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Race and the U.S. Economy Is Subject of Two New Books Edited by Pomona College Professor Cecilia Conrad

Cecilia Conrad, associate dean and the Stedman-Sumner Professor of Economics at Pomona College, is the editor of two new books on the complex relationship between race and economics in United States. The volumes build on Conrad’s research on the impact of race and gender on economic status in the United States.

African Americans in the U.S. Economy, co-edited by Conrad and published in March 2005, provides a political-economic analysis of the past and present economic status of African Americans. Conrad’s three essays are “Changes in the Labor Market Status of Black Women, 1960-2000,” "Black-Owned Businesses: Trends and Prospects" and “Single-Mother Families in the Black Community: Economic Context and Policies" (coauthored with Mary C. King).  coauthored with Mary C. King. An accessible text with work from some of the nation’s most distinguished scholars on race and the economy, African Americans in the U.S Economy is a significant contribution to the discourse on racial and economic inequalities in the U.S. Other topics covered in the volume include black employment and unemployment, labor market discrimination, black entrepreneurship, urban revitalization, black economic development, globalization and its impact, and education and training.

Conrad is the sole editor of Building Skills for Black Workers: Preparing for the Future Labor Market, published in 2004. This volume assesses the current gap in education and training between African American and white workers, and explores possible remedies. In her introduction, Conrad asserts that “the racial gap in skills has narrowed, but in the competitive market of the 21st century, the skill differences that remain are more important than ever before…With minorities a larger proportion of the overall workforce, the creation of opportunities and incentives for minority workers to improve their skills is an important part of improving the overall productivity of the economy.” Conrad’s chapter “Do Black Workers Lack Soft Skills?” explores recent surveys that suggest that employers have negative perceptions of the soft skills of urban minority workers, especially young African American males.

Conrad has been a guest on “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” serves as a member of the economics board of Black Enterprise Magazine and is director of the American Economics Association’s pipeline project to increase the number of minority doctorate holders in economics. She is also a past president of the National Economic Association and a past board member of the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession.

At Pomona, Conrad teaches courses on Applied Regression Analysis, Race and the U.S. Economy, Poverty and the Distribution of Income, and Urban Economics. In 2002, she was named California Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. That same year, she was awarded the Wig Distinguished Professorship Award for Excellence in Teaching by Pomona students.

Pomona College, one of the nation’s premier liberal arts institutions, offers a comprehensive program in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research.