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Joint Center News: November 2018

The new Congress is currently filling hundreds of open staff positions, and we are taking several strategic steps to maximize this opportunity to increase diversity among top staff and mid-level staff. We also presented our new survey data on Black communities and the future of work to the Partnership on AI and at a Peterson Foundation US2050 conference. Details below!


Political Studies: Congressional Staff Diversity
The time to increase Hill diversity is now: The incoming 116th Congress will provide hundreds of job openings and an opportunity to dramatically increase staff diversity on the Hill. There will be 100 new Members who must fully staff their offices, and Democratic Ranking Members of House committees will double their staff sizes as they become Chairs. Below find some of our efforts to seize this moment and diversify congressional staff.

The Joint Center sent Leader Pelosi (D-CA) a letter urging her to prioritize diversity among top staff. The letter detailed specific steps Leader Pelosi should take immediately, including fully staffing the existing House Democratic Diversity initiative, developing diversity goals for filling open positions over the next four months, and assessing Members’ staff diversity when making committee assignments. We also met with Leader Pelosi’s Chief of Staff and Sr. Advisor on this matter. Leader Pelosi sent a “Dear Colleague” letter encouraging Members to hire diverse staff, and holding up some of our recommendations. Read the Joint Center’s letter to Leader Pelosi here.

The Joint Center sent twenty-two letters to House Committee Ranking Members encouraging them to hire diverse candidates in anticipation of becoming committee Chairs and doubling the size of their committee staff. Read the letter here.

The Joint Center sent all 100 newly-elected Members of Congress our reports on top staff diversity in the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate. Read the correspondence  here.

The Joint Center sent additional letters urging Senators-Elect Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) to hire diverse top staff and mid-level staff as they build out their offices. See the letters here.

The Joint Center’s CNN Op-Ed:Joint Center President Spencer Overton’s commentary on CNN flagged the current opportunity to increase Hill staff diversity, held up examples of a lack of top staff diversity in offices representing several states (DE, MD, MS, TN, and VA), and proposed practices to solve the problem. Read it here.

The Joint Center released six state reports on congressional delegation staff diversity. The reports analyze top House and Senate staff in Delaware, Maryland, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia. See here. The reports were covered in The Washington Pos tand several local outlets. We are taking this data to constituents—these reports are the first in a series of state reports. Stay tuned.

The Joint Center’s report Racial Diversity Among Top U.S. House Staff continues to receive attention with press coverage in Washington Informer and DiversityInc, and other outlets.

Joint Center and NALEO Educational Fund’s Staff Up Congress Legislative Academy participants met with key leaders of the Democratic Staff Directors of the House and Senate Committee on Appropriations to gain “insights and strategies on how legislative staffers can effectively manage the appropriations process to advance legislative priorities.” Learn more here.

Several new House Members have already hired diverse Chiefs of Staff, including Representatives-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM), and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA). Details here.

The 116th Congress might be looking at these resume banks as they hire new top and key mid-level staffers. Check it out here.

The Congressional Black Caucus elected Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) to be the new CBC Chair in the 116th Congress. Learn more here.

CBC Members Will Hold the Third and Fourth Democratic Spots in the House: Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) was elected Majority Whip and Rep. Hakeem Jefferies (D-NY) was elected as Democratic Caucus Chair. More info here.


Economic Studies: Future of Work
Joint Center Workforce Director Harin Contractor spoke at Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s US2050 Conference and presented data from our recent survey on the Future of Work and people of color. Learn more here.

Harin hosted a live discussion about Black workers and the November jobs report with Erica Groshen (Former Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner), Chandra Childers (Researcher at Institute for Women’s Policy Research), and Harry Holzer (Former U.S. Department of Labor Chief Economist and Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University). Special thanks to the Peterson Foundation, which recorded the discussion. Watch it here.

The Joint Center’s Economic Policy Director Jessica Fulton led a Twitter discussion> on the November jobs report in relation to Black workers. Read about it here.

Jessica joined The Atlantic and AARP’s panel, Longevity: Looking Forward, to speak about opportunities and barriers in the future of work for communities of color. More here.

