Norma M. Riccucci Virtually Delivers the 2021 Deil S. Wright Lecture

Photo of Norma Riccucci

Norma M. Riccucci, Board of Governors Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration, virtually delivered the 2021 Deil S. Wright Lecture at the UNC School of Government on Thursday, April 8, speaking on the topic of “Preparing People of Color for 21st Century Jobs: Unfulfilled Promises and Lost Opportunities.”

In her presentation, Riccucci provided numerous statistics regarding the growth of jobs in the traditional workforce, including in the sectors of computer science and information technology due to the continued shift from manufacturing-based jobs to service and technology-based jobs.

While she noted there is a significant increase across different races and ethnicities, there are still large systemic and institutional discrepancies preventing Black workers from benefiting from this increase. Production, transportation, and material moving occupations remain most populated by African Americans, which Riccucci attributed to the lack of resources for public education in low-income communities and inadequate job training among this demographic.

“The pervasive institutional and structural biases in the workforce must be addressed if people of color are to achieve social, political, and economic equality,” she said.

Riccucci expressed that in order to sustain this shift from industrial jobs to service and technology jobs for workers of color, the federal government should invest more into training and public education. This effort must be a federal initiative, she stated, as there are large inequities in public education spending among states. Riccucci proffered that systemic failures to train and educate people of color has directly contributed to employment prospects for communities of color.

Riccucci is the author of numerous publications and books, including most recently, Policy Drift: Shared Powers and the Making of U.S. Law and Policy (New York University Press, 2018). Riccucci’s research interests lie in the broad area of public management, with specific interests in social equity policies and representative bureaucracy.

In 2002, the MPA Alumni Association honored Professor Deil Wright for his 34 years of teaching MPA students by creating the Deil S. Wright Lecture in Public Administration. Each year, a distinguished professional from the field of public administration enriches the educational experience of students, alumni, faculty, and interested members of the community.

To watch the stream of Riccucci's 2021 lecture, please click here.