Joint Center Updates


Our June 2021 Work: Analyzing Biden Administration Diversity, Discussing Voting Rights on NPR & More

Economic Studies

The White House budget & Black communities: Joint Center Workforce Policy Director Dr. Alex Camardelle published an analysis explaining how President Biden’s budget would support Black workers and families, and where it falls short: “To ensure a just recovery for Black communities, we need bold investments. Congressional approval of the Biden budget would be a step in the right direction. Let this budget be the foundation from which the current and future administrations and Congresses build.”

Data privacy and Black communities: Joint Center Technology Policy Director Dr. Dominique Harrison joined R Street Institute’s panel on “the urgency of a national data privacy law and its implications on the United States’s standing in data security internationally,” and talked about the Joint Center’s current project on examining the impact of data privacy issues on Black communities. Other panelists included Google Director for Data Governance Kate Charlet, Raytheon Technologies Senior Principal Subcontracts Specialist Matt Gimovsky, and Ankura Managing Director of Cybersecurity and Privacy Cory Simpson. R Street Institute Policy Director for Cybersecurity and Emerging Threats Tatyana Bolton moderated the conversation. Watch the conversation here.

Broadband access: Dominique joined a private virtual event hosted by Consumer Reports to discuss ways to improve broadband across the United States. In July, Dominique will release the Joint Center’s most recent work on expanding broadband in the Black Rural South.

Equitable economic recovery for Black communities: The Joint Center joined the National Governors Association’s State Economic Recovery Coalition to “build on existing efforts to drive equitable economic recovery and growth championed by Governors of states and territories.” Other coalition partners include the Association of Community College Trustees, Advance CTE, the American Public Human Services Association, Ascend at the Aspen Institute, the Center for Law and Social Policy, the Coalition on Adult Basic Education, Goodwill Industries International, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, JFF, the National Association of Workforce Boards, National Skills Coalition, the National Urban League, New America, the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, and UnidosUS.

The future of work in counties: Alex joined the National Association of Counties (NACo) at the organization’s Counties at Work Virtual Summit for a conversation entitled “Ensuring Equitable Planning for the Future of Work” with NACo First Vice President and of DeKalb County (Georgia) Commissioner Larry Johnson.

The path ahead for workforce development: Alex joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s “Policy Summit 2021: Pathways to Economic Resilience in Our Communities” for a deep dive policy discussion on workforce development amid the COVID-19 pandemic and moving forward. The Fund for Our Economic Future Job Preparation Director Bishara Addison joined him for the conversation.

Racial justice in trade & manufacturing: The Joint Center endorsed the Century Foundation, Groundwork Collaborative, and Urban Manufacturing Alliance’s virtual conference entitled “What Do Trade and Manufacturing Have to Do with Racial Justice?” House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and The New School Professor Darrick Hamilton served as keynote speakers at the event. Participants included White House National Economic Council Deputy Director Sameera Fazili, Melissa Harris-Perry, Lumina Foundation Employment Aligned Credential Programs Strategy Director Kermit Kaleba, and others.

Political Studies

How’s Biden faring on Black nominees? The Joint Center’s Black Talent Initiative program released a report card analyzing the diversity of the Biden administration’s Black Assistant Secretary and Under Secretary nominations. As of June 18, 2021, Biden’s Black nominations for Assistant Secretary (16%) and Under Secretary (13%) positions fell short of the percentage of his voters who were African American during the 2020 general election (22%), but exceeded the Black share of President Obama’s Senate-confirmed appointees to various positions in 2009 (9%).

On NPR talking voting reform: NPR’s All Things Considered devoted a segment to interviewing Joint Center President Spencer Overton about federal reforms to prevent attempts to restrict voting rights in states like Georgia: “Bipartisan election reform depends on whether the future of the Republican party is controlled by those who use government to restrict the freedom to vote and prevent competitive elections, or those who want to use the concepts of limited government and free competition to reach out to and appeal to an increasingly diverse America. In the 1960s we saw the Democratic party undergo such a realignment by squarely rejecting the Southern Dixiecrats and joining with many Republicans to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965.” Listen to the full six-minute interview here.

Support for congressional staff: Joint Center analysis was mentioned in a HuffPost article on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) call for higher wages for congressional staffers to increase diversity on the Hill: “The lack of diversity on the Hill can be traced directly to our failure to pay staff a living wage.” Joint Center data found that while people of color account for 40 percent of the U.S. population, they only accounted for 11 percent of top staff in Senate personal offices in 2020 and 13.7 percent of top staff in the House in 2018. Last week, the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations released its draft bill, which proposes increasing funding for internships to “support more interns from working and middle-class families,” and doubling the funding available for the House Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The Joint Center will release a report on top staff diversity among Senate committee offices this summer.

Urging a study on benefits for House staff: The Joint Center signed a letter to U.S. House of Representatives Chief Administrative Officer Catherine Szpindor urging the office to conduct a study on the current benefits available for House staff. The letter asks the office to analyze staffers’ pay as lesser compensation, unpaid internships, and underpaid entry-level positions damage Congress’s ability to attract a diverse workforce or establish a diverse pipeline of talent. Other signatories include Bipartisan Policy Center Action, College to Congress, Demand Progress, Issue One, NALEO Educational Fund, Pay Our Interns, and more. Read the letter here.

Tracking committee staff diversity: The Joint Center’s interactive report card of racial diversity among Senate Committee top staff shows that as of June 29, out of the 39 U.S. Senate full committee offices, 30.8 percent (or 12 committee offices) have at least one person of color among top staff (8 Democratic offices and 4 Republican offices). Indian Affairs (D), Special Committee on Aging (R), and Commerce, Science, and Transportation (D) have the highest diversity among top staff. Over 25 committees have no people of color among top staff.

Pledge for DEI: The Joint Center signed the Diversity in Government Relations Coalition Industry Pledge: “We commit to increasing understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and its impact on the government relations field; intentionally addressing the gaps in diverse representation of our staff and our leadership teams that influence local, state, federal and international policy; and exploring the unintended consequences that result from policy and advocacy that lack diverse representation, voice, and perspective.” Other signatories include America’s Health Insurance Plans, National Association of Broadcasters, Signal Group, The Advocacy Association, Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS), Public Affairs Council (PAC), Q Street, Washington Government Relations Group (WGRG), and Women in Government Relations (WGR).

Now Hiring

The Joint Center is seeking a Vice President of Communications to help to develop and implement an innovative integrated communications strategy to amplify and advance the Joint Center’s strategic audience engagement, research priorities, and growth ambitions. Learn more about the position and how to apply here.

The Joint Center is seeking a Vice President of Finance and Operations to co-create a vision of success for building the organization that inspires staff and creates holistic and flexible systems that support the Joint Center’s growth plan and are aligned and in service of the organization’s mission and values. Learn more about the position and how to apply here.


On July 1, Spencer will join Shorenstein Center Research Director Joan Donovan and Free Press Co-CEO Jessica González to participate on NetGain Partnership’s panel on “Can federal policy reduce the harms of mis/disinformation on platforms?” RSVP for the free event here.

On July 7, Dominique will join Government Technology’s Bay Area Virtual Digital Government Summit for a panel entitled “The Path to Digital Transformation.” RSVP for the free event here.