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Meeting of November 17, 2010 - Impact Of Economy On Older Workers

William Spriggs
Assistant Secretary for Policy
U.S. Department of Labor

William Spriggs was nominated by President Barack Obama as Assistant Secretary for Policy. He was confirmed by the Senate on October 21, 2009.Dr. Spriggs is a recognized expert in labor policy and research. For over 25 years, he has worked as an educator, researcher and advocate for working families and low-income communities.

Born in Washington, DC, Dr. Spriggs attended the public elementary schools of the District in the midst of the Civil Rights era, spurring his commitment to public service. After graduating cum laude from Williams College in 1977, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison—where he earned a Ph.D. in Economics and served as co-president of American Federation of Teachers Local #3220.

At the time of his nomination, Dr. Spriggs was Chair of the Department and a professor, of Economics at Howard University in Washington, DC, a post he held since December 2005. While there he also served as Chair of the Independent Health Care Trust for UAW Retirees of Ford Motor Company, the board of the Retiree Health Administration Corporation which administers the health care trusts for UAW retirees of Ford and General Motors, and he was Chair of the UAW Retirees of the Dana Corporation Health and Welfare Trust. Dr. Spriggs was also a Senior Fellow with the Community Service Society of New York. He served as Vice Chair of the Board of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute. From 1988 to 2004, he was Executive Director of the National Urban League’s Institute for Opportunity and Equality.

Dr. Spriggs held various positions in government service during the Clinton Administration: in 1993 and 1994 he led the staff of the National Commission for Employment Policy, and in 1997 and 1998 he worked at the Department of Commerce and at the Small Business Administration. He served as a senior economist for the Democratic staff of the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress from 1994 to 1997.

He is a past-board member and President of the National Economic Association—the professional organization of Black economists, and served as a Board member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. In 2006 he was elected a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. Most recently, he served on the boards of the Eastern Economic Association, the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, the National Employment Law Project, the National Committee for the Preservation of Social Security and Medicare, and the National Advisory Council of Corporate Voices for Working Families. Dr. Spriggs was a member of the Black Enterprise Magazine Board of Economists, and served on the 2002 Time Magazine Board of Economists. 

He taught six years at Norfolk State University (in Virginia) where he also headed the Honors Program for non-science students, and two years at North Carolina A & T State University (in Greensboro), and has published in both academic and popular journals.