Deindustrialization has gutted Black and Brown manufacturing communities across the country, robbing them of good-paying union jobs. Broader structural disadvantages in the U.S. labor market that many workers of color face—including wealth and income gaps, discrimination, and occupational segregation—have all intensified the negative effects of these dislocations. But the tide is turning: progressives have beaten back bad trade deals, and manufacturing advocacy is moving to the center stage as part of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan to tackle persistent and pervasive racial inequities, combat the effects of climate change, and rebuild our infrastructure so that our economy can work for all of us.

Join us on Thursday, June 24 from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM ET for a day-long conference where we will discuss the central role that a progressive trade and manufacturing policy can have in advancing racial justice issues and creating a sustainable and equitable economy. The event will include keynotes and panels featuring new research by key labor thinkers and leaders and commentary from grassroots organizers who are fighting for a more equitable future.

Please register to receive updates including the full speaker lineup and agenda.

Presented by The Century Foundation, Groundwork Collaborative, and Urban Manufacturing Alliance.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Representative James E. Clyburn (D-SC), House Majority Whip
  • Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chair, House Appropriations Committee
  • Darrick Hamilton, university professor, Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, and founding director, Institute for the Study of Race, Stratification and Political Economy at The New School

Featuring:

  • Sameera Fazili, deputy director, White House National Economic Council
  • Melissa Harris-Perry, The Century Foundation trustee, and Maya Angelou Presidential Chair in Politics and International Affairs, Wake Forest University
  • Jhumpa Bhattacharya, vice president of programs and strategy, Insight Center for Community Economic Development
  • Carolyn Chism Hardy, president, Chism Hardy Investments
  • Cecilia Estolano, CEO of Estolano Advisors and Better World Group, and chair, University of California Board of Regents
  • Bernadine Hawes, chair emeritas, DVIRC
  • Hector Huezo, senior workforce equity coordinator, Jobs to Move America
  • Kermit Kaleba, strategy director for Employment Aligned Credential Programs, Lumina Foundation
  • Nieves Longordo, president, Diseños Ornamental Iron
  • Rakeen Mabud, managing director of policy and research and chief economist, Groundwork Collaborative
  • Girard J. Melancon, Ph.D, vice chancellor for Workforce Solutions, Baton Rouge Community College
  • Sandra Polaski, senior research scholar, Boston University
  • Rob Scott, senior international economist, and director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research, Economic Policy Institute
  • William E. Spriggs, PhD, chief economist, American Federation of Labor—Congress of Industrial Organizations
  • Andrew Stettner, senior fellow, The Century Foundation
  • Stephen Tucker, president and CEO, Northland Workforce Training Center
  • Todd Tucker, director of governance studies, Roosevelt Institute
  • Lori Wallach, director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch
  • Danny Weiss, government affairs director, The Century Foundation
  • Ronald Williams, assistant professor, Coppin State University
  • Valerie Wilson, director, Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy, Economic Policy Institute

Facilitator: 

  • Elmer Moore, executive director, Scale Up Milwaukee

Endorsed by: 

  • The BlueGreen Alliance
  • Economic Policy Institute
  • Manufacturing Renaissance
  • Manufacturing Diversity Institute
  • Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
  • Jobs to Move America
  • Institute for Policy Studies
  • Roosevelt Institute
  • DVIRC
  • Alliance for American Manufacturing

Agenda Highlights (full agenda TBA)

11:00 AM–11:15 AM ET: Kickoff Activities and Context Setting

Participatory kickoff session led by Elmer Moore, executive director, Scale Up Milwaukee.

11:15 AM–11:30 AM ET: Welcome and Context Setting

The Century Foundation and Groundwork Collaborative teams will welcome all participants and give a brief overview of the conference. Keynote speakers include: Melissa Harris-Perry, The Century Foundation trustee, and Maya Angelou Presidential Chair in Politics and International Affairs, Wake Forest University; Kermit Kaleba, strategy director for Employment Aligned Credential Programs, Lumina Foundation; and Rakeen Mabud, managing director of policy and research and chief economist, Groundwork Collaborative.

11:30 AM–11:40 AM ET: Opening Remarks: Representative James E. Clyburn (D-SC), House Majority Whip

Representative Clyburn will discuss the urgent priorities for Congress as it considers the American Jobs Plan and the work of the newly formed Democratic Manufacturing Caucus. Introduced by Danny Weiss, government affairs director, The Century Foundation.

11:40 AM–12:40 PM ET: (Panel I) How We Got Here: The Impact of Failed Trade Policies and Deindustrialization on BIPOC Communities

This panel will explore some of the history of trade policies, and reflect on what a new worker- and environmental-centered industrial policy could look like. Panelists include: Sandra Polaski, senior research scholar, Boston University; William E. Spriggs, PhD, chief economist, American Federation of Labor—Congress of Industrial Organizations; and Todd Tucker, director of governance studies, Roosevelt Institute; and Valerie Wilson, director, Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy, Economic Policy Institute. Moderated by Lori Wallach, director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

1:10 PM–1:20 PM ET: Introductory Remarks: Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chair, House Appropriations Committee 

1:20 PM–2:20 PM ET: (Panel II) Understanding Structural Inequities in the Economy

The panel will include a discussion of policies being pursued by the Biden administration and Congress, such as the American Jobs Plan, and what the needed building blocks are for inclusive industrial renewal, ranging from currency to community hiring policies. Panelists include: Jhumpa Bhattacharya, vice president of programs and strategy, Insight Center for Community Economic Development; Sameera Fazili, deputy director, White House National Economic Council; Hector Huezo, senior workforce equity coordinator, Jobs to Move America; Rob Scott, senior international economist, and director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research, Economic Policy Institute; and Andrew Stettner, senior fellow, The Century Foundation. Moderated by Cecilia Estolano, CEO of Estolano Advisors and Better World Group, and chair, University of California Board of Regents.

2:30 PM–2:40 PM ET: Introductory Remarks 

Carolyn Chism Hardy, president, Chism Hardy Investments, will introduce our next panel.

2:40 PM–3:40 PM ET: (Panel III) Community-Led Efforts to Rebuild Manufacturing in Communities of Color

Panelists will share their efforts and recommendations to deliver industry-recognized credentials and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in manufacturing. Panelists include: Nieves Longordo, president, Diseños Ornamental Iron; Girard J. Melancon, Ph.D, vice chancellor for Workforce Solutions, Baton Rouge Community College; Stephen Tucker, president and CEO, Northland Workforce Training Center; and Ronald Williams, assistant professor, Coppin State University and Board member, Urban Manufacturing Alliance. Moderated by Bernadine Hawes, chair emeritas, DVIRC.

3:45 PM–3:55 PM ET: Closing Keynote Speaker: Darrick Hamilton, university professor, Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, and founding director, Institute for the Study of Race, Stratification and Political Economy at The New School