how rising income inequality has increased the average income gap between Blacks and Whites. More here.

Andre Perry of Brookings maps localities with high shares of Black residents with STEM degrees, and argues that localities should strategically build out a Black STEM workforce to attract investment, and that companies should invest in these areas.More here.

Remembering Congressman Ron Dellums. This summer Congressman Ron Dellums passed away at age 82. A former social worker, Ron Dellums rose to prominence as a national civil rights leader, a member of Congress, and Mayor of Oakland.


Dellums chaired the Joint Center’s “Dellums Commission,” which analyzed the policies that affect the physical, emotional, and social health of young men of color and their communities, and developed plans to alter policies that limit life paths for young men of color. In 2006-2007, the Joint Center’s Dellums Commission produced
nine seminal reports, and laid the groundwork for the President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, the Executive Alliance on Men and Boys of Color, and other projects focused on challenges faced by men and boys of color.   Click here for the Joint Center’s Dellums Commission research. Read his New York Times obituary here.

The Joint Center is looking for to hire a Policy Manager, an Economic Policy Manager, and a Digital Communications Specialist. The Policy Manager will support the Joint Center’s Future of Work Initiative and other policy issues; details here. The Economic Policy Manager will research, write, and publish solutions-oriented materials and manage our policy analysts as well as external research on economic issues. more here. The Digital Communications Specialist will oversee the production of our newsletter, blog posts, press statements, social media, and manage our website;.

The Ford Foundation’s Future of Work initiative is looking for a Program Officer to help guide the program’s goal of ensuring ‘future of work’ reduces inequality by contributing to better economic outcomes especially for women, people of color, migrants, and people with different abilities. More here.

The Partnership on AI, an organization that brings together academics, researchers, organizations, and companies utilizing automated technology, is hiring for several roles including Director of Policy, Head of Communications, and Chief Operating Officer. More here.

Watch Roland Martin’s New Daily Digital TV News Show, #Roland Martin Unfiltered! Spencer will be on the debut show on Tuesday, September 4 at 6 pm EST, and will be a weekly panelist thereafter.Click here for details.

The Congressional Black Caucus is available here. The National Black Caucus of State Legislators will host a Day on the Hill event on September 12. is available here. The Executive Leadership Council will host a 2018 Leadership Development Week from September 17-21 in Las Vegas, Nevada. More here

Juan Williams’s new book What the Hell Do You Have to Lose – Trump’s War on Civil Rights comes out September 25. It is a response to President Trump asking Black voters “what the hell do you have to lose?” when he was a presidential candidate. Pre-order it here.

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, founded in 1970, is a think tank that produces data, analysis, and ideas to solve challenges that confront the African American community. The Joint Center collaborates with top experts, various organizations, and others that value racial inclusion to maximize our impact. We are currently focused on the future of work in African American communities and congressional staff diversity.

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About Joint Center

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, America’s Black think tank, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1970 and based in Washington, DC. The Joint Center's mission is to inform and illuminate the nation's major public policy debates through research, analysis, and information dissemination in order to improve the socioeconomic status of Black communities in the United States; expand their effective participation in the political and public policy arenas; and promote communication and relationships across racial and ethnic lines to strengthen the nation's pluralistic society.