Workforce Policy

Joint Center Speaks at Black Economic Forum on Martha’s Vineyard

On August 16, Spencer participated in the Black Economic Forum panel on the future of work and its potential impact on Black workers in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts.

Spencer emphasized that Black communities should: 1) push private sector leaders to clearly communicate to Black workers the changing nature of business and provide pathways to transition into an employer’s future needs; 2) use mobility to increase Black prosperity (e.g., the Great Migration); 3) not aim to “close gaps” with “average Americans” but instead aim to climb to the top of OECD metrics on education and employment; 4) double the percentage of bachelor’s degree holders, associate’s degrees, and other post-secondary certifications rather than accept a false choice between bachelor’s degrees and skills; 5) choose long-term investments in human beings (e.g., K-12 education and in-demand post-secondary certifications and bachelor’s degrees) over short term investments in low-wage jobs (e.g., casinos, low-skill manufacturing); and 6) ensure workforce reforms that purport to “lift all boats” actually help Black communities and do not in practice expand racial disparities.

Other panelists included Opportunity@Work Senior Vice President & General Counsel Yolanda Townsend and Infor CEO Charles Phillips. The Black Economic Forum was organized by the Executive Leadership Council, Sigma Pi Phi fraternity, and McKinsey & Co.