“Farmer John” Matthesen and California’s Urban Agriculture Movement

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director & Milken Institute Fellow

Throughout California’s 112 community colleges faculty members are active as entrepreneurs and creators of businesses. “Farmer John” Matthesen, a faculty member in the Culinary department at Diablo Valley College (DVC) in Contra Costa, has had several careers as an entrepreneur in California. His current career finds him deeply involved in two of California’s growing industries, […]

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Middle Class Jobs: All Things Old Are New Again

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director & Milken Institute Fellow

 All things old are new again in summer 2015 when it comes to strategies for expanding middle class jobs in California and nationwide. The policy concerns being debated today (income inequality, technology eliminating jobs, expanding middle class jobs) have all been here before, as have been the strategies put forward (apprenticeships, sector-based training, community college […]

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The Employment Training Panel: 1982, Today, Going Forward

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director & Milken Institute Fellow

Over the past 33 years, job-training programs have come and gone in California. Some, such as the state California Worksite Education and Training Act (CWETA) were funded as pilots for a few years, but not extended. Others, such as the federal Job Training Partnership Act were restructured under new titles (the Workforce Investment Act).   But […]

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The Construction Jobs Rebound in California

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director & Milken Institute Fellow

In last Friday’s California jobs report by far the greatest percentage job growth was in the Construction sector.  Construction employment gained 6100 jobs over the month and 36,600 jobs over the year—a 6.9% employment gain, considerably higher than the other 11 employment sectors. Let’s bring in Mr. Brandon Hooker, labor market analyst for EDD’s Labor […]

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Why Doesn’t Nick Kristof Just Help This Unemployed Man?

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director & Milken Institute Fellow

There is a cottage industry of writers and activists in the United States who lecture us about what we should be doing as a nation for unemployed people, but who do nothing on their own to help individual unemployed persons. This long list is headed by several New York Times columnists, particularly Nicholas Kristof. Kristof’s […]

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Can You Help CareerArc Find the Corinthian College Students?

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director & Milken Institute Fellow

Last week I wrote about the abrupt closing of Corinthian Colleges (Heald College, Everest College, WyoTech) in California, leaving over 10,000 students short of completing their vocational/job training courses, and/or getting jobs. Well-known Southern California entrepreneur Robin Richards quickly weighed in. Richards is currently the CEO of CareerArc, based in Burbank. He asked how he […]

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The Corinthian Colleges Debacle—And the Continued Shortcomings In Our Higher Ed System

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director & Milken Institute Fellow

In late April, Corinthian Colleges, administrator of the Everest College, WyoTech and Heald College campuses, abruptly closed its California sites, leaving more than 10,000 students out in the cold. As described by Chris Kirkham, most of the students engaged in Corinthian’s vocational classes find themselves with no clear path to training completion. The federal government […]

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More Evidence that California Has a Wage Gap More Than a Skills Gap

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director & Milken Institute Fellow

Last Thursday, the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education released Low Wage Work in California: 2014 Chartbook, its most recent study of earnings in California. Among the chief findings: the gap continues to grow between the low wage workforce and the rest of the California workforce. The study drew on Census Bureau data […]

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‘High Flying, Adored’: What Happens to California Politicians Who Succeed Young

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director & Milken Institute Fellow

Last week, Michael Dolgushkin and Shelby Kendrick of the California State Library and I were going through a collection of papers from the 1980s. Unexpectedly, we found issues of the journal, Golden State Report (GSR), for the two year period, 1987-1988. GSR has been out of business for many years. But in the 1980s, led […]

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Has BART’s Second Bay Crossing Reached A Tipping Point?

Michael Bernick
Former California Employment Development Department Director & Milken Institute Fellow

(Editor’s Note: This short essay originally appeared, in slightly different form in the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle Insight section, March 22, 2015). Though the idea of a second BART tube has been discussed over the past twenty-five years, in just the past few months it has assumed a striking new momentum.

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