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Spencer Overton

President of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
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Spencer Overton is the President of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which was founded in 1970 and is America’s Black think tank. 


Spencer is the author or co-author of a book and several academic articles, think tank reports, and popular commentaries on race and public policy, including An Introduction to the Future of Work in the Black Rural South and Improving Training Evaluation Data to Brighten the Future of Black Workers.  Under Spencer’s leadership, the Joint Center has inserted racial equity into national discussions on the future of work and set up a workforce policy program led by Dr. Alex Camardelle.  Other recent Joint Center publications include Principles to Support Black Workers in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Racial Differences on the Future of Work: A Survey of the American Workforce, Race & Jobs at High Risk to Automation, The Impact of Automation on Black Jobs, and  Expanding Broadband in the Black Rural South. The Joint Center is a member of the Partnership on AI, and Spencer is a member of Markle’s Rework America Taskforce


During the Obama administration, Spencer served as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy (the “think tank” of the Department of Justice) and as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.


Since 2005, Spencer has been a tenured Professor of Law at George Washington University and is currently on leave from that position while leading the Joint Center.  He also represented major companies while practicing law at the firm Debevoise & Plimpton, clerked for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Damon J. Keith, and graduated with honors from both Hampton University and Harvard Law School.