Jerry Brown’s Big Idea for Upskilling Workers

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director, whose newest book is The Autism Job Club (with R. Holden).

What to make of an online community college enabling working adults to upskill and keep up with technology, as well as to enable low wage workers to advance in career ladders? This past week, California newspapers trumpeted Governor Jerry Brown’s announcement of a large-scale online community college initiative aimed at achieving these goals. Open to all, the […]

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How Hollywood’s Autism Fantasies Undermine Autism Employment

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director, whose newest book is The Autism Job Club (with R. Holden).

In a recent Curb Your Enthusiasm episode (Season 9, “Namaste”) Larry David pretends to be on the autism spectrum to win sympathy from an African-American mechanic he has insulted. Of course, as widely noted in the autism blogosphere, this is insensitive and inappropriate. But there is more honesty (and humor) in this one scene than […]

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Beyond the Fires, What the Napa Valley Wine Economy Can Teach Us

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director, whose newest book is The Autism Job Club (with R. Holden).

In the past few weeks, much has been written about the devastation wrought by the Napa Valley fires, as well as the area’s determination to rebuild quickly. These are important stories, worth continuing to track. But there is another story of the Napa economy that has not received sufficient attention in the fire coverage. It […]

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Why California’s jobs engine has remained resilient for 50 years

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director, whose newest book is The Autism Job Club (with R. Holden).

Labor Day 2017 finds California in the midst of an employment boom that has lasted more than seven years. Since February 2010, the state has gained nearly 2.6 million jobs. How long will this boom last? As we look over the ups and downs of employment in our state since World War II, we find […]

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For Labor Day, Come Meet the Neurodiversity Workforce Brigade

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director, whose newest book is The Autism Job Club (with R. Holden).

As we approach this Labor Day 2017, I’d like Californians to meet the Neurodiversity Workforce Brigade. The Brigade employs tens of thousands of adults with neurological conditions that often are impediments to mainstream employment, primarily autism, severe ADHD, and other serious learning and mental health conditions. All of its members previously were unemployed Most were […]

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Why California’s Greatest Historian Couldn’t Get Elected in San Francisco

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director, whose newest book is The Autism Job Club (with R. Holden).

(This essay appeared earlier this week in Zocalo Public Square, and has been slightly edited). Kevin Starr is widely regarded as California’s pre-eminent historian—a prolific author and public intellectual for nearly 50 years—and his death earlier this year generated much writing about his life and scholarship. But one episode in his life was not widely […]

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The Race for the Best Job Placement Technology

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director, whose newest book is The Autism Job Club (with R. Holden).

Hundreds of internet firms are now competing to develop the best internet job placement system for job seekers. They are offering technologies that can tailor job leads for the individual job seeker and customize resume writing and interview prep, technologies that can rank and sort workers, technologies that can push out job leads on a […]

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After Robots Take Over Our Jobs in California, Then What?

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director, whose newest book is The Autism Job Club (with R. Holden).

After robots take over our jobs, what is next? Guaranteed incomes? A public service job creation program? More conferences on “the future of work”? Today, not a week goes by without a new study being released or conference convened on robots replacing jobs or a newspaper account of a new use of robots taking the […]

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California’s Goodreads and the New Economic Order

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director, whose newest book is The Autism Job Club (with R. Holden).

Michael Larsen is one of the deans of literary agents in the United States, who established Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents in 1972 and has represented hundreds of books since. Last month, at the sold-out San Francisco Writers Conference he acknowledged the mounting challenges facing authors in the past few years—the stagnant book industry sales, the shuttering […]

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Checking in on Our Growing Gig Economy in California, 2017

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director, whose newest book is The Autism Job Club (with R. Holden).

Since 2009 at Fox & Hounds, we have periodically discussed the structural shifts in California’s employment, primarily the movement away from the employer-employee relation with some expectation of stability, to alternative and more contingent work arrangements. This movement has included the rise of independent contracting and freelance work, as well as the rise of employment […]

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