A Contrarian (And Promising) Jobs Strategy for the Homeless

Michael Bernick
California Labor Department Director from 1999-2004; Counsel with the international law firm of Duane Morris and a Milken Institute Fellow.

For more than fifty years, Peter Cove, the founder of America Works, has dedicated himself to finding jobs for welfare recipients, ex-offenders and other low income Americans. During most of this time he has stood apart from and often battled the liberal establishment of social welfare advocates, academics, and elected officials. In the past few […]

Read more

Gavin Newsom’s Future of Work, and Ours

Michael Bernick
California Labor Department Director from 1999-2004; Counsel with the international law firm of Duane Morris and a Milken Institute Fellow.

Since his days as a San Francisco Supervisor in the late 1990s, Gavin Newsom has spoken and written about the interplay between technology, government, and employment: how technology  is changing the types and structure of jobs, how it can improve government services, how it can generate greater citizen participation.\ Earlier this month, Newsom, now Governor […]

Read more

Cher and the Limits of Social Resources

Michael Bernick
California Labor Department Director from 1999-2004; Counsel with the international law firm of Duane Morris and a Milken Institute Fellow.

As Cher is well-known in California’s disabilities and mental health communities as advocate and benefactor, it was not surprising that earlier this month she would send a tweet to her large Twitter following regarding homeless services in Los Angeles: “I understand helping struggling immigrants, but my city (Los Angeles) isn’t taking care of its own. […]

Read more

Should a MacArthur “Genius” Lecture Us About the Poor?

Michael Bernick
California Labor Department Director from 1999-2004; Counsel with the international law firm of Duane Morris and a Milken Institute Fellow.

(This is a longer version of an article that appeared recently in Forbes. It draws on the approaches of the Catholic Worker and Dorothy Day, pictured below.) What authenticity should we expect from persons who want to lecture us about compassion, welfare and poverty? Should we not expect them to help individual poor persons they […]

Read more

After Plant Closings in California: A Labor Day Story

Michael Bernick
California Labor Department Director from 1999-2004; Counsel with the international law firm of Duane Morris and a Milken Institute Fellow.

(A modified version of an essay that appeared earlier this week in Forbes) Today’s “future of work” discussions often are ahistorical—not recognizing America’s previous experiences with technological and industrial change. So as we approach Labor Day 2018, we can gain perspective on our present situation by briefly looking at an earlier period, the widespread plant […]

Read more

The Meanings of the Latest California Job Numbers

Michael Bernick
California Labor Department Director from 1999-2004; Counsel with the international law firm of Duane Morris and a Milken Institute Fellow.

Last Wednesday brought the latest jobs numbers for California, through January of this year. We are now in the 94th month of employment expansion. This is the second longest employment expansion in California since World War II, behind only the 113 month expansion of the later 1960s. What do the latest numbers mean? Is the […]

Read more

Coursera’s Bet on the Upskilling of California Workers

Michael Bernick
California Labor Department Director from 1999-2004; Counsel with the international law firm of Duane Morris and a Milken Institute Fellow.

The ominous “future of work” continues to dominate headlines this year. We are told to prepare for the technological change that is rendering many current skills and job duties obsolete. To help us prepare, an industry of workforce degrees, certifications, badges and other training is rapidly expanding. How to sort through this training? Individually what […]

Read more

Jerry Brown’s Big Idea for Upskilling Workers

Michael Bernick
California Labor Department Director from 1999-2004; Counsel with the international law firm of Duane Morris and a Milken Institute Fellow.

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 […]

Read more

How Hollywood’s Autism Fantasies Undermine Autism Employment

Michael Bernick
California Labor Department Director from 1999-2004; Counsel with the international law firm of Duane Morris and a Milken Institute Fellow.

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 […]

Read more

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

Michael Bernick
California Labor Department Director from 1999-2004; Counsel with the international law firm of Duane Morris and a Milken Institute Fellow.

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 […]

Read more