Joint Center News: January 31, 2018

We recently released a new data brief on race and jobs at high risk to automation, pushed for newly-elected U.S. Senator Doug Jones to hire diverse top staff (he did!), and released our 2017 year-in-review video
FUTURE OF WORK New Data: Race & Jobs at High Risk to Automation In December, the Joint Center released a new data brief showing 27% of African American workers are concentrated in just 30 occupations at high risk to automation. Compared to white workers, African American workers are much more likely to be cashiers, cooks, security guards, bus drivers, and taxi drivers.Depending on policy interventions today, automation could either increase or decrease racial inequality.Read the 7-page data brief here.
Joint Center at Google on the Future of Work as a Civil Rights Issue Spencer spoke at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California on a “Racial Justice and Civil Rights Policy” panel moderated by African American Mayors Association Executive Director Stephanie Mash Sykes. More details here Joint Center talks Future of Work on WPFW Empower Hour Radio Show On January 4th, 2018, the Joint Center spoke with DeShuna Spencer on DC 89.3 FM WPFW radio about how the future of work and automation will affect people of color.

Joint Center Engages in Future of Work Discussion in Middle America The Joint Center participated in the Bentonville Conference on American Life which brought together scholars, think tank fellows, and other policy experts in Bentonville, Arkansas to discuss the future of work and other issues. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon talked with Spencer about retraining existing workers for new jobs and new job functions.
Here’s a video snapshot of the conference.STEM Education, STEM Employment, and Race API and the Joint Center hosted an event on the impact of STEM education on employment at George Washington University. The event was a roll-out for a new RAND report entitled Postsecondary Education and STEM Employment in the United States which included significant data on African Americans, STEM degree attainment, and employment in the oil and natural gas industry. Read the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s story on the event here Ford Foundation turns to Dignity and Work in the Age of Automation In a recent letter, Ford Foundation President Darren Walker lifted up the future of work as an area in which the foundation will intervene. Read the full letter here.

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (AL) Hires Only Black Democratic Senate Chief of Staff On January 2, 2018, Senator Jones appointed Dana Gresham to be his chief of staff.Of the approximately 339 top staff positions in the U.S. Senate in Washington, DC, seven are now African American (up from three in 2015), including four Republicans and three Democrats. The most recent hire illustrates the impact of the Joint Center’s data in prompting change (e.g., our report on Senate staff diversity).On this particular hire, the Joint Center:

  • Updated our Senate Staff Diversity Fact Sheet, emphasizing that African Americans account for 23% of Democratic votes and 55% of voters who cast ballots for Doug Jones, but only 1% of top Democratic Senate Staff.
  • Had several telephone calls with key Alabama press and Black leaders to talk about the significance of Senate staff diversity in Washington, DC.
  • Organized this conference call with Alabama leaders and press about diverse hiring, which featured speakers such as the National Urban League’s Don Cravins, the NALEO Educational Fund’s Erin Hustings, Birmingham Councilwoman Shelia Tyson, Birmingham Lawyer Catrena Norris Carter, Cliff Albright of the Black Voters Matter Fund, and the Joint Center’s Don Bell.
  • Garnered significant media attention on the issue, which resulted in the following coverage:

SBLSC Celebration of 40th Anniversary: The Joint Center and the National Urban League collaborated in sponsoring the 40th Anniversary of the Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus (SBLSC), which has been a leader in recent diversity efforts. Senators Harris, Booker, and Scott, the only three African American U.S. Senators, attended the event. Read more here.

Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris Appointed to Senate Judiciary Committee: On January 9, 2018, Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker were appointed to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and became only the second and third Black Senators on the committee. Some believe that high Black voter turnout in the Alabama Senate race and the push for diversity among Senate staff were important factors in the appointments. The committee oversees the confirmation of federal judges, the Department of Justice, criminal justice, and other important issues. Dana Gresham, chief-of-staff to U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL), also addressed the group just days after his appointment to become the only African American Democratic chief-of-staff in the U.S. Senate.


Joint Center and Congressional Black Caucus Host 2018 Preview Lunch: On January 5, 2018, the Joint Center and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) hosted a lunch briefing at the Congressional Visitors Center. CBC Executive Director Fabrice Coles and CBC Policy Director Caren Street presented their plans for the organization in 2018. Dana Gresham, chief-of-staff to U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL), also addressed the group just days after his appointment to become the only African American Democratic chief-of-staff in the U.S. Senate. Read more here.

Joint Center Gives Louis E. Martin Award to Congresswoman Barbara Lee:  On January 10, 2018, the Joint Center’s Board Chair Barbara Johnson and Spencer Overton presented Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) with the Joint Center’s highest honor —The Louis E. Martin Great American Award. Congresswoman Lee, a former Chief of Staff for Congressman Ron Dellums who currently represents the Bay Area, has consistently pushed for increased diversity among congressional staff and in Silicon Valley. To read more,  click here.

2017 Joint Center Accomplishments: On economic studies, we published groundbreaking research on race and the future of work, wireless and Smart Cities technologies, and technology use by businesses of color. On political studies, our efforts along with our partners resulted in Senate and House Democrats adopting staff diversity rules, and a 50% increase in top Black Senate staff.  about our 2017 accomplishments. 

The Partnership on Artificial Intelligence is hiring for several positions, and the Internet Association is looking for a Director of Diversity and Inclusion Policy.

  • CBC Members Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) sent this letter to the Internet Association raising concerns about racial bias in artificial intelligence, and the Internet Association responded by indicating it would hire a Director of Diversity and inclusion policy (apply here).
  • Outgoing American Express CEO Ken Chenault is joining the boards of Airbnb and Facebook.
  • Courtney Dunbar Jones, an IRS Counsel and graduate of both Hampton University and Harvard Law School, will be nominated by Donald Trump to the U.S. Tax Court.
  • Charter Communications awarded grants to 17 nonprofits that educate community members on the benefits of broadband. The list included Urban Leagues from Central Florida, Shenango Valley, Greater Kansas City, and Rochester.