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Joint Center News: September 2018

We released a groundbreaking report—Racial Diversity Among Top U.S. House Staff—which was featured in the NY Times, on MSNBC, and on various other outlets. We also joined Markle’s Rework America Task Force and the Partnership on AI, presented three times on the future of work during CBC week, and continued our monthly analysis of Black job numbers. Details below.

Political Studies: Congressional Staff Diversity

Joint Center Releases Diversity Among Top U.S. House Staff:

The report found that nearly three-quarters of U.S. House Members have not one person of color in any of the following positions: chief of staff, legislative director, or communications director. White Democratic and Republican Members have very few top staff of color, even though they represent relatively diverse districts. White Republican Members have more chiefs of staff who are people of color than White Democrats. Overall, people of color make up 38% of the U.S. population, but only 13.7% of all top House staff. Read the report here.

Major Media Outlets Cover Joint Center House Diversity Report: The New York TimesThe HillBustleNBC News, and many other outlets wrote stories on the data in the report. The report was also featured on segments on MSNBC’s PoliticsNation with Rev. Al Sharpton, #RolandMartinUnfiltered, and Hill.TV.More media here.
Congress Approves Pay For Interns: Following recommendations from the Joint Center’s reports, the U.S. House approved a bill that set aside nearly $14 million for intern pay. This is a major diversity victory because many strong students of color cannot afford to accept unpaid internships, and internships are important entry-level positions to careers as Hill staffers. Details here.

Inaugural Tri-Caucus Staff Association Week: During the week of September 17, the Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus (SBLSC), Congressional Black Associates (CBA), the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association (CHSA), and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association (CAPASA) hosted events that honored staff of color and provided professional training. Details here.

Women Chiefs of Staff of the Congressional Black Caucus & Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Honored. Details here.


Economic Studies: Future of Work

Joint Center Joins the Markle Foundation’s Rework America Task Force: The group “seeks to transform America’s outdated labor market so that all Americans–especially the nearly 70% without a college degree–have opportunities to thrive in the digital economy.” A complete list of task force members is here .

Joint Center Joins Partnership on AI: The Partnership aims to formulate best practices on AI technologies and provide a platform to engage about AI. The Partnership aspires to use AI for socially beneficial purposes, ensure the benefits of AI are widely shared, and address challenges like algorithmic bias and labor disruptions. See the list of partners here.

Joint Center Organizes Online Conversation on September Jobs Report: CLASP Postsecondary and Economic Success Director Angela Hanks, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Senior Policy Analyst Tazra Mitchell, and Joint Center Workforce Director Harin Contractor discussed September’s Employment Situation Report, Black communities, and policy proposals. Details here.

Joint Center Moderates Rep. Blunt Rochester’s CBC Future of Work Session: Spencer moderated Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester’s policy session the Future of Work: What’s Next? Panelists included Alastair Fitzpayne, Chanelle Hardy, Dr. Janice Nevin, and Marie Hocker. Details here.

Joint Center Speaks at Black Policy Lab Summit CBC Session on the Future of the Economy for African Americans: Harin Contractor, Dr. Algernon Austin, Dr. Avis Jones DeWeever, and Tamika Mallory participated in the discussion. Details here.

Joint Center Speaks at CBC ALC on the Black Family Today: Growing out of Walmart’s American Family Today report, Tony Waller moderated a session on the Black Family Today featuring Trisch Smith, Cemeré James, Andre Perry, and Spencer. Details here.

Darren Walker on the Future of Workers: The Ford Foundation President argues that workers, not technology, should be at the center of the discussion on the future of work. Full essay here.

Machines will create 58 million more jobs than they displace by 2022, according to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report. More here.

Opportunity@Work CEO & Co-Founder Byron G. Auguste argued that a collection of self-inflicted wounds – such as occupational licensing requirements, zoning laws, the reduction of collective bargaining, and non-compete agreements – are holding workers back from greater economic gains. His op-ed is here.

Outperformers: High-Growth Emerging Economies: MGI examined 71 developing economies that collectively lifted 1 billion people out of extreme poverty in two decades and identified two key drivers: 1) a pro-growth policy agenda; and 2) highly competitive large companies. Read the report  here.

$1 Billion Wage Gain Challenge: This competition, run by Jobs for Future and supported by Schmitt Futures, is looking for moonshot ideas that will increase annual wages by $10,000 for at least 100,000 low- and middle-income workers by 2021. If you have an idea, submit it here.

Verizon Innovative Learning launches 5G EdTech Challenge: On October 15 Verizon will launch a nationwide challenge for EdTech non-profits to find the best 5G-enabled technologies that transform underserved middle schools. Details here.


Think Tank Round Up

Elise Gould, Janelle Jones,  and Zane Mokhiber from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) wrote Black workers have made no progress in closing earnings gaps with White men since 2000.

Monica Anderson from Pew wrote about the challenges to internet access in rural america.

Michael McAfee at PolicyLink wrote about Building Wealth Through Advancing Racial Equity.

Sahra Ahmed of the Kirwan Institute wrote Implicit Basis Training for Classroom Teachers of English Language Learner Students.

Andre Perry at Brookings analyzed black women’s electoral strength.

Jishnu Das of Brookings wrote about facilitating racial diversity in gifted and talented public school programs.



The Hudson Webber Foundation is seeking a Director of Programs who will collaborate with the President on program strategy and will manage the Foundation’s grants portfolio. For details click here.

Joint Center to Release State Reports on Congressional Delegation Diversity:

In the next few weeks, the Joint Center will release six state-specific reports as a follow up to Racial Diversity Among Top U.S. House Staff. These reports will look at top House staff along with top and mid-level Senate staff from particular states. Stay tuned.

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

Spencer in Detroit on Future of Work Tomorrow:

On Friday, October 5, Spencer will be the featured speaker at the Seventh Biennial Lecture presented by The Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University. Past speakers have included Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond, and Lani Guinier. Spencer will present on the topic of Racial Equality & the Future of Work. RSVP here.

Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) Hired Lauren Moore as Deputy General Counsel. Moore previously practiced law at WilmerHale.

Harvard University Named Lawrence D. Bobo Dean of Social Sciences: Bobo, who currently chairs the department of African and African American Studies, will take the helm on Oct 1st.

CBCF Named Dr. Elsie Scott Interim President & CEO: With the departure of Shuanise Washington to become CEO of NAMIC, Dr. Scott returned to her prior perch running the CBC Foundation. During Dr. Scott’s time at CBCF, Dr. Michael Fauntroy will serve as Acting Director of the Ron Walters Center at Howard University.

Emanuel Cleaver’s (D-MO) Chief of Staff John Jones Departs Capitol Hill: John will join the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts as VP of Government Relations. He was a driving force behind the CBC’s focus on diversity in technology.

I Prayed. Now What? is Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner’s new book on the question of “Where’s God when you’re in a real jam?” Order it here.

What the Hell Do You Have to Lose – Trump’s War on Civil Rights is Juan Williams’s response to then-candidate Donald Trump’s question to Black voters “what the hell do you have to lose?” Order the book here.

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics is a book chronicling the journey of four of the most important women in politics—Donna Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, and Minyon Moore. Their story starts with Jesse Jackson’s first presidential campaign, and continues with work on the Mondale, Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Gore, Obama, and Hillary Clinton campaigns. 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.