Black Talent Initiative

The Black Talent Initiative (BTI) is the largest database of Black talent in the United States for presidential appointments. We are working with the incoming President’s administration to identify a pool of top Black candidates for positions in government who will make decisions that could trigger long-term systemic change in federal policies and practices. 

African Americans account for about 20% of Democratic voters but are regularly underrepresented in both Democratic and Republican administrations. For example, African Americans accounted for only 9% of the senior political appointees in 2009 (Obama Administration), and 4% of senior political appointees a year earlier (G.W. Bush Administration).  

Therefore, we are building on our 2016 transition efforts by convening over 45 Black-led organizations to work on presidential appointments. Our staff and advisory board bring extensive expertise in presidential personnel appointments, (including knowledge of agencies, positions, and the selection and vetting processes). With the help of our partners, we are positioned to provide hundreds of candidates to the administration for positions at the White House, executive branch agencies, independent agencies, and the judiciary.

Apply Here

Want us to consider recommending you to the incoming Administration?  Apply here.

Political Appointment Process

Thinking about a career in public service? Review the materials below to explore whether serving in government is right for you.

The Biden-Harris administration will have over 4000 political appointments. We recommend these resources to anyone exploring whether public service is a good fit. 

First, get an overview of the key steps in the appointment process. Then, get a snapshot of the levels of positions (e.g., PAS, PA, SES, Schedule C) and tips on what to do and not do in seeking a political appointment. As you move deeper into the process, explore the specific positions available in the Plum Book

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Watch our video to learn more

Join Our Efforts

The Black Talent Initiative’s work is powered by our incredible group of partners.  If you would like to join in and support our efforts, contact us below.

The Black Talent Initiative is powered by our esteemed partner organizations. Our combined efforts have resulted in a collection of resumes that have been submitted to serve in high-ranking White House, cabinet, and subcabinet positions. Our work is reflected in the statement below from John Jones, the former head of African American appointments on the Clinton-Kaine Transition Team:

John Jones

The Joint Center’s Black Talent Initiative was an invaluable resource to the Clinton-Kaine Transition Team in 2016. The Joint Center’s extensive experience in working with the Obama-Biden Transition team in 2008 and its track record of promoting the inclusion of African Americans in government leadership positions uniquely positioned it to assist with one of my core responsibilities for the transition team—assembling names for appointments of talented Black people for positions in a potential new administration. The Joint Center’s familiarity with the organizational structure of executive branch agencies and the White House—as well as its understanding of the political appointment process—allows it to take on this work through an informed lens of how government functions and what type of talent is needed in critical roles. The Joint Center’s deep relationships with Black government officials with federal executive branch, the judicial branch, and congressional experience allowed it to identify and submit experienced high-quality Black talent who would be ready to go on day one. The Black Talent Initiative’s deep collaboration with over 30 other Black and civil rights-focused organizations from around the nation ensured that various voices and priorities were heard and considered in the process and that the pool of candidates submitted included many talented people who were outside of the Beltway and had not previously served in the federal government. The Joint Center’s constant advice, expertise, and engagement of various Black organizations allowed the Clinton-Kaine Transition team to be more effective in representing the interests of Black communities.

John H. Jones
Co-Director, Outreach and Engagement
2016 Clinton-Kaine Transition Team

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Adewale “Wally” Adeyamo

Deputy Treasury Secretary

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Bonnie Jenkins

Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs

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Cedric Richmond

Senior Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement

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Kristen Clarke

Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division

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The Honorable Marcia Fudge

Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development

Portrait of Susan Rice
The Honorable Susan Rice

Head of the White House Domestic Policy Council

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Al Stewart

Acting Secretary of Labor

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Brenda Mallory

Chair of the Council of Environmental Quality

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Don Graves

Deputy Secretary of Commerce

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Linda Thomas Greenfield

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

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Michael Regan

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator

Chief of Staff Tina Flournoy
Tina Flournoy

Chief of Staff to the Vice President

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Alondra Nelson

Deputy Director for Science and Society

Cecilia Rouse
Cecilia Rouse

Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers

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Joelle Gamble

Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy

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General Lloyd Austin

Secretary of the Department of Defense

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Robert "Monty" Wilkinson

Acting Attorney General at the Department of Justice

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Yohannes Abraham

Chief of Staff and Executive Secretary of the White House National Security Council

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Adewale “Wally” Adeyamo

Deputy Treasury Secretary

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Alondra Nelson

Deputy Director for Science and Society

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Brenda Mallory

Chair of the Council of Environmental Quality

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Cedric Richmond

Senior Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement

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Joelle Gamble

Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy

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Linda Thomas-Greenfield

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

Portrait of Marcia Fudge
The Honorable Marcia Fudge

Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development

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Robert "Monty" Wilkinson

Acting Attorney General at the Department of Justice

Chief of Staff Tina Flournoy
Tina Flournoy

Chief of Staff to the Vice President

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Al Stewart

Acting Secretary of Labor

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Bonnie Jenkins

Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs

Cecilia Rouse
Cecilia Rouse

Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers

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Don Graves

Deputy Secretary of Commerce

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Kristen Clarke

Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division

Portrait of General Loyd Austin
General Loyd Austin

Secretary of the Department of Defense

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Michael Regan

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator

Portrait of Susan Rice
The Honorable Susan Rice

Head of the White House Domestic Policy Council

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Yohannes Abraham

Chief of Staff and Executive Secretary of the White House National Security Council

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