The Joint Center report Race & Jobs at High Risk to Automation was featured in Marguerite Casey Foundation’s Robots and Automation: Is There Space for Hourly Workers? Read it here.

McKinsey Releases Analysis of Impact of Automation on Black Workers: The  study uses a different methodology to come to the same conclusion of this Joint Center study released a year ago–that many Black workers are in jobs vulnerable to automation. We’ll provide a more extensive analysis of the McKinsey study in the near future.

The Joint Center’s forthcoming “Data Hub” continued to make headway with DataKind’s team of volunteers at their monthly DataJam. We appreciate DataKind’s hard work on building our one-stop hub for data on Black communities.

Joint Center Presented Survey Data at Partnership on AI: The Joint Center became a member of the Partnership on AI earlier this year, and Spencer shared early insights from the Joint Center’s Future of Work survey data of 600 African Americans, 600 Latinos, 600 AAPIs, and 600 Whites at the Partnership on AI meeting in San Francisco. More info here.

Jessica Fulton represented the Joint Center at the Economic Policy Institute’s PREE 10th Anniversary Symposium to discuss “Connecting Research to an Agenda for Racial Economic Justice.” Learn more here.

The Post and Courier’s> Thad Moore, Seanna Adcox, Paul Bowers, Jennifer Berry Hawes, and Glenn Smith wrote about the need for more skilled workers in South Carolina’s workforce. Read here.


Think Tank Round Up

Michael Leachman, Michael Mitchell, Nicholas Johnson, and Erica Williams of Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote “Advancing Racial Equity With State Tax Policy.”

Andre Perry of Brookings wrote “Youth Will Determine The Outcome of the 2018 Midterm Election.”

Andre M. Perry, Jonathan Rothwell, and David Harshbarger of Brookings wrote “The Devaluation of Assets in Black Neighborhoods.”

>Olugbenga Ajilore and Rejane Frederick of Center for American Progress wrote “How Amazon, the NFL, and Trump get rich off a tax break that’s supposed to help poor people.”

Nora Ellmann and Jocelyn Frye of Center for American Progress wrote “Efforts to Combat Pregnancy Discrimination.”

Daniella Gibbs Leger hosts podcast episodes on the midterm election, the power of film, and interviews April Ryan.

Daria Daniel of NACo wrote “U.S. Treasury, IRS issue regulations on Opportunity Zones.”

Janelle Jones of the Hub Project wrote about Black unemployment rates for Economic Policy Institute.

Lul Tesfaiof New America shared joint comments from the Center on Education & Skills on industry-recognized apprenticeship programs with five national partners.

Monica Anderson and Jingjing Jiangof Pew Research Center wrote “Liberal Democrats More Likely Than Other Groups to be Politically Active on Social Media.”

Terry-Ann Craigie, Eleanor Pratt, and Marla McDaniel of Urban Institute wrote “Father Reentry and Child Outcomes.”

May Amoyaw and Gabe Horwitzof Third Way wrote “Workers Need 21st Century Skills. Here Are Five Ways To Help.”

May Amoyaw of Third Way wrote “Three Stories: How Apprenticeships Are Thriving Across America.”


The Joint Center is looking for a Development Manager. More details here.

Data & Society is looking for Researchers for their Social Instabilities of Labor Futures Initiative,  Post-Doc Scholars,andFaculty Fellows.

The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is looking for fellows for the 2019-2020 academic year. Apply here.

National League of Cities will host their second webinar on the gig economy. Find info here.

Watch Roland Martin’s new Daily Digital TV News Show, #RolandMartinUnfiltered, where Spencer is a weekly panelist on Tuesdays. The show airs weekdays at 6 pm EST. Details here.

Carlos Paz Jr. is the new Director of Hispanic Media & Press Secretary for Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)after nearly two years with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM).

Capitol Hill veterans Troy Clair and LaDavia Drane will join Amazon as Senior Managers to address diversity issues such as the company’s relationship to the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. More 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.