The Shooting in Corona, California

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

On Sunday afternoon, June 14, 2019, at a crowded Costco store in Corona, California, an off-duty policy officer, Salvador Sanchez, shot and killed Kenneth French, a 32 year old man who was non-verbal and described by family as severely developmentally disabled. According to witnesses, French had become agitated and pushed Sanchez to the ground, while […]

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Disability Services Reach the Crossroads in California

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

The Sonoma Developmental Center (pictured), which once housed 3200 children and adults with disabilities, closed at the end of 2018, among the last in the state hospital system. Over the past fifty years, a community-based system has gradually replaced the state hospitals, promising fuller inclusion.  The California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) oversees a vast […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